31 October 2023

Butterfly of the Month - October 2023

Butterfly of the Month - October 2023
The Pygmy Posy (Drupadia rufotaenia rufotaenia)

A Pygmy Posy forages at a young shoot of the Bandicoot Berry (Leea indica)

As we bid October 2023 farewell, watchers of the Doomsday Clock will be wondering if there will be another update soon. The Israeli-Palestinian war adds another brutal skirmish to the world's woes even as the Russia-Ukraine battles continue unabated. The world is now even more unstable than we began the year 2023 with. The month of October belongs to the astrological sign Libra. For those born between 23 September and 22 October, you are a Libran. We featured Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces, Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo and Virgo in the preceding Butterfly of the Month blogposts and will now move into the next in the series. The 12 zodiac signs are Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces.

Libra (♎︎) (Ancient Greek: Ζυγός, romanized: Zygós, Latin for "scales") is the seventh astrological sign in the zodiac. The symbol of the scales is based on the Scales of Justice held by the goddes Themis, the Greek personification of divine law and custom. She became the inspiration for modern depictions of Lady Justice. Libra is the only zodiac sign that is represented by an inanimate object; with the other eleven signs represented by either an animal or mythological character.

A Pygmy Posy perches on the tip of a leaf in the shady understory in the nature reserves.

People born under the sign of Libra are known for their peaceful and fair nature, and they see the world through their pacifist eyes. Partnership is crucial for them, and they seek someone who can reflect their inner selves. Librans are fascinated by balance and symmetry, and they are constantly striving for justice and equality. They are willing to go to great lengths to avoid conflict and maintain peace whenever possible.

Librans typically do not hold grudges, as it can take a lot to rouse and sustain their anger. Being very Venusian, they typically assume the best intentions in others and give most people many chances to redeem themselves. A Libran's life philosophy is "Let's just all get along." For this sign, compromise is key. Librans don't do well when anyone isn't happy, and they're especially adept at inviting other signs to see things from a different perspective

The classic Libra indecisiveness, while rooted in an ability to weigh all sides, can thwart this sign's ability to make choices. In wanting to be inclusive, they find it difficult to discriminate, yet there will be times when they need to commit to a path and accept this will sacrifice other options. Libra's love of beauty and refinement may have to be measured with soulfulness, and earthiness, allowing them to play in the muck of life so that they do not come across as aloof or snobby.

As the world searches for peace, we turn to our Butterfly of the Month for October 2023 - The Pygmy Posy (Drupadia rufotaenia rufotaenia). Considered a rarity, this small Lycaenidae has a wingspan of about 20mm.  It is one of three species of the genus Drupadia that exists in Singapore. It makes a regular appearance within the forested areas of the nature reserves, but appears to have become more rare in recent years.

At a glance, this species closely resembles the Common Posy, but is much smaller. It has a weak and erratic flight but is skittish and alert to movements. It is often encountered on the young shoots of the Bandicoot Berry (Leea indica) on which it feeds on the sugary excretions of these young shoots. Whenever it appears, it is mostly observed singly.

A Pygmy Posy looks for secretions on a young shoot of the Bandicoot Berry (Leea indica)

The male and female Pygmy Posy are both dark brown on the upperside. The underside is marked and coloured similarly to the Common Posy, but the solid black lines on the hindwing below are packed tighter and closer together. The orange submarginal band on the hindwing extends to vein 3 of this hindwing and this is an important diagnostic characteristic to separate the Pygmy Posy from its lookalikes.

The dark bands on the underside of the forewing are usually broader and heavily marked compared to its other cousins in the genus. The eyes are jet black and the antennae are orange-tipped. The tornal blue scaling is quite extensive and the hindwing possesses three white tails of which the one at vein 2 is the longest. The early stages of the Pygmy Posy still eludes us, and it is hoped that we will one day discover its caterpillar host plant, which is probably found within the nature reserves.

Text by Khew SK : Photos by Chng CK, Khew SK, Koh CH, Loh MY, Low JK, Richard Ong and Mark Wong