These photographs are courtesy of Maggie Leung, an O Tau resident and animal welfare activist. Maggie spotted the gathering of blue tiger butterflies near her house.
We asked Zoologist Graham Reels what species the butterflies belong to. They are tirumala limniace, he said, from the milkweed group of butterflies, also known as the Danaid brush-footed butterflies. They are most commonly found in India but do have habitats in Southeast Asia. Graham said there are several species of this butterfly in Hong Kong. They are attracted to milkweed plants.
“It is common for large aggregations of the butterflies to form in sheltered valleys in late autumn to sit out the winter. I was not previously aware of smaller aggregations occurring in the middle of summer. Perhaps they had been drawn to a particularly good milkweed plant on which to lay their eggs.”
Graham’s new book “Confessions of a Hong Kong Naturalist” is reviewed in SAI KUNG BUZZ.