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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.