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Friday, 17 January 2014

Night Walk on the Wilder Side of Yio Chu Kang Road (17 Jan 2014)

I have been testing out a DIY flash diffuser for my external flash for the past few days at home and was looking forward to going into the field to test it out. The weather was wonderful and I decided to go to Venus Drive to do the field test since the chances of finding beetles at Venus Drive is relatively higher than the other locations.

As I was travelling towards Venus Drive on a public bus, my eyes caught sight of the relatively wild looking vegetation that was along the Yio Chu Kang road. This is the edge of the army training area and there are many signs reminding people that it is a restricted area. The Yio Chu Kang road is the usual road that I would travel on to go to Venus Drive and each time I pass by this stretch of the road, I would wonder if there are any beetles to be found.

As the bus traveled along the road, I decided to change my destination and alighted from the bus just after the end of the wild vegetation area. The distance from where I alighted to the start of the wild side of Yio Chu Kang road is about 200 meters. As I was walking towards my destination, I came across a large patch of morning glory plants. I was very hopeful when I saw the morning glory plants as I have been wanting to get some good photographs of Tortoise Beetle which can usually be found among morning glory plants. Sadly after searching high and low for beetles among the morning glory plants, not a single Tortoise Beetle was found.

When I reached the place where the wild vegetation ends, the first beetle that came into my view finder was this commonly encountered Chafer Beetle (Apogonia expeditionis).

Not too far from the Apogonia expeditionis Chafer Beetle was this Leaf Beetle (Phydanis bicolor). It was having its dinner under a leaf.

Further down the road, I found this Chafer Beetle which looked like the Apogonia expeditionis, except for the dark-brown elytra. With a quick glance one would misidentify the beetle since the color is very close to black.

A surprise find was this Leaf Beetle (Lema diversa) as I have not come across this beetle in the night despite many night sessions that I made.

The trip started off promising with several beetles found within a small stretch of the Yio Chu Kang road, but it was short lived as after walking for 15 minutes and I still didn't find any other beetles. Interestingly, I found 2 newly hatched Painted Bronzeback snakes resting on some vegetation instead.

Just when I was about to give up, I accidentally found a trail left behind by durian pickers. Without any hesitation I walk into the path. This path is pretty long and there were a number of fallen trees. This is where the highlight of the night came in. On a rotten tree stump were several of this Fungus Beetle (Stenotarsus nobilis [nobilis]).

This was the second time that I encountered this type of beetle.  The first time I encountered it was in February 2013 where I was walking the Mandai Track 15 ( ). I was not able to get a good photograph of this beetle then. I am so glad to be able to find this beetle tonight as I have been search for this beetle since February 2013.

Moving deeper into the path, another surprise encounter - a Fungus Beetle (Amblyopus vittatus) was resting on a leaf, motionless even though I was photographing it with a series of light flashes.

Time flies and it was about time to go home, just then I found a small 2 mm Fungus Beetle.

Just before I exited from the path, a small (5 mm) Darkling Beetle was seen motionless on a small tree.

The trip was not very fruitful with only a handful of beetles found, despite walking for such a long distance.Nevertheless, the encounter with the Stenotarsus nobilis has made the trip worth the while.