Beautiful but very rare in Singapore, the Harlequin butterfly lives primarily in the forest due to its preference for heavily shaded areas, and where its host plant is found. The adult butterfly typically flit from leaf to leaf at brushes near the forest floor, often with half-opened wings. Perhaps what makes the Harlequin butterfly stand out from the rest of its kind is that it is not a nectar feeder, preferring instead the microscopic substances on leaf surfaces.
Sadly, the local Harlequin butterfly population is greatly endangered today. In fact, it was thought to be locally extinct in the Singapore mainland, surviving only in Pulau Tekong, until a colony was discovered on the mainland in 2006.
Today, the biggest threat to the survival of the Harlequin butterfly is rapid deforestation, as lush forests crucial for the survival of the species are cleared for urban projects and developments. As Singapore continues to progress, we need to constantly balance our development needs with our natural environment, so that our island remains a place that is liveable and sustainable for humans and wildlife alike.
#WildlifeWednesday #WildlifeWednesdaySG #Singapore #butterfly #conservation