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New Butterfly Record for Singapore


Seasoned butterfly watcher Lena Chow was out on her regular trip to Pulau Ubin looking for butterflies, dragonflies and birds on 15 November 2012. This relatively unplanned trip turned out to be a special one.

 

Lena thought that she had spotted a common looking butterfly while walking up the slope to Butterfly Hill. "Ah...it’s a Plain Nawab (Polyura hebe). Let's take a record shot anyway," she said to herself.  


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A Malayan Nawab seen in Pulau Ubin, forming a new species record for Singapore.

 

If you hang around Lena long enough, you will realise that taking quick and crisp record shots is one of her strengths. This time it really paid off. What looked like a Plain Nawab turned out to be an Malayan Nawab (Polyura moori). As far as we know, this is a new species record for Singapore. The Malayan Nawab is one of seven Polyura species occurring in Malaysia. The others being Polyura athamas, delphis, eudamippus, hebe, moori and schreiber. Prior to Lena’s discovery, only two of these Polyura, Plain Nawab (P hebe) and Blue Nawab (P schreiber) could be found in Singapore. We are awaiting more sightings of the Malayan Nawab from Pulau Ubin to confirm if this was a vagrant individual from Johor, a seasonal visitor or an unlikely recent resident. 


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Pulau Ubin also yielded the rare Yellow Glassy Tiger, feared to be extinct in mainland Singapore.

 

To top it off, Lena spotted another rare species that day – the Yellow Glassy Tiger (Parantica aspasia aspasia), a butterfly that has been recorded only very occasionally on Pulau Ubin. However, this beauty is feared to be extinct from mainland Singapore with no records for over two decades. The Butterfly Interest Group heartily congratulates Lena for these two wonderful sightings.