The white dragontail
During a recent Dokmai Garden tour to Mae Khanin Tai in Opkhan national park (Chiang Mai) we observed the fantastic white dragontail butterfly (Lamproptera curius, Papilionidae).
It landed on the footpath in front of us, drinking water straight from the soil. Unlike other butterflies, this one vibrates, and the looong tail gives the butterfly an unusual shape.
The white dragontail was described by the Danish entomologist Fabricius in 1787. It can be commonly found in most of Southeast Asia where the foodplant of its larva grows: Illigera appendiculata (Hernandiaceae). Northern Thai names for this plant are ‘phak hang laen’ or ‘som samking’.
In a previous blog I mentioned what you can do to transform your garden into a butterfly sanctuary. This is an example where a wet mud path and the introduction of a jungle plant would bring a lot of joy. Needless to say, I am right now looking for seeds of Illigera.
Text: Eric Danell
Photo: David Fielder