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How to download and use the iPhone Butterfly App

NSS Butterfly & Insect Group launched its first smart phone app 'Butterflies of Singapore' for iPhones in May 2012.
This FREE butterfly app features 440 awe-inspiring photographs of butterflies found in Singapore. You could be a beginner, an experienced butterfly watcher or a park manager doing serious data collection. The application makes identifying and monitoring butterflies real easy in the field.

To download, search for 'nss' or 'butterflies singapore' in the iPhone App store or on iTunes.  Here's the link:

Butterflies of Singapore (NSS) on the App Store on iTunes

We assume that by now you would have downloaded the apps. Here's a step by step process on how to use the app and several of its features.

1.  Double-click on the NSSButterflies App icon to begin.

2.  You will be presented with the screen below in the BROWSE mode.

3.  Clicking on the down arrow of the bullet on the left, you will be presented with a list of four options including List View which is shown here. In this view only the common and scientific names will be shown.   

4.  The screen below will be shown when Family View is selected. The family names and a representative butterfly of the family will be shown..

5.  This is how a Gallery View would look like when chosen. The gallery will show all the butterflies that are available in Singapore.

6.  Thumbnail View will show the screen below when chosen. It lists all the butterfly species found here with accompanying picture, common and scientific names.

7. We can select what butterflies to display within the BROWSE mode by clicking on the bullet on the right. At the moment it is showing Show All.

8.  Selecting BTO Butterflies will show you the butterfly species spotted at the Butterfly Trail at Orchard.

9.  Selecting Malay Baron-likes will display the screen below. This selection shows you all the species that look like the Malay Baron butterfly.

10.  Anytime you need to view the information about a butterfly species, just tap on the screen of the iPad at the picture (1st screen) or name of the butterfly (2nd screen) as shown below. In this case, the butterfly is a Chocolate Pansy. 

and a screen below will appear.

It will show information like the following:

Rarity: denoted by yellow stars; 1 being Common/Widespread, 2 being Uncommon/Localised and 3 being Rare. 

Habitat icons: Brown Bench = Urban/Parks, Long Grasses = Grassland, Trees = Forest and Marshes = Coastal/Mangrove.

Size: Tiny = < 15mm, Small = 15-30mm, Medium = 30-50mm and Large = > 50mm.

Flight speed: Fast or Slow.

Mobility: Resident = lives here, Vagrant = appears sporadically usually singly , Migrant = migrates here seasonally.

Comments: A little note about the species under the Mobility information.

11.  In the SEARCH mode you can search a butterfly by COLOR, SIZE, TAIL, EYESPOT and SPEED. In the COLOR option you can choose a maximum of 2 colors.

12.  For SIZE, here are the choices available.

13.  For TAIL, here are the choices available.

14.  For EYESPOT, here are the choices available.

15.  For SPEED, here are the choices available.

16.  Finally after selecting the criteria, the screen looks like the one below. A list of butterfly species matching the criteria selected will be shown.

17.  In the COMPARE mode, you can view 2 butterfly species one on top of the other. This is to facilitate their comparison in finer detail. But first you have to select them by taking the BROWSE option. Click BROWSE below.

18.  The following screen will appear. Choose any 2 species to compare as shown below.

19.  When that is done, the screen below appears. Now click Compare option.

20.  When the COMPARE option is selected the padlock icon will be shown as locked.

21.  Once that is activated you can enlarge the top picture and the bottom one will follow suit as shown below.

22.  You can even move it about. As can be seen below, when you move the picture above, the one below will move accordingly to match the former.

23.  Selecting LIST mode, you will be displayed with the screen below where you can ADD or EDIT to your own list of butterflies seen by you. The location can be recorded as well as it has a built in GPS as shown below.

24.  You can even Export data to our database in the NSS server.

25. In the MORE mode, here are the choices available. ABOUT tells you more information about the app whereas ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS displays a list of people involved in the making of this app as shown below.


26.  Finally there are 2 orange bullets, ie. EXPORT SIGHTING LIST and EXPORT TO EXCEL lets you do exactly that.

Happy butterfly spotting, identifying and recording! If you have any questions, drop us a note at