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Saturday, 30 November 2013

Morning Walk At Upper Seletar Reservoir And Venus Drive

The morning weather looked sunny and I decided to go to the Upper Seletar Reservoir to take some beetle photographs. I was a little disappointed when I reached the place as the vegetation looked very wet. It seemed to have rained in the early morning and it seemed to me that the chances of finding beetles may be very slim.

The first beetle that greeted me was this roundish Leaf Beetle (Argopus brevis) having its breakfast on its favorite host plant.

Walking further down the track, I found this small 3 mm beetle that can usually be found after rain.

After walking for about 10 minutes without seeing any beetles, this tiny Leaf Beetle (<2 mm) was a welcome sight.

After walking along the path where I would usually find beetles but without finding any beetles, I decided to turn back and go to Venus Drive so as not to waste such sunny morning during the monsoon season. Just as I turned back, a Spiny Leaf Beetle was spotted on  a blade of grass. Pardon the poor photograph as this particular beetle was so sensitive that it flew off immediately after one photograph - not even a chance to adjust my focus. Included here as a record of what I encountered during the trip.

Walking further a Ladybird Beetle (Henosepilachna cucurbitae) was found having its breakfast on a leaf. Notice the chew-marks on the leaf.

Just a stone's throw away from my car was this hyper-sensitive Leaf Beetle (Hoplasoma unicolor) which promptly flew off after only 3 shots.

The Venus Drive was as wet as Upper Seletar Reservoir and to my dismay I found signs of wild boars activities. The wild boars would probably have gotten to the beetles that I usually find on this particular log. The wild boars had already created quite a problem at Macritchie Reservoir and Lower Pierce Reservoir, guessed that they have reached this part of Singapore also.

The first beetle that greeted me at Venus Drive was this Fungus Beetle (Eumorphus tetraspilotus). Notice  how wet was the bracket fungus.

Moving along, I came across another of the hairy little beetle.

Moving to a fallen log, I found this black and pink Net-winged Beetle.

On the same log, I found a few of this brightly colored Net-winged beetle. This is the first time that I encountered a group of them together in close proximity.

Still on the same log was this well camouflaged Fungus Beetle.

Moving to the clearing once again, I found this first-time-encountered Fungus Beetle. It looked very much like the other Fungus Beetle that I came across before, but upon closer look it differed in the position and size/shape of the spots.

On another log was another group of this beetle.

A short distance away was this Fungus Beetle (Eumorphus quadriguttatus) which have a slightly different spot size and positions.

Moving onto the track again , I found this lone Leaf Beetle (Colasposoma auripenne) resting on a relatively dry leaf.

On a tree trunk was this lovely beetle  larvae.

Moving on, I was glad to see this Leaf Beetle (Argopus brevis).

Hiding under a leaf of a ginger plant was this Leaf Beetle (Gonophora xanthomela). The tell-tale signs of the presence of this type of beetle are the lines they left behind on the leaves. Notice the line behind the beetle?

The highlight of the trip was finding this first-time-encountered Long Horned Beetle (Sclethrus amoenus). It looked very much like the Neocollyris celebensis Tiger Beetle. I have attached a photograph of the Tiger Beetle (Neocollyris celebensis) taken previously for reference.

The trip was not a fruitful one due to the rain but encountering the first-time-encountered Sclethrus amoenus Long Horned Beetle made the trip worth the while.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Afternoon Walk At Venus Drive (23 Nov 2013)

It has been a while since I did any beetle photography in the afternoon as the chances of finding beetles in the afternoon are very much lower due our hot weather. As the sky has been overcast in the morning and seemed that it will be for the entire day, I decided to go down to Venus Drive for a walk.

Venus Drive was chosen as I thought the chances of finding beetles would be higher. At the same time, it would avoid the durian pickers crowd. As expected the place was very quiet and I am the only one on the track for almost two hours or so.

I made a bee-line to the usual spots where I would find Leaf Beetles in the morning, hoping to find some Leaf Beetles but to my disappointment there was not a single Leaf Beetle in sight. So I decided to head straight into the trail, hoping to find some beetles. I walked for a short while without finding any beetles until I came to a piece of dead log. A Fungus Beetle (Eumorphus assamensis) came out to greet me. Sadly, this was the only beetle I found on the log.

Near to the dead log, I found this small (~6 mm) Net-winged Beetle resting on a rattan leaf. Not sure if this is a Net-winged Beetle or some sort of Fungus Beetle as I recently read that there are Fungus Beetles that looked very much like Net-winged Beetle.

Moving to another fallen log, a familiar Fungus Beetle was found munching on a white fungus growth.

Flying nearby was a Tumbling Flower Beetle (Glipa malaccana) that occasionally stopped for a brief moment just to tease me into trying to photograph it. It was quite a challenge to photograph this hyper-active beetle using my 18-55 mm lens. Nevertheless I still managed to catch a few shots of it, albeit not too good ones.

I quickly reached the clearings where I used to find a number of beetles in the night. There were not too many beetles there but I managed to spot this big (~20 mm) first-time-encountered Darkling Beetle resting under some shades.

On a nearby dead log was a few of this Fungus Beetles (Eumorphus quadriguttatus).

