Balinese butterflies

Rice paddies near Ubud

We were based in a guesthouse just north of Ubud for the whole of our two weeks in Bali. It was five minutes’ walk from the nearest road, along a narrow footpath (and scooterpath) through the rice paddies. We could, and often did, walk all the the way into the city on the same track. The forty-minute stroll ran beside the edge of a steep narrow valley much of the way, passing occasional houses, craft stalls, shops and ‘warungs’ – local eating places ranging from very basic food stalls to simple but delightful restaurants.

These walks gave me ample opportunities to indulge in nature photography, especially since the incredibly green, wet surroundings were alive with insect life. I have uploaded photos of a dozen species of butterflies to my flickr pageThis link will take to you my ‘Bali’ album there which, as I write, contains only the butterflies; I will add spiders, other bugs and birds as time permits. Here, though, are some of my prettier finds:

Two butterflies teased me by their similarity to our Varied Eggfly: I thought they were male and female of the same species in spite of their very different coloration, but had no evidence until almost the end of our stay and no good photos – ever – of their upper sides.

Balinese butterflies
Evidence: a mating pair

The upper side of what I thought was the male (the lower of the two in the mating photo) is mostly dark but with bright flashes of blue from the edge of the forewings and russet from the hind wings. The presumed female, however, looked like our Plain Tiger. The only one I got a good photo of was long dead:

Research when I got home confirmed my suspicions and gave me an identity – it is the Common Palm King or Palmfly, Elymnias hypermnestra, Nymphalidae, and this page confirms that females of some subspecies ‘mimic the distasteful Danaus chryssipus,’ just as females of our Varied Eggfly mimic related milkweed butterflies.

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