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Saturday, 22 February 2014

Night Walk At Venus Drive (21 Feb 2014)

My friend and I decided to go to Venus Drive for night shoot as the chances of finding beetles and other critters are much higher compared to the other places, especially since the weather has been very dry for the past few weeks.

The first beetle that came into view was a Chafer Beetle (Apogonia expeditionis).

On the same tree was a Fungus Weevil and it was a surprise find as you would usually find this type of beetle on rotting logs and not on a leaf. I wondered if this has to do with the exceptionally dry weather.

Moving on, I found another Chafer Beetle (Apogonia aequabilis) clinging on to a blade of grass. It was a bit of a challenge to photograph this beetle as the wind was blowing rather strongly then.

Near to the Chafer Beetle was this Leaf Beetle that I totally missed until my friend spotted it. It blended very well into the leaves that it was resting on.

We reached the spot where we would usually find dozens of Fungus Beetles and Rove Beetles, but for this trip none was found except for this shiny Darkling Beetle. Noticed that the place is so dry that even the large bracket fungus that this beetle was on was showing crack lines. I was crossing my finger that this will not be the same for the rest of the trip.

Moving to a tree, I was glad to find this shiny beetle hiding at the base of a tree, still having some green mosses growing on it.

On another tree was this tiny 1 mm Fungus Beetle foraging among the dead mosses. Hope the dry weather don't kill off all these lovely beetles.

On the same tree was a first-time-encountered Fungus Beetle. I also missed it since it looked the same as the above beetle through the naked eyes. Only when I zoomed in that I realized that it is a different type of Fungus Beetle.

All the fallen logs that were usually moist were all bone dry. All the Fungus Beetles that we would usually encounter on these fallen logs were no where to be found. Only after some searching that I managed to find this commonly encountered Fungus Beetle.

Moving deeper into the foliage or what remain of them, I was glad to find a colony of this black color Darkling Beetles. Hope they survive the dry weather as the log that they were on is also slowly drying and the fungus mushrooms that they eat were no where to be found. Guessed that it is not the dry weather that is making the Fungus Beetles scarce but rather it is the lack of fungus mushrooms that is making them so scarce.

On a tree trunk, I found these beetles in a small depression on the tree bark. The larger beetle is a Fungus Beetle (Eumorphus quadriguttatus) and the smaller one looked like a Darkling Beetle.

On another dried up log was this big 20 mm Fungus Weevil (Stiboderes impressus) which popped up from no where, as if it wanted to be photographed.

On the same log were a number of this small 4 mm Ground Beetles (Pericalus tetrastigma).

On another part of this log was this well camouflaged Long Horned Beetle (Coptops annulipes).

Hiding on the underside a dried up fallen log was this Ground Beetle (Coptodera marginata) and a really tiny first-time-encountered Click Beetle. Owing to the awkward position of the beetles, I was not able to get a good shot of the Click Beetle.

On another log was this Darkling Beetle (Cryphaeus gazelle). It has been a while that I encounter this beetle and it was definitely a welcome sight, especially in such dry condition.

Staying motionless nearby on the same log was this Weevil Beetle, which blended perfectly into the background with its texture and color. This is another first-time-encountered beetle.

After some searching, we finally came across this Handsome Fungus Beetle resting on a dry log. Sadly this is the only Handsome Fungus Beetle that we encountered for this trip.

Another well camouflaged beetle resting on a tree log.

More Ground Beetles were found and this one is the Catascopus dalbertisi, which is one of the very first Ground Beetle I encountered when I started photographing Singapore beetles. Thanks to the twin flash that I am using, the metallic color of this Ground Beetle can be seen clearly.

The time was running short and we decided to pick up the pace and look for the "snow tree". I am curious what other beetles would be found on it since the last afternoon trip I managed to find some interesting looking beetles.

On the way to the "snow tree", we came across a tree stump and found the highlight of the trip - a Bess Beetle (Aceraius grandis). This is one of larger beetles that one can find in Singapore. It is about 35 - 40 mm in size.

We finally came to the "snow tree" after some walking and resisting the temptation of stopping along the way. The first beetle that caught my eyes was this lovely patterned FungusWeevil.

At the base of the "snow tree" was a large patch of black fungus which still seemed to be alive. This has attracted many Rove Beetles to it. The best part is that I found many of the Rove Beetle were resting on the fungus patch, possibly feeding of the fungus. I was so glad that I can have opportunity to photograph them as they were almost impossible to photograph as they were running very quickly in other occasions.

Attracted to the black fungus patch was another Fungus Beetle.

On the same "snow tree" was this tiny 1 mm beetle. This possibly is a Fungus Beetle.

