Cambodian treasures

Four Lycaenidae from the Cambodia jungle

Cambodia is one of the poorest countries in Indochina with a GDP per capita of only 1,400 USD (2017), slightly higher than Burma but much lower than Vietnam or Thailand. Its natural world though is particularly rich. My wife and I explored this on our three-week holiday through this lovely country with its friendly population, delicious cuisine and sunny weather.

We booked a six-day private tour with the Sam Veasna Center for Wildlife Conservation. This is a non-profit organisation based in Siem Riep ( with excellent access to protected areas, cooperating with and supporting the local population and preserving endangered species. Our guide was Mr. Huon Hat who had excellent knowledge and keen eyes and ears for birds. I am sure he now also has a keen eye for butterflies 🙂

With regard to butterflies, Cambodia is essentially a blank spot on the map of Indochina. The butterfly fauna for neighbouring Thailand and Vietnam has been well researched and documented, but not so for Cambodia. There is no species list for the country nor a field guide. We do not even know how much species the country features. To identify the specimens I have photographed I used the guides to Thai and Vietnamese butterflies with – hence – a slight possibility of errors.

Below is The White Cerulean (Jamides Pura) in Phnom Kulen NP.

White cerulean jamides pura

Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM   f/5.0   1/160   ISO 640

The Malayan (Megisba Malaya) at the same location.

The Malayan megisba malaya

Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM   f/5.6   1/125   ISO 125

The Curetis species cannot be distinguished from each other by just looking at the underwings, but luckily one specimen opened its wings far enough to grab a quick shot of the black-and-red pattern on the upperwings to identify this one as The Bright Sunbeam (Curetis bulis).

Bright sunbeam curetis bulis

Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM   f/5.6   1/160   ISO 160

The Banded Lineblue (Prosotas lutea) is absolutely stunning with its golden colours.

The banded lineblue prosotas lutea

Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM   f/5.0   1/160   ISO 100