An Erebidae larva in Sai Kung

My excursion last night started with Roger and Mark pointing out to me this splendid caterpillar in return for me showing them my Carnaby Street clearwing. You show me yours and I’ll show you mine.

The importance of backgrounds was something I rarely thought about much in the past until I started to realise that clean backgrounds with complementary colours tend to make a picture much more appealing. It ought to be blindingly obvious. Sadly there is little in life that is so to me. I tend to be more of an explorer without a sextant and I usually get there by luck rather than judgement.

Now though I wanted a decent backdrop for the cat, especially as this was taken with flash. I need a decent DoF but not enough light to render the background disruptive.

Here is what I ended up with.

Erebidae larva 3

Erebidae larva2


ErebidaelarvaNone is perfect but the bottom one is closest to being good. In the first one the tail end is out of focus and it is a tad over-saturated. Either movement or not enough DoF caused the blur. The middle one has some messy patches where I have tried to reduce the noise at the expense of the sharpness. I may have another go at this one. The bottom one looks reasonably natural.

Dr. Roger Kendrick wrote: suspect it’s a Bastilla sp (Erebidae, Erebinae, Poaphilini). Note that there are two fully functional pairs of abdominal prolegs.

And Mercury Wong told me the LFP (larval food plant) is Smilax sp., should be Smilax glabra

This is a team effort.

These were taken over a period of an hour or so and the cat was a star. Never complained once. That’s my boy.




The cat morphs

Well I now know that my tentative ID of the caterpillar as Red Helen (Papilio helenus helenus) was correct. How? Because it has gone from 4th to 5th instar and now looks like this.Red Helen 3 Red Helen Red Helen2

The shots are a bit wobbly as I was hand holding the camera in grotty light. Nevertheless it shows just how beautiful butterflies can be even before they reach maturity.

And just because you deserve it, here’s a sticky to keep you going.Stick InsectIt can get a bit boring here if you don’t like insects 🙂   So just in case, here is a rather spiffing Chinese Goshawk, my birthday bird of the day. What a SPLENDID bonus.

Chinese Goshawk