December 16, 2009
I tried sending these photos last week but I don’t think they uploaded so I’m trying again. I encountered these butterflies while hiking along the Tenaru River near Honiara in the Solomon Islands. These images are frame-grabs from a video. Hope you can help identify them.
Bruce Carlson, Atlanta
Solomon Islands, Guadalcanal
The quality of two of your images is quite poor, with cropping lines, and we would request that you resend them without the marks, one at a time, and with any description that is relevant. Our already confusing archives are easier to organize if individual species get their own postings, or if postings are confined to closely related species. Meanwhile, we will post the image of the unknown yellow butterfly in the hopes that one of our readers is able to identify it. We can tell you that the third image you sent contains a Milkweed Butterfly.
Thanks. The images are frame grabs from an HDV video converted to jpeg. I can try to de-interlace them and will resend as you suggest one at a time.
Thanks for your help with this!
Update from Karl
December 18, 2009
It really is a lovely creature, but I don’t think it is a butterfly. The shape of the antennae suggests that it is a moth and I think it may belong to the family Callidulidae, the Old World butterfly-moths. There are only three subfamilies and eight genera, restricted to tropical regions stretching from Madagascar to the Solomom Islands. If I am right, then this one probably belongs to one of four genera in the subfamily Callidulinae. According to Wikipedia “The mainly day-flying Callidulinae can be distinguished by their resting posture, which is the most butterfly-like, with the wings held closely over the back. Resembling the butterfly family Lycaenidae, these moths can be told apart by their antennae which taper to a point or may be very subtly clubbed.” Most species are Asian and not as brilliant as the one in Bruce’s photo, but Pagenstecher (1902; in German) described at least two species from the Solomons that are characterized as mostly yellow on the underside, with outer red bands. The underside of both wings of Callidula [=Cleis] hypoleuca is described as predominantly golden yellow with a reddish/blackish distal band, and the yellow areas marked with distinct black spots. A narrow submarginal band of pearly-white spots is also described for several species. His list and description of species is incomplete so I can’t be certain, but I think this is very close. Callidulidae images on the internet are almost all of Asian species which look very similar to Bruce’s photo, except for coloration. As an example you can check out Callidula attenuata from Taiwan. Regards.