Beetle@SG Website

Please check out my website Beetles@SG for identification of beetles found in Singapore

Saturday, 27 June 2020

Night Walk At Windsor Nature Park (26 Jun 2020)

It was slightly more than a week since Singapore went into Phase 2 of the Covid-19 circuit breaker measure. With Phase 2, parks and beaches are once again open for visitation. As such, HW and I decided to pick up our macro photography session again. To ensure a good session, we decided to go to Windsor Nature Park because we will have a higher chance of finding beetles there.

Here's a photograph of a Lowland Dwarf Gecko (Hemiphyllodactylus typus) encountered during the trip.

Leaf Beetle (Graphops curtipennis) ~  4 mm

Darkling Beetle ~ 2 mm

Fungus Weevil ~ 8 mm [First-time-encountered]

Ground Beetle (Catascopus dalbertisi) ~ 15 mm

Darkling Beetle (Ceropria induta) ~ 10 mm

Darkling Beetle~ 10 mm

Darkling Beetle (Ceropria superba)~ 10 mm

Fungus Beetle~ 15 mm

Rove Beetle~ 5 mm

Sap Beetle~ 3 mm

Fungus Weevil~ 8 mm

Darkling Beetle (Cryphaeus gazella)~ 10 mm

Darkling Beetle~ 15 mm

Beetle larvae~ 15 mm

Chafer Beetle (Apogonia expeditionis)~ 8 mm

Please Fungus Beetle (Amblyopus vittatus)~ 10 mm

Chafer Beetle~ 10 mm

Ground Beetle~ 20 mm

Fungus Weevil ~ 5 mm

Weevil~ 4 mm

Fungus Beetle (Eumorphus tetraspilotus)~ 10 mm

Beetle pupa~ 10 mm

Darkling Beetle~ 2 mm.

Darkling Beetle~ 10 mm

Friday, 5 June 2020

Making of Beetle Specimens - Part 2 (06 Jun 2020)

This is the long overdue Part 2 of the Making of Beetle Specimens post. Here are some of the beetle specimens that I managed to pin during the Covid-19 circuit breaker period. Enjoy!

Monday, 18 May 2020

Close Encounter With The Mango Pulp Weevil (19 May 2020)

I harvested 2 mangoes from the garden and was looking forward to eating the mangoes. When I cut into one of the mangoes, I was disappointed to find that it was attacked by the Mango Pulp Weevil (Sternochetus frigidus), rendering the mango inedible. 

Nevertheless, to make the best of the situation, I decided to extract the weevil larvae and use them to do a post since Singapore is still on the stay-home circuit breaker measure to fight the Covid-19 pandemic. I have intentionally not have any photographs of the attacked mango as it was not a pretty sight, and it took away my appetite for mangoes.

When a Mango Pulp Weevil come across a ripening mango, possibly attracted by the fragrance emitted from the ripening mango, it would lay eggs on the surface of the mango. When the eggs hatched, it will burrow into the mango and start eating the mango pulp. As the larvae feast on the juicy pulp, they also excreted waste. When they were about to pupae, they made use of the excreted waste to form pupa chambers. Inside the pupa chambers, the larvae will turn into pupae and later develop into adult weevils. 

Back to the mango. There were many pupa chambers in the mango but I only managed to extract 6 pupae from it. Here are the extracted pupae.  

To keep the pupae for further observations, I decided to make an artificial pupa chamber using a piece of used flower arrangement foam by poking a ballpoint pen into the foam.

I then placed the pupae into the holes with them vertically placed with head at the top.

After which I covered the pupae with a piece of acrylic to prevent the hatched weevils from flying away.

After a few days, the weevils started to emerge. The first one to hatch was the one at the top right corner. The bottom middle one also looked almost ready to emerge.

It was an interesting few days watching the pupae transforming to weevil, but it was something that I would rather not have as they took away the pleasure of me enjoying one of my favorite fruit.

Friday, 24 April 2020

Making Of Beetle Specimens (24 Apr 2020)

Singapore's circuit breaker measure was extended to 1 June 2020 and so I will not be able to do my regular macro photography until after that. So during this period of stay-home, I decided to take the opportunity to mount some of the dead beetle specimens I have collected over the years that I didn't get down to mounting them.

A disclaimer upfront - this post is not intended to illustrate proper entomology standard of mounting insect specimens but to share how I process my beetle specimens for personal collection. An obvious difference would be the pin through the specimens. For me, I don't like my specimens to be "pinned-through" as required by entomology mounting. For those who are interested in the proper way of mounting insects, here's a link to a website that I came across on properly mounting insects - A Guide To Mounting Insects On Pins.

The key to preserving beetle specimens is in the drying of the beetle specimens. As Singapore enjoys sunny days most part of the year, I would simply put the beetle specimens out in the sun to dry over a few days. To prevent flies, ants and birds (yes, birds too!) from feasting on your beetle specimens while they are drying out, I would usually spray insects repellent on them. If you do not like the smell of insects repellent, you can opt for those odourless insect repellent. After drying, you can put them into an air-tight container with some moth balls put inside. This should keep insects from feasting on your collection and you can keep store them for years.

Before we can start mounting your dried beetle specimens, the first thing to do is to "relax the beetle" (i.e. to loosen the "frozen" joints of the beetle specimen). To do so, you will need a container with a piece of moist tissue paper. Please ensure that the tissue is not dripping wet.

Select the dried specimen that you want to mount. I have chosen this dried Stag Beetle (Odontolabis femoralis) for the illustration here. This is the type of beetle that first arouse my interests in beetles in 2002, during a holiday trip to West Malaysia's Cameron Highlands.

Depending on the size of the beetle, you will need to leave the beetle in the relaxing container for 1 hour to several hours. If you do not want to wait, you can put the specimen on a steamer dish and pour hot water into the container and "steam" the specimen for about 15 min.

To mount insect specimens, you will minimally need pins and a mounting board.

The pins that I use are the normal pins used for sewing as they are easily available from neighbourhood stores. There are no difference in terms of the size of the pin-head, use the type of pins that you are comfortable with. For me, I prefer to use pins with the normal pin head for aesthetic reason.

The mounting board I use are discarded packing styrofoam pieces, either soft or hard styrofoam will do. For me, I will use any styrofoam that I can find.

To start mounting, place the relaxed beetle specimen on the styrofoam.

The first thing to do is to stabilise the beetle specimen on the mounting board by pinning the thorax, front and back of the specimen. This can be easily done by pin-through the specimen which I mentioned earlier on.

Once the main body of the specimen is secured, I would usually position and pin the front legs first. What we want to achieve here is to achieve identical positioning of the legs, both from the top and from the side. Use as many pins as you like, there is no right or wrong when it comes to positioning the legs, it is more of personal and aesthetic preference.

For the legs, I would usually have the pin at an acute angle.

After pinning the legs, the last thing to do is to position the antennae. To get at the antennae, you will need to use a pincer to carefully take out the antennae from the underside of the head. You need to be gentle with the antennae and will require a bit of patience in positioning the antennae.

Once the antennae are positioned, you are basically done. All you need to do is to wait 2-3 days for the specimen to dry up and you can unpin them for storing. You can store them in air-tight containers with moth balls for years.

I will share some of the beetles that I have mounted recently in the next post.