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Saturday, 28 December 2013

Short Afternoon Walk At Venus Drive (28 Dec 2013)

I had a little free time in the afternoon so I decided to take a short walk at the Venus Drive trail. Instead of the usual trail that I take, I decided to take the other trail called the Tree Top Walk. I don't normally take this path as it is a rather busy trail as it leads to the Tree Top hanging bridge which is quite popular with Singaporeans and tourists. The chances of finding any beetles along the track is lesser due to the heavy human traffic. Nevertheless, I decided to give it a try again since it has been a long time I last walked the trail.

As expected, after having walked for 10-15 minutes I still didn't see any beetles until this tiny 2 mm beetle appeared on a leaf. In all honesty I was so tempted to turn back and go onto the usual trail that I know will surely have beetles even though it is in the afternoon or even after rain.

Moving on for a short while, I found a few of this Darkling Beetle on a moss laden tree.

After walking for another while before I come across a tree with 3 of this type of of beetle larvae.

By this time dark clouds started to gather above and it looked like it will start raining within minutes. Ever since the trip to Ang Mo Kio Town Garden West where I was drenched to the skin by a heavy downpour, I will always carry an umbrella with me in my camera bag. Since I have an umbrella I decided to continue and found this lovely metallic blue Leaf Beetle hanging on to a leaf that swayed violently in the strong wind.

The sky started to rain and I decide to turn back since the chances of finding beetles in the rain is almost zero. As I was walking back, I noticed a beetle was hiding under a leaf. Upon closer look I found this handsome 12 mm Net-winged Beetle (Taphes brevivollis), and so with one hand holding the umbrella and the other hand on the camera trigger, I managed to take a few nice macro of this lovely beetle. I must have looked really odd to all the people that passed by me since everyone is rushing to get out of the trail before the rain becomes even heavier.

While walking towards the exit, I was still looking out at the underside of all the plants that lined the trail. The efforts paid off when I found this 5 mm first-time-encountered Net-winged Beetle hiding under a leaf. It looked like a miniaturized version of the Taphes brevicollis Net-winged Beetle but upon closer examination  you can easily see the differences between the two (apart from the obvious size difference).

By now the rain was getting heavier and there were no signs that it would stop any time soon, so I picked up my paces towards the exit. Just as I was walking my sees caught sight of this beautiful Leaf Beetle (Astathes contentiosa) hiding from the rain under a leaf. This is the second time that I encountered this beetle. The last time I saw this beetle was during a failed trip at Pulau Ubin (a small island belonged to Singapore) where I got more mosquito bites than beetle photographs. In fact, I only managed to photograph 4 or 5 different beetles through out the entire day on the island. Anyway, I only noticed that the Leaf Beetle was actually feeding on some milky white liquid (possibly plant sap) when I was processing the photographs at home.

I was not expecting much from the trip as the trail is not known to have many beetle encounters, and coupled with the fact that it was in the afternoon made the chance of encountering beetles even slimmer, not mentioning the heavy rain. Despite all these,  I am happy that I was able to photograph a first-time-encountered Net-winged Beetle and to encounter the Astathes contentiosa Leaf Beetle for the second time.

Friday, 27 December 2013

Morning Walk At Venus Drive (27 Dec 2013)

The weather was slightly overcast but it looked like it will clear up pretty soon, so I decided to go to Venus Drive for some beetle actions after about two weeks since did my usual walks. The choice of Venus Drive is to be sure that I will find some beetles despite the weather condition. Just as I have expected the vegetation were very wet, probably due to the heavy rain the night before or may be even during dawn.

The first beetle that greeted me was a Spiny Leaf Beetle that was trying to hide from my camera flashes by hiding under a blade of grass.

Moving to the area where I would usually find Leaf Beetles, this Leaf Beetle (Lema diversa) was seen resting on a air potato leaf.

Near by to the Lema diversa Leaf Beetle was this lovely yellow colored Leaf Beetle (Lema rufotestacea). Interestingly I was not able to find any of the metallic blue Leaf Beetle (Lema cyanella).

Moving into the Venus Drive trail, this small 5 mm Net-winged Beetle. I usually find this type of beetle near to rotting logs as their food is probably the fungus that grew on the logs.

On a small bracket fungus growing on the rotting log was a hyper-active beetle larvae. It was pacing up and down the bracket fungus, making photographing it a challenge.

On another rotten log that showed signs of wild boar activities (part of the log was ripped off). Sadly, I found the remains of a few Bess Beetles (Aceraius grandis) which may the work of the wild boars.

Moving further down the trail, I noticed something moving on a leaf and found this interesting looking Weevil Beetle.

Coming to the usual clearing along the trail, I found a number of Episcapha quadrimacula Fungus Beetle feasting on the newly grown fungus mushrooms.

On another fallen tree log in the area was a group of this Handsome Fungus Beetle.

