Sunday 19 May 2013: The Otter Doo-doo Incident
Identification - hypobolimnas bolina bolina, great eggfly or blue moon.
This butterfly is one of the most frustrating to photograph, especially the males. Today I was lucky to find this male mud puddling on a large patch of otter crap, which I had to lie in to get the shot. Not only that, but to get the angle for the wings, my left elbow had to be submersed on 6 inches of paddy mud, so you had better like this one.
For some reason unknown to me, only male butterflies do the mud puddling thing, absorbing nutrients from the fertile ground which is usually waterlogged. They must really enjoy the experience as it is like separating a fat kid from cake, making the butterflies so much more approachable.
The problem with hypobolimnas butterflies is the identification. There are three species which are very close; bolina bolina, misippus misippus and bolina jacintha. All three males look identical on the top surface, the main differences being on the less photographically impressive under side.
In the past I have collected top and bottom views, but never of the same butterfly, consequently, I could never be sure that they were the same species. Today I put that right, as I collected both views from this specimen, a valuable addition to my collection.
As for the otter crap, how do I even know that it was otter crap! Well, it was definitely crap as it smelled extremely bad of rotting fish and it was sprinkled with undigested fish scales. The otter is the only creature that I have seen big enough to extrude this mess and of course, the otter's main diet is fish from the adjacent stream.
They use the same patch of ground for months, as I find it updated on each visit. This is a new patch, the previous patch, which provided me with many blips, has been abandoned and dried up.
I suspected that I might be a bit pongy and this was confirmed when I stopped off to buy some breakfast. I recognized four words that the woman next to me spoke to the proprietor:
Boulay - a derogatory term for the white guy.
Bau - smells bad.
Ikan - fish.
Waduk - shit.
Pretty much confirmed my suspicions. I guess today will be laundry day then.