Koh Taen Island, Samui – May 2013

Posted on: October 1st, 2013 by lesday | No Comments

In May this year, I was asked to visit Koh Taen, a private island some 4 kilometres off the south-western part of Koh Samui to understake a butterfly survey for the owner who is keen to preserve the island’s natural resources.

This small island (only 7 sq. Km) is, unlike Samui, undeveloped, so I hoped to find some species there which I had not seen on Samui for several years. This proved to be the case. The habitat consists of secondary forest, the island having, many years ago been extensively logged, and is only now recovering, together with a large area of mangrove, which is much larger than that on Samui. This area, however, proved disappointing, butterfly-wise. There is also a small area of grassland near the one area given over to chalets and a restaurant.

In total I found 94 species in the 3 days I spent there, just below the 100 I had promised an unbeliving owner who was expecting 40-50! However, I know fully well that I missed several, and also that 3 days in May is not enough time for a full survey.

The first of the rarer species I found was The Lesser Zebra (Graphium macareus perakensis) which had not been seen on Samui since 2010.

Graphium macareus perakensis

Graphium macareus perakensis

Almost immediately after, I had a huge shock when I came across a species not seen on Samui at all, one I had only previously seen in Khao Sok National Park, this being the Blue Posy (Drupadia scaeva scaeva).

Drupadia scaeva scaeva

Drupadia scaeva scaeva

Euploea species were in abundance on the island, much more than on Samui, and nearly all of the known Samui species were to be found on a single flowering tree on the edge of woodland. Also Hasora species where much more in evidence than on the mainland.

My last morning on the island provided a wonderful farewell present, my first Stripe Swordtail (Graphium aristeus hermocrates) since 2008.

Graphium aristeus hermocrates

Graphium aristeus hermocrates

This was a very pleasant break from the noise and hurly-burly of Samui, and, although I do not normally endorse businesses on this site, the trip would not have been possible without the permission and help of Andre Russell, of Island Hoppers (info@samui-discounts.com), who arranged my entire trip and accomodation on the island. They also do 1 day snorkelling trips round the island, with lunch at the island restaurant.

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