Our group project (Lillian, Por [pronounced Paw] and me) was on butterflies. The three days we got lost, found our way, fell, slipped, missed butterflies, and caught butterflies, all in all super fun! At the end of three day data collection we found that forest and roads harbour distinct butterfly communities and we did some statistical-analysis and got these clear patterns. The event I wil never forget is an encounter with a Malayan tree nymph.
We were supposed to catch one individual per species and kill it by pressing the thorax hard enough; quick death and mount each specimen onto an entomologists’ board. So the tree nymph that rarely descends two metres above ground was right in front of me, I instinctively swung the butterfly net I had, but he escaped mainly due to the excitement I was in, and then I caught him again but this time the wrong side of the net and all the while the two girls with me screaming ‘catch it catch it’. But even the second round failed and by then the nymph figured we were upto no good and I was happy that he escaped, would have been a pity to kill such a beautiful large slow-moving butterfly. We inventorised 45 species in our project which is high diversity to be encountered in three days.
We also were lucky to meet Dr. Christine Fletcher who has worked many years on bats so she and her team actually set out harp-traps and we saw three species of insectivorous bats up-close.