Butterflies in the Philippines

Topics: Lepidoptera, Butterfly, Papilionoidea Pages: 3 (616 words) Published: February 21, 2013
Butterflies Endemic To The Philippines

The Philippine archipelago has one of the richest diversities of plant and animal species in the world. In fact, of the Philippines’ nearly 21,000 recorded insect species, about 70 percent can only be found in the Philippines.

The Philippines also has the highest concentration of butterflies in the world. There are more than 900 butterfly species recorded in the Philippines and about 352 species are endemic to the country. In Bohol alone, more than 300 species of butterflies can be found.

The butterfly species int he Philippines are mostly from five families under the order Lepidoptera. Namely, they are: Hesperiidae (skippers or skipper butterflies), Lycaenidae (gossamer-winged butterflies), Nymphalidae (brush-footed or four-footed butterflies), Papilionidae (swallowtail butterflies), and Pieridae.

Skipper butterflies, or more popularly known as skippers, are so-called because of their quick, darting flight habits. Another unique characteristic of these butterflies is that their antennae clubs are curved backwards, shaped like a crochet hook. They also have stockier bodies and large compound eyes. Their wings are also proportionate to their body size, although there are some species who have larger wing sizes. Most have dull colorations of brown, black, white and grey, although there are some species who have hues of red, yellow and blue. These characteristics make them look more like moths than the other butterfly species from other families.

Fig 1. A skipper butterfly looking more like a moth.

Members of the family Lycaenidae are called gossamer-winged butterflies because their wings are usually of bright colors with metallic-like gloss. Another defining characteristic of these butterflies is that most species have one or two spots at the base of their tail, which resembles their head. This allows them to confuse incoming predators from recognizing their true head orientation, thus allowing them to...
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