Moving quickly near to the Handsome Fungus Beetles was this small (~ 3 mm) lovely patterned Fungus Beetle.

On another tree log were a number of white fungus mushrooms and on them were a number of 2 mm Rove Beetles. This is a first-time-encountered beetle.

The clearing area is usually very fruitful in finding beetles but due to the rainy season, the number of mosquitoes have increased tremendously. Usually there are only one or two mosquitoes at the place but this time round they came out in swarms with me as a human buffet. The mosquitoes were too much for me to handle (as I usually don't use insect repellent on my walks) and I decided to move off quickly from the area.

Coming to a plant with what looked like an insect poo, I found this first-time-encountered Tumbling Flower Beetle.  It remained pretty still for me to photograph it.

Moving further down the trail, I came to a plant where I found several of this Leaf Beetle (Argopus brevis).

A surprise find was this bronze colored Leaf Beetle (Graphops curtipennis). It has been a while I last came across this beetle and hence my pleasant surprise when I encountered it today.

Near by on a fish-tail palm was this tiny 2 mm beetle. At a glance it looked like insect poo one would commonly find on leaves.

Moving to a rotten tree stump, several of this Fungus Beetle which looked very like the Episcapha quadrimacula Fungus Beetle, which differs in the shape of the hind yellow spots.

Not much of a surprise, I found this 3 mm beetle that one would usually find on leaves after rain.

The highlight of the trip was this small 3 mm first-time-encountered Ant-like Flower Beetle.

Moving on, I found this lovely Net-winged Beetle resting on a hairy leaf.

Near by to the Net-winged Beetle was a Tumbling Flower Beetle (Glipa malaccana) on a rattan plant leaf sunning itself.

Not too far down the trail was a 2 mm Ladybird Beetle (Scymnus kansanus).

At a shaded area of the trail, a lovely metallic blue Tiger Beetle was seen running up and down along a fallen tree.

On a tree nearby was this beautifully colored beetle larvae.

It was almost near the end of the trail that I found a number of this tiny 2 mm Fungus Beetles busying themselves on a moss cover tree trunk.

At the base of a tree, I found this small 3 mm beetle clinging on to a blade of grass. This is a first-time-encountered beetle. I do not know which family it belongs to.

Just when I was almost out of the Venus Drive trail, dark clouds started to gather overhead and it looked like it will rain any moments. Not wanting to miss out any other beetles, I decided to check out a small patch of low grass bushes even though it was about to rain. I am glad that I made the detour as I managed to find this pretty orange colored Net-winged Beetle. Just when I am done photographing the beetle, the rain drops started to fall and thus ended my Venus Drive trip.

The trip was very fruitful with 4 first-time-encountered beetles even though it was after a heavy rain.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Short Morning Trip At The River Safari (24 Dec 2013)

Today marks the one-year anniversary of my Beetles@SG blog. 

I started photographing and blogging about Singapore beetles in last December (2012) with the intention of providing a place where beetles from Singapore can be identified and showcased. I am glad to report that through this year, I managed to photograph about 370 different beetles, with about 130 identified. Hopefully I will be able to find more beetles to add to the number in 2014.

Coming back, this was my office's Christmas Celebration cum Family Day outing, and it happened to be at the latest Singapore tourists attraction - River Safari. It is Asia's first and only river-themed wildlife park, and it is located next to the Singapore Zoo. This is also the place where the Giant Panda (Kai Kai and Jia Jia) are exhibited in Singapore.

I was looking forward to this trip to the River Safari mainly because I was told by a fellow macro-photographer that at a nearby location I can find the Leaf-rolling Weevil Beetle which I have been wanting to photograph for a long while. I purposely reach the place slightly earlier than the supposed meeting time to see if I can catch some beetles in actions before the outing.

The first beetle that came into view was a surprisingly small  first-time-encountered Net-winged Beetle. It is about 3 mm and was resting on a grass seed pod. This was the smallest Net-winged Beetle that I have ever encountered.
[After-note: Upon closer examination of the photograph, the beetle does not seemed to be a Net-winged Beetle. It may be a Soldier Beetle.]

Near to the small Net-winged Beetle was a row of newly planted plants, and on them were a number of this 5 mm Leaf Beetle (Aulacophora frontalis). This particular type of beetle seemed to have taken a liking to these plants.

On one of the plants I also found a slightly fatter beetle that I thought was a pregnant female of the Aulacophora frontalis Leaf Beetle, so I just casually took a few of its photograph since my time there was short and  I have already taken quite a number of them. Only when I was going through the photographs at home that I noticed that it is not the same type of Leaf Beetle as I initially thought. It is a first-time-encountered Leaf Beetle. It looked very much like the Aulacophora lewisii Leaf Beetle but differs in its darker orange coloration and its legs are completely black in color.

