The Common Palmfly feeding on Singapore Rhododendron fruit

Common Palmfly, displaying upperside.

The larvae of the Common Palmfly (Elymnias hypermnestra agina) feed on the leaves of palm, thus the common name. The upperside of the butterfly is bluish-black while the underside is speckled brown with a light so-called “thumb print” at the apex of the forewing. There is a white spot at the costa of the hindwing, seen in the image above but not in the specimen shown in the video.

Common Palmfly displaying lowerside. Note white spot at the costa

Normally skittish, the Common Palmfly would fly off as soon as I got my equipment ready to document it flying around the Singapore Rhododendron (Melastoma malabathricum). But this time I encountered a specimen in the evening that stayed put feeding on the fruit juice. In fact, it remained even as I moved my equipment nearer and nearer and remained feeding for more than half an hour.

Common Palmfly feeding on fruit – note proboscis.

Check out the video below and note the proboscis moving regularly as it sucked in the fruit juice.

YC Wee
Singapore
22nd June 2018

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