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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Malaysia’s Butterflies – The Glassy Tigers

An attractive butterfly with black bars segmenting bright yellow or light blue with shades of white on sections of the wings, depending on the species, makes it delightful to watch and photograph. I believe it is also frequently used in advertisement material due to its attractive markings, pay attention next time if a butterfly is featured, chances are it is a Glassy Tiger.
Frequently sighted in forested areas, it flies slowly and glides gracefully. I have read there are three species of the Glassy Tigers in Malaysia, the less common being the Dark Glassy Tiger, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to come across a specimen of the Dark Glassy Tiger.

Yellow Glassy Tiger - (Parantica aspasia)

This species of butterfly is toxic and distasteful to predators, which explains the colors, markings and other species mimicking them. The photos shown here are taken from a cemetery that is often deserted in a well forested area. I have often observed that if you spot a Yellow Glassy Tiger, the chance of sighting a Blue Glassy Tiger nearby is very high, it appears to share the same habitat and most probably the same preferred food.

Blue Glassy Tiger – (Ideopsis vulgaris macrina)

Capturing a photo with its wing opened is a challenge as it normally hangs upside down with the wings folded shut when at rest. An excellent time on catching these Glassy Tigers fluttering around seem to be just before noon in a lightly shaded area with lush vegetation on a dry sunny day.

Dark Glassy Tiger – (Parantica agleoides agleoides)

The most uncommon of Glassy Tigers, the black segments on the wings are really prominent and dark. Surprisingly, I find this particular species have a higher tendency to open up its wing during perching.

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