Monday 9 February 2015

Chilades putli And Our Gifts

It was a clear sunny morning on the spot where we decided to head out to explore an area before breakfast at Pantai Cenang. We got off from my car where it was next to a scrubby area. As I was preparing my camera, we heard Gary exclaimed excitedly, "Hey, these are different!" I turned over to look at where Gary was standing and he was looking on the ground. I went over to check it out and there were just some few tiny weeny brown butterflies fluttering over a scrub.

Gary Ruben was inspecting these butterflies so closely that he suspected that these were new species on the island. Curiosity has led him to catch one for closer inspection to confirm his thoughts. One need to be sacrificed for the sake of science. He was even more excited after that.

Since Gary didn't have a camera and so I was given the task of a photographer which I gladly took it. I only had my 300mm prime lens attached with a 1.4x Extender and no macro lens. I was not bothered to remove the extender. It was challenging to shot them when these tiny butterflies were non-stop hovering and if they stopped, it was only less than two seconds. 

Somehow I managed to get some shots which were good enough to be used for identification purpose.
With Gary's skill, this plant was identified. A Chilades putli on Indigofera suffruticosa. 

With the samples and photos, Gary made contact with Dr Laurence G. Kirton to confirm what he thought they were. Within that week, I received Gary's email confirming the species as Chilades putli, a new record in Langkawi and as well as Peninsula Malaysia. 
Gary Ruben who dedicated his time in Langkawi researching on butterflies
At the same time, a second edition of Field guide to the Butterflies of Langkawi book by Dr Katsutoshi Kato was scheduled for printing in weeks away and Gary asked if my photos can be used for this. I gave him the permission and it was subjected to Dr Kato's approval. With that same week, the good news came and my photos were accepted and included in this second edition. 

Being an amateur photographer myself, it was indeed an honour to have my photos accepted to be published. I also felt accomplished that week as to be able to contribute a tiny part of their work in butterflies of Langkawi.

Slightly over three months later, I was called by Gary to meet Dr Kato himself. It was supposed to be a surprise but it wasn't a surprise when Gary told me the purpose of the meeting.

And there it was ... the moment I was anticipating...

Standing from left to right: Mr Terutoshi Suetsugi, Mr Makoto Izawa, Dr Katsutoshi Kato, Mr Shuji Muraoka and with me sitting
Arigatou gozaimasu to Gary and Dr Kato's team for the experience and a precious gift that I will cherish.