As there was not much 'wild' vegetation in the park, I started to examine some of the planted creepers that lined the board-walk throughout the park. To my pleasant surprise, I found several tiny Ladybird Beetles hiding under the foliage of the creepers. The first was this first-time-encountered tiny (2 mm) Ladybird Beetles was this Scymnus rubricaudus Ladybird Beetle.

Further down the boardwalk was this 1 mm tiny beetle. It looked like it belongs to the Ladybird Beetle family.

At this point of the trip, just when I was feeling like I am scraping the bottom of the barrel to find beetles, I found this beetle larvae resting motionlessly underneath a leaf. This got me excited that I may find some beetles around but it was not to be so.

Nevertheless I moved on and found this first-time-encountered tiny 2 mm Ladybird Beetle. I initially did not know that it is a different type of beetle from the earlier Scymnus rubricaudus Ladybird Beetle due to the similar coloration and general pattern of these two beetles. Only upon closer examination that I found it to be different.

The last type of beetle was this tiny 2 mm Ladybird Beetle (Cryptogonus orbiculus). Many of this were found among the leaves of the bamboo plants that were planted all over the park, probably for the precious Giant Panda or just as a theme to remind visitors of the Giant Panda's presence.

The trip was a short but surprisingly fruitful one as I found 4 first-time-encountered beetles out of the limited number of beetles encountered. Sadly I was not able to find the Leaf-rolling Beetle as the location that I was told probably had a makeover as all the plants at the location were all bamboo plants.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Morning Walk At Dairy Farm Nature Reserve (18 Dec 2013)

I am now on holiday in Cairns-Australia, enjoying the sun and nature at almost the same temperature as in Singapore, minus the humidity.

I am taking the opportunity of a free WIFI access on a cruise to do the update as Singtel has for some reasons messed up my data roaming access in Australia. Gave up calling from Australia to Singapore Singtel support as it only solved my data roaming for one day and the service stopped.

Anyway here is a trip that I have saved for rainy days, now taking it out to share with all who have been following my blog on a weekly basis. This is a morning trip to the Dairy Farm Nature Park.

The first beetle that came into view was this pair of Spiny Leaf Beetle (Dicladispa armigera) found at a wild bush area near to the carpark area.

The next critter that appear was this beetle larvae that is commonly seen on tree trunks.

The next beetle was a small 3 mm beetle commonly seen after rain.

Near to the small beetle was a Checkered Beetle that looked very much like an insect poo at a glance.

Moving along I came across this Fungus Beetle (Eumorphus politus) resting on a broken palm leaf.

Coming to some newly felled trees, I found a number of beetles roaming about the tree trunks. On one of the tree trunks was this hyper active Checker Beetle which took a bit of my patience waiting for it to stop for some macro shots.

On another tree trunk was a metallic green Tiger Beetle. It is one of my favorite Tiger Beetles, but sadly I am still not ableto identify this Beetle.

Some more beetles on the fallen trees anf this time was a Fungus Beetle (Eumorphus quadrigutatus).

Moving further into a shaded part of the trail, a small 3 mm Click Beetle was found restIng on a leaf.

Coming to a rotting tree trunk, a Handsome Fungus Beetle was found clinging onto a bracket fungus.

Near by to the Handsome Fungus Beetle was another Fungus Beetle (Eumorphus tetraspilotus).

An interesting find for the day was this mating pair of Leaf Beetle (Callispa dimidiatipennis) underneath a blade of palm leaf.

Moving on to a big tree, I found several small 2-3 mm Fungus Beetles.

More Fungus Beetle (Beccariola coccinella) on the same tree.

Moving further into the trail, I found another of my favorite Leaf Beetle feeding on a leaf.

An interesting find further down was this Soldier Beetle (Crudosilis ruficollis).

Near to the Soldier Beetle was this lovely tiny 2 mm beetle.

Coming to a sandy area, a few Tiger Beetles (Cicindela aurulenta) were basking in found warm morning sun.

Moving back to a shaded area, a Net-winged Beetle (Dictyoptera aurora) was resting on a leaf. It is always exciting to see this brightly colored beetle.

A surprised find was this Chafer Beetle which are seldom seen in the day time.

The highlight of the trip was finding this first-time-encountered Tiger Beetle. Please pardon the poorly taken photograph as it was shot using my older camera which has much lower resolution.

The next beetle that appeared was a Fungus Beetle (Triplax rufipes).

Flying around the bushes was this Tiger Beetle (Therates dimidiatus) which proofed to be a challenge to photograph due to its constant movements and hyper sensitivity to movements.

The last beetle that I encountered on this trip was a Darkling Beetle. It was a surprise as this type of beetle is usually encountered in the night, and more interestingly it was found on the wall of the Visitor Centre.

The  trip was interesting with the number of beetles found, especially the first-time-encountered Tiger Beetle.