From the few beetles encountered so far, I decided to go to the Fungus Paradise that I found previously to see if I can find some Fungus Beetles. Sure enough I found on a dead tree stump a group of about 10 of this Fungus Beetle.

Moving further, I found a lone Fungus Beetle (Eumorphus politus) on a dead leaf on top of a fallen tree log. It looked like it is feeding on something that was on the leaf.

Moving along the path and trying very hard to spot more beetles, this small (~5 mm) Fungus Weevil landed on a leaf right in front me. How wonderful!

Moving to another dead log, I found another lone Fungus Beetle hiding under some shade on the log. This type of beetle is in abundant in the night.

A small beetle larvae was spotted on the same log.

At this point in time, the sky started to rumble - it seemed that it was going to rain soon. So I picked up my paces but eyes still scanning the vegetation carefully for beetles. I finally found an interesting looking first-time-encountered beetle on a small plant.

As I was walking faster than usual, a whitish beetle flew across my path. Not wanting to miss photographing any beetles, I followed this 6 mm Leaf Beetle a short distance until it decided to take shelter under a leaf.

While I was photographing the Leaf Beetle I found a fallen tree further in the bushes, so I decided to take a detour and see if there are any beetles. I was pretty disappointed in not finding any Fungus Beetle on the log until I saw this lovely reddish-orange Fungus Beetle (Stenotarsus pardalis) resting on a leaf. This is one of my favorite beetles.

Moving quickly ahead, I found a small (~5 mm) Leaf Beetle (Argopus brevis) having a great time munching on a leaf. Its high tea time for the beetle.

Just as I am about to leave the place, I was pleasantly surprised to find a Long Horned Beetle (Thranius bimachulatus) resting motionlessly on a rubber tree leaf. This is the second time that I encountered this beetle. Nice!

Near to the Long Horned Beetle was this tiny 1 mm first-time-encountered beetle. It looked like a Leaf Beetle.

The last beetle that I encountered was this 2 mm Fungus Beetle moving about on a fungus laden leaf.

The trip was not exceptionally fruitful but it was not unexpected given that it was in the afternoon. In any case, besides the beetle I also found two durians along the way.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Night Walk At BTNR - Durian Loop Trail (22 Nov 2013)

The weather was rather wet for the day but I thought I would still go to the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve - Durian Trail for a walk since I have not been there for a while.

I was surprised to find quite a number of people there. It was interesting to find them all wearing rubber boots and later I found out that they were there to pick durians. Didn't know that it is durian season now and the Durian Loop Trail is full of fruiting durian trees.

For those who do not know, durian is one of the favorite fruit for Singaporeans and although they are easily available at the fruits store and even supermarket, local durians are highly sought after by many as they are usually not available for sale.

One would know that local durian is in season when you find rotting or half eaten durians scattered around durian trees. The smell or fragrance, depending if you are a lover of durian or not, was in the air. I saw groups of people gathered around certain spots with candle lit and placed at strategic locations along the trail. In my mind I am thinking to myself that this is going to be one of those not so fruitful days, given all the human activities around.

The first beetle that greeted me was this Leaf Beetle (Lema diversa) probably preparing to rest.

The place was exceptionally wet and muddy, probably due to all the walking over of the already wet path by the durian pickers.  As expected, I walked for almost 15 minutes without finding any beetles. Just then, I noticed a black small beetle (~8 mm) on a low bush. Upon closer examination, I was surprised to find this interesting Fungus Beetle (Amphisternus vomeratus). This was only the second time that I encountered this beetle. It was rather restless and kept moving around, making it a challenge to get a nice shot of it.

Walking along the muddy path was difficult but the humidity at the place really make the walk a bit tough. Nevertheless, I persevered on and came across an upright dead tree with a few tens of this small 2 mm Fungus Beetle.

Moving on, I walked almost for another 20 minutes before I found this first-time-encountered Ground Beetle. It remained motionless for me to photograph unlike the earlier Fungus Beetle.

Coming to a fallen log, I found a few of this small 3 mm Darkling Beetles.

Moving further down the muddy trail, more Darkling Beetles were found. This Ceropria induta Darkling Beetle was found clinging to the base of a tall tree.

On  the same tree was this long (~20 mm) beetle larvae. This is likely to the larvae of the Ceropria induta Darkling Beetle.

On a tree covered with lichens, a lone beetle larvae was found with no adult beetles in sight.

After another 10 minutes of walking without seeing any beetle, this roundish (~6 mm) Darkling Beetle was a welcomed sight. This is also where I found my first durian from this place.

On a slope next to the trail, a Fungus Beetle (Micrencaustes lunulata) was found motionless on a blade of leaf.

After another long walk without encountering any beetles, I have decided to speed up and go home. Just then this small 4 mm Darkling Beetle appeared.

This Long Horned Beetle was the highlight of the trip. It was found almost on the underside of a fallen tree which made photographing it a challenge. Unlike the other earlier beetles, this beetle was hyper-sensitive and flew off into the dark after a few shots.

This trip was not very fruitful for beetles but I still managed to find a first-time-encountered beetle and other interesting beetles. Although the beetle photographing was not fruitful, my unintentional durian picking along the way when I was photographing the beetles gave not too bad results - 3 medium sized durians. Tasty too I must add. :)