posted in: Fauna, Videography | 2

“The Striped Albatross (Appias libythea olferna, family Pieridae, subfamily Pierinae) is a common butterfly species in Singapore and does occur in urban habitats (Khew, 2010). This species is sexually dimorphic, so the males and females adorn themselves with different ‘costumes’.

“On the afternoon of 16th August 2014, I was privileged to witness the private moment of a mating pair in a public park. The chivalrous male had gently enveloped the female’s wings with his, somewhat equivalent to hugging in humans. Their fused abdomens were not visible as they were concealed behind closed wings (above).

“As the butterflies were bound to each other, they seemed to be entranced by the spellbinding singing of the cicadas in the background. Slowly but surely, the cicada song ascended to its climax, celebrating the warm union between two butterflies that did not merely pass each other by.

“A video clip of this mating pair may be previewed here:”

Dr. Leong Tzi Ming
19th September 2014

Khew, S. K., 2010. A Field Guide to the Butterflies of Singapore. Ink on Paper Communications Pte Ltd, Singapore. xxv + 342 pp.

2 Responses

  1. Q

    Thanks for sharing this. As with many of our own observations by ButterflyCircle members, for this species (the Striped Albatross), it is the male that does the flying when it is mated to the female. In the case of other species, it is the female that does the flying. Field observations are currently being recorded for as many species as possible with regard to whether it is the male or female that carries the burden of flying when the pair is attached. Obviously, both cannot fly simultaneously! So one partner is usually the passive one, whilst the other does all the flying for both of them.

  2. YC

    To document behaviour as in mating in this case is one step forward from just photographing the butterfly. Checking out whether it is the male or the female who does the flying when both are still attached is going deeper into the subject.Thanks for this new perspective of butterfly studies.

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