Hong Kong Lepidopterists' Society Events & Activities

Field Trip To Ma On Shan (3 Oct 99)

Participants, Chi Hung, James, Jeffrey, Yiu Vor

Reported by Chi Hung

            It is the well known fact that some of the butterfly species exhibit a behavior so called the hill topping which is that both the male and female butterflies fly up the hill where they meet at the very top only for the mating purpose. That was our goal to go to the Ma On Shan watching these mysterious butterflies.

            After meeting everyone early in the morning at the Shatin Railway Station, we began our enjoyable trip on the Jamesˇ¦ 4WD. We got off the car at the Ma On Shan Country Park and we took the nearest path up the hill right away. To be frank, I was a bit worrying in the beginning since it was the highest hill I have ever tried, so it would be a challenge for me.

            The path was followed by the steep slope and it went steeper and more steeper when we were moving up and upˇK in the meantime, the buildings under the hill looked smaller and smallerˇK Once we had climbed over a small hill, it looked as if there was always a higher one waiting for us behind that and after much effort, we finally managed to climb to the peak of the Hunch Backs which is the vice-peak of the Ma On Shan at about 700m in height.

            We had a magnificent view overlooking the whole Ma On Shanˇ¦s residential area and we saw many beautiful butterflies flying around happily. I was told by James and Yiu Vor that we had actually seen much fewer butterflies than they had in April last year and we believed that it was because of the several typhoons just passed by not long before. Among those lovely butterflies, the Parasapa dudu and Hypolimnas missipus were my favourite as it was my first time to see these species in the wild.

Athyma cama (male)

                       Pelopidas mathias (female)

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Parasarpa dudu (male)

                         Hypolimnas bolina (male)

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            It was a cloudy day with the occasional sunshine, the interesting thing was that the butterflies only showed up when the sun was shining and they would all disappear suddenly once the sun vanished behind the clouds, so it seems to me that the butterflies at hilltop are more light sensitive than those on the ground level.

            Could anyone tell me if that was true?

            A heavy rain and a thunder storm was coming all of a sudden, so we could do nothing but went down the hill immediately. We were all exhausted when we got back to the car park. Anyway, I think it was worth spending every bit of the effort on this trip.