Sunday, October 31, 2010

Growing Up Creepy - pt.1 - Getting Started

at the Kuala Lumpur Butterfly Park

Hi there!

My name is Cyren Wong and I am from Kuala Lumpur - a buzy little town in the middle of Peninsular Malaysia that offers (what I think is) a good balance between the hustle and bustle of exciting City Life and just enough trees and greenery to retain that tropical-jungleish feeling that I for one wouldn't trade for the world. I am currently 21 going on 22 and besides writing promotional pamphlets for Tourism Malaysia I hope to, when I graduate from the Bachelor of Arts at Monash University, complete the Honours programme after which I will, hopefully a job teaching at a decent private/international school. (Note: use of sarcasm *I do not really write anything for Tourism Malaysia* ). I started this blog with a simple intention, that it may become a sort of collection of knowledge - or an electronic field journal if you may - on my journey through life as an amateur lepidoterist. For those of you who do not know this, a lepidopterist is someone who *quote wikipedia* catches and collects, studies, or simply observes lepidopterans, the term Lepidoptera being derived from Ancient Greek  λεπίδος (scale) and πτερόν (wing) referring to both butterflies and moths!

But indulge me for a second, why butterflies and moths, you might ask? Of all insects, animals or even wildlife to be interested in, why them? Well, aside from the obvious fact that the patterns of their wings (for me at least) comprise of some of the most wonderful and thought inspiring colours and motives in the natural world, for as long as I can remember, butterflies and moths have played a very significant role in my life. Growing up, some of my earliest memories are leafing through the citrus plants in my front garden with my father for chubby green catterpillars. But of course back then I hadn't known about things like the life-cycle of butterfleis and moths, it was more simply a case of my father methodically removing the caterpillars from his lime and orange plants and little-Me, trailing behind to pick up the "worms" from the floor and placing them into paper boxes for safe-keeping. I used to feed these "worms", grasses and leaves and everything I could find, and while the earlier batch did not survive I eventually realised that they only ate the leaves of teh plants from which they came? Eventually I had a collection of about 8 or 10 which, to my amazement one day became hard and brown. Not thinking anything of it, I left the now hard and brown worms in their boxes.

Of course any intelligent child can tell you these days that those "worms" were really caterpillars going through their pupal stage but I was but three and I didn't have any books or a tv back then so you will excuse me! Anyway a couple of weeks later I heard some rustling coming from within the box. Curious as always I opened it and to my amazement, 8 swallowtail butterflies of the common mormon species (P. Polytes) and thus began my fascination with butterflies and moths that would soon become a life-long passion and dream. These days I still raise caterpillars though, to mark some form of "advancement" from my kiddy days, I have replaced the paper boxes with a fairly large glass container and now breed butterflies as well to create sustainable butterfly populations in the still-green areas of KL. My goals as a lepidopterist, to gain as much knowledge I can and share that knowledge so that other may appreciate and partake in the beauty that is the butterfly and moth.
Trogonoptera Brookiana (Rajah Brooke's Birdwing) at the Kuala Lumpur Butterfly Park

1 comment: