Hong Kong Lepidopterists' Society Events & Activities


Follow-up Trip to Tung Chung


in search of Leptotes plinius (Lycaenidae) 

 P. C. LEE

On the 23rd of November, Yiu Vor and his friends from the Foto28 Club took a trip to Tung Chung where they were able to observe  a lot of  L. plinius.    Since I was away with James on a trip to  Chang Mai, Thailand, I missed this opportunity. On the 30th of November,  immediately after my return,  Gilbert and I  went back to the same spot where this rare butterfly was observed.  The place is a small wasteland about the size of a tennis court.  It is situated next to a public toilet beside  an outdoor recreation camp in Hau Wong Temple in Tung Chung.

Before we entered the place, we were greeted by a male Junonia hierta and two Phalanta Phalantha (both Nymphalidae), both slightly damaged. It was very likely that their food plants were nearby.

Junonia hierta Phalanta Phalantha

 We then entered the wasteland and found at most three to four females of L. plinius  

Leptotes plinius - female

Yiu Vor had reported  that they saw around twenty of them a week before and which were mostly male. Other species were also observed in the same location. The females were either basking in the sun or laying eggs among the flower buds of its host plant, Plumbago zeylanica L. (Plumbaginaceae). 

Plumbago zeylanica L. (Plumbaginaceae) - 

host plant of Leptotes plinius

The place was in disarray. Too many people may have just trespassed the place and this can be the reason for the sharp decrease in the number of butterflies within a short period.  Another probable reason  is that  the male might have finished their role of fertilizing the female and died! We also  found some eggs and a caterpillar. However, it was not possible for us to take any close up shots because of the limitation of our cameras.

The place is quite close to the recreation area, and with the desolate appearance of this open space,  further expansion for recreation is a probability. The habitat for these butterflies, particularly for the rare L. plinius, may be lost in the near future unless we take action to ensure their survival.  

Lampides boeticus - female Zizina otis - male