Thursday, February 6, 2014

Rajah Brooke's Birdwing Puddling Site


Hey ya'll
First of all, allow me to apologize for the lack of updates. It amuses me somewhat to see that, despite my absence, the blog has continued to receive a fair trickle of visitors! Anyway I just got back from my field work at Ulu Geroh about slightly under a week ago. I am living there with the Semai community, an indigenous group of people of Peninsular Malaysia, as part of the field work process for my PhD dissertation.  Among other amazing natural wonders, such as several species of Rafflesia which flower there, there rainforests surrounding the Ulu Geroh settlement is renowned for having a high diversity of insect species, most notably, butterflies. It is also one of the few remaining sites in Malaysia where the Rajah Brooke's Birdwing butterfly gather in large numbers on the banks of river to imbibe upon the nutrient rich salts that are present in the mud. I shared the video of one such puddling site sometime earlier this week and so it only natural that it would soon be followed by the photographs. Check it out. 

Some of these butterflies grew so "drunk" on salts that they abandoned much of their usual, jittery dispositions and could be coaxed to climb upon my outstretched palm.

Butterfly roosting on the palm of my hand.


Butterflies precariously perched on a layer of algae that has grown over some of the more stagnant puddling sites. Some of these algae platforms "give way" when there are too many butterflies on top of them and the "Drunker" are not always able to react fast enough and  fall into the water.

A first, butterflies puddling on grass!!! Actually this shot was taken very close to a natural hot springs so it is possible that the soil was equally rich in salts and minerals. 

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