Depok, the home of peri-urban butterflies

June is the perfect month of the year. The rainy season is over and spending some time in the morning outside is pretty much rewarding. Depok, my hometown, is in the outskirt of Jakarta, a transitional urban to rural area. Jakarta which just celebrated its 479th anniversary (on 22 June) has long history of development since the Dutch colonization. An 1811’s published book, “the Island of Java” by J.J. Stockdale explained the current situation of Jakarta (previously named Batavia) during those times. At present, the urban areas of Jakarta have been greatly expanded, making the original inhabitants of Batavia, the Betawi is following the movement of peri-urban areas, such as the growing town of Depok.

Picture 1. The map of Jakarta.  Depok is the shaded area in the South

Living in the peri-urban areas, the Betawi people is usually planted many edible fruiting trees and sells the fruits in the market. Some of these trees are the jambu air (Eugenia aquea), duku (Lansium domesticum), guava (Psidium guajava), mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana), jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophylla), rambutans (Nephelium lappaceum), etc. Although at present Depok is mostly dominated by residential areas, many of these trees are still survived.

Picture 2. A Blue nawab (Polyura hebe) on duku tree (Lansium domesticum)

The fruiting of these trees are mostly seasonal but the survived trees along with other trees, shrubs, and herbs, still provide remarkable habitat for the remained urban wildlife, birds and butterflies. When the soothy-headed bulbul (Pycnonotus aurigaster), Olive-backed sunbird (Nectarinia jugularis), and Scarlet-headed flowerpecker (Dicaeum trochileum) are usually visiting the middle to the upper level of the habitat, the butterflies are capable to reach another level, the understory. Thus, when the trees are absent and none of the birds visited, butterflies may still be able to inhabit the areas as long as there are flowering plants or host plants.

This morning, I was standing in the front yard with my camera and suddenly a Great egg-fly (Hypolimnas bolina) flew over and stopped on a plant just in front of me, opening the wing and basking it in the sun. The Great egg-fly is common species of secondary growths, forest edge, and even the gardens of human-inhabited areas. Walking around the neighborhood and along the railway close to residential areas is a good chance to see this butterfly. On a one rare moment, I even watched it flew over a busy street in Depok, trying to reach some trees across the street.

Picture 3. A Great egg-fly (Hypolimnas bolina) perched on Jambu air leaves (Eugenia aquea)

Picture 4. A Great egg-fly is basking in the sun

Many other butterflies are probably worse survivor than the Great egg-fly, particularly when nectar plants or host plants are specific. Some Swallowtails such as the Great mormon (Papilio memnon) and the Lime butterfly (Papilio demoleus) are also urban survivor but their fondness to particular plants such as citrus or Ixora flower is probably making them less spread out than the Great egg-fly.

Picture 5. A Great mormon (Papilio memnon) on Belimbing wuluh tree (Averhoa bilimbi)

Peri-urban areas such as Depok may contribute the urban wildlife richness for Jakarta and the area surrounding as long as there are supporting vegetation for birds and butterflies. Nowadays, Depok is still an expanding town. Several malls were built face to face and many unproductive lands are converted into residential estates, decreasing the amount of vegetation. It’s up to us whether we only let only the good disperser such as the Great egg-fly or other butterflies as well to flourish the city and enhance the nature quality.


4 responses to this post.

  1. Geeee…you are really become butterfly nerd aren’t you? 😀


  2. Posted by noonathome on June 30, 2008 at 9:27 am

    😀 …. 😀


  3. hi..could you please tell me what kind of butterfly did i find ?coz the butterfly is as same as Blue nawab (Polyura hebe) on duku tree (Lansium domesticum) in this blog,and similiar with Polyura hebe plautus,but I’m not sure that it’s Polyura hebe plautus or not coz there’s a bit differences.thank you.


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