My guest of book of these scaled-wing creatures has reached 24. To me, this number is quite amazing. My house is in the outskirt of Jakarta, one of the most populated and polluted cities in the world. And yet, it is a fruitful neighborhood. I really mean it, that many fruiting trees are still flourishing in the people’s backyards, papayas, jackfruits, mangosteen, rambutans, and the pungent-odor spiny fruit, durians. My jambu air tree (Eugenia aquea) is in fruiting. This April is a great chance to see butterflies.
Some Papilionidae, the Great mormon (Papilio memnon) and the Green-spotted triangle (Graphium Agamemnon) were flying around. The Palmking (Amathusia phidippus) stayed calmly like a dry leaf. The Great egg-fly (Hypolimnas bolina), the Common evening brown (Melanitis idea), and the Bamboo tree-brown (Lethe europa) are having fun on the fallen jambus. All of them seemed to be attracted to the combination of sweet aroma of ripe jambu air and rotten smell of fallen jambu on the ground. Many Nymphalidae butterflies are usually attracted to fruits. Their sense receptors in the antenna and other body parts help them to find the good food. These guests of mine are helping the natural system in my garden works. Although some are attracted to fruits, the most rest are nectar feeding butterflies. Yes, they help pollinate the flowers. In other habitat, they may serve as a good indicator of disturbance. There is no autumn in the tropics but you can always see the Autumn leaves (Doleschallia bisaltide), the brown-golden Nymphalidae visiting the Euphorbia milii flower close to my jambu tree.
Despite the growing guest list, my knowledge seems stagnant. The tropical butterflies are so diverse and yet their natural histories are so limited. Many are still without common names. Let’s googling and the information you’ll find is the taxonomic or distribution info, or the name of the butterflies along with their price. Yes, an Indonesian protected species can be worth $ 50. A dead one, obviously.
So, I don’t know whether my guest book can be filled with butterfly species or it will be just 24…..