Post by Adam Cotton on Apr 10, 2014 12:50:14 GMT -8
Yes, this is technically ssp. itamputi which was described from Sumatra. There is some question whether the subspecies on the Malay Peninsula is the same as that from Sumatra, and Tung (1892) described ssp. jibasumbati to separate the Sumatran and Malay subspecies. Unfortunately he didn't do the basics of taxonomy, and described jibasumbati from Padang, Sumatra thus just naming a junior synonym and leaving the Malay Peninsula population without a separate subspecies name.
Until now no-one has named the Malay population, and I haven't actually yet studied whether it really is different from itamputi or not.
Post by Adam Cotton on Apr 27, 2014 9:01:40 GMT -8
Sorry that the photo is not very sharp, but the female is definitely on top. Males always just hang motionless while mating, unless they are holding onto something as well as the female. If they are disturbed the female will fly away with the male hanging motionless below. In fact that is exactly what happened to this pair after I photographed them. It is quite strange watching the female flying with the male just hanging motionless.
If you look very carefully the left clasper of the male is actually visible pointing downwards and to the left of the tip of the abdomen of the female. It is very difficult to see clearly, sorry. Note also the larger size of the female, especially bearing in mind that the male is angled towards the camera which makes it look larger than reality.
I should also mention that if you ever hand pair swallowtails you always know when they are mating, because the male tucks its legs into its body and stops moving even though you are holding it.
As Adam said, in Papilionidae it is always the female that is the dominant partner when pairing; the male just hangs limp when the female flies, he will only use his legs if they happen to be against a surface he can hang on to. I had always assumed that this was the case with all Lepidoptera as I had always observed this in the past. However, when looking for Colias in the field a few years ago, I came across pairs of C. wiskotti and C. regia in cop, and when they were disturbed I was very surprised to observe that it was the male that flew; in every pair I found it was the female that hung limp. I don't know whether this applies to all Pieridae but I would imagine so. I also don't know whether any other families have the male as the dominant partner; certainly in all others that I've noticed the female is dominant.