Sunday, August 5, 2018

Unusual critter sightings on a hot summer's day in Hong Kong

Two caterpillars in one photo!

Four butterflies attracted to the same flowering plant!!

Just one moth in this photo -- but it appears to be a rare one! :b

It was very hot once again today; so much so that part of me was tempted to spend the entire day in air-conditioned comfort in my apartment.  But I told myself I needed to get some more exercise in this week.  So off I went in the afternoon for a hike that began at Victoria Gap and got me down and over to Pok Fu Lam via the Hong Kong Trail rather than the shorter option that makes use of Pok Fu Lam Reservoir Road

Soon after I left the tourist-infested section of The Peak, my mood began to lift; this even though, once more this summer, I found the temperature up there to be higher than I would expect, considering it being several hundred meters above sea level and, really unusually, I didn't spot as many interesting non-human critters about than I normally do when hiking in the area.  

To be sure, I do wish that more of the people walking on Lugard Road could do so without feeling compelled to raise their voices to an annoyingly high volume when communicating with their companions and none would feel that they could smoke freely and spread cancerous vapors about them.  Still, I also was soothed to a considerable degree by the surrounding greenery and the bird song that occasionally filled the air (and could be surprisingly loud considering how small some of the birds responsible for them are!).

My spirit soared even higher late in the hike when I came across a bush whose flowers were proving attractive to a number of butterflies.  Members of the Nymphalidae Danainae sub-family were particularly well represented: with my spotting Glassy Tigers, Blue Tigers and Common Tigers flitting about the area.  From the looks of it, they seem to like hanging out together; with, in one case, four members of this sub-family deciding to literally hang about on the same flowering plant while leaving its neighbors well alone!

Just when I was thinking that the sight of that quartet of butterflies was the hike's visual highlight, I caught sight of a smaller winged creature which I've come to realize is a moth despite being colorful like a butterfly.  While it's hardly rare to spot moths while out hiking in Hong Kong, it really was the very first time that I saw this particular species of white, red and black colored moth!

After looking for a photo of a member of that species in vain on the pretty extensive Hong Kong Moths website, I've got to thinking that it must be a pretty rare one.  However, thanks to Andrew Hardacre's HK Moths Photo Gallery, I got to figuring out that the moth I spotted this afternoon is a Utetheisa lotrix (aka salt-and-pepper moth) with quite a wide geographical range.  

So bang went my hope that I had discovered a new species of insect.  Nonetheless, I'm excited enough that after some eleven years of hiking in Hong Kong, I'm still able to come across interesting critters in the wild which I had previously never set my eyes on and didn't know existed! :)    


Anonymous said...

Hi There,

I remember Obeidia tigrata is quite common along a sketch of Harlech Road close to the stream. You may see them flying along the path, or perching on leaves of the trees around.

It's hot in the afternoon earlier alright. I was in the street and my heart rate went up over 110 just for a leisure stroll from Wanchai to Causeway Bay. Have to drink lots of water in order to stay a little bit cooler.


Carver said...

Fantastic shots of the critters on your walk. You captured some unique ones. I can relate to being tempted to stay in and out of the heat. I wouldn't have walked today if Bill hadn't called to see if I wanted to walk. It wasn't bad in the woods but it's harder to get motivated.

YTSL said...

Hi T --

Hmmm, maybe the reason why I hadn't seen Obeidia tigrata for so long then is because I haven't gone on Harlech Road in ages! (I usually go along Lugard Road and then from there down to Kennedy Town, HKU, Aberdeen, etc.)

And yes, I'm drinking lots of liquids these days... I feel like I'm losing liquids by sweating so much so much of the time!

Hi Carver --

I think you're like me in that once we're out in nature, we are glad we went but it can be a bit of a struggle to get oneself out there. And thank goodness for the trees and the shade they give, right? ;b