On another part of the tree was this Fungus Beetle. So glad to see this as the sighting of them has became a rare thing during this dry weather.

A lone Fungus Beetle was resting motionlessly on the tree trunk.

The surprise encounter of the trip was this beautifully colored first-time-encountered Darkling Beetle.

It was about time to turn back and on the way towards the exit, I found this big-bum Chafer Beetle (Phyllophaga marginalis).

An unintentional find was this first-time-encountered Leaf Beetle. We were photographing a caterpillar when we chanced upon this Leaf Beetle. It is so amazing to be find different Leaf Beetle each time we visit Venus Drive. Guessed that this is also one of the reasons why I kept coming back to this place.

The last beetle for the trip was this big Ground Beetle (Onypterygia longispinis). At a quick glance it really looked like a cockroach.

The trip was surprisingly fruitful despite the dry weather. I am glad that we have chosen this place for the night.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Short Afternoon Walk At Venus Drive (15 Feb 2014)

The afternoon weather was dry like bone unlike what was forecasted by the weatherman, so I decided to take quick walk in the late afternoon at Venus Drive. The place has not been receiving any rain as can be seen from all the dead fallen leaves that littered the ground.

The first beetle that came Into view was a pair of small 2 mm Leaf Beetle (Eucyclomera nigericollis) on a about-to-dry-up plant.

The place was bone dry and no beetles was spotted after walking for a good 10 minutes. Coming to a rotten log, several of this attractive Net-winged Beetle were found resting in the shade.

On a nearby tree wss a beetle larvae. As usual no adult beetles were in sight with the beetle larvae.

After walking for another 15 min without seeing any beetle, this 6 mm Darkling Beetle is a welcomed sight. Notice also the dead mosses which showed the severity of the dry weather.

Moving beyond the clearing, which surprisingly I didn't find any beetle this time round, I came to the "Snow Tree". I was pleasantly surprised to find several Checkered Beetle. At the place I found six first-time-encountered beetle.

Here's one of the three first-time-encourtered Checkered Beetle.

Here's another first-time-encountered Checkered Beetle.

The last of the three first-time-encountered Checkered Beetle.

A large group of this interesting looking beetle larvae were seen feasting on a patch of black fungus growing on the "Snow Tree" stump.

A first-time-encourtered Fungus Weevil was seen resting on the tree stump. This beetle remained pretty still throughout the entire photography session.

On the same stump, several of this interestingly shaped and colored Fungus Beetle.

Among the above Fungus Beetle was a really tiny (1 mm) first-time-encountered beetle. This is possibly a Fungus Beetle.

On another part of the tree stump were these two first-time-encountered beetle. I didn't notice the small beetle in the background until i was processing the photographs.

Moving on a little before turning back to leave, a Leaf Beetle (Argopus brevis) was found resting on a half eaten leaf.

At the exit, a Leaf Beetle (Lema diversa) was seen resting on a leaf.

The last beetle of the trip was another first-time-encountered beetle. It looks like a Hister Beetle. This is to be identified.

Although the trip was short and the number of beetles encountered was limited, the trip was fruitful as there was a good number of first-time-encountered beetles.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Night Walk At Lorong Halus (07 Feb 2014)

For this trip I decided to go to the Lorong Halus Wetland as I have not been to the place at night before. At the same time, I also wanted to try out the twin flash that I bought on-line recently.  After having tried out the extension tube with my Tamron AF70-300 mm lens previously, I decided to put everything together and test all of them out together. Although this works well together, the weight of the entire set up is a little heavy to my liking.

The weather was dry as it has not rained for almost a month. Plants and grass were turning brown and can been seen in many parts of Singapore. At Lorong Halus, what used to be lush green bushes and plants were now brown and dying, with many brown dead leaves lined the path. Thankfully while I am writing this blog, the sky darkened and started to rain heavily. Hopefully this heavy rain will bring back the lush greenery that we have taken for granted in what we called ourselves as City in a Garden, Singapore.

The place was bone dry even though it is just next to the Punggol-Serangoon Reservoir. This gave me a bad feeling that the trip will not be a fruitful one. The first beetle that greeted me was a 3 mm Fungus Beetle.

Near to the Fungus Beetle was a lone Darkling Beetle which turned out to be a first-time-encountered beetle. This beetle is different from the commonly encountered Darkling Beetle in that it has a much longer body (elytra).

Moving to a small mud puddle (which I remembered it to be a large pool of water when I last visited the place), several of this first-time-encountered Water Beetle were seen swimming in their fast dwindling watery home.

The next beetle was a tiny Fungus Beetle that is less than 2 mm in size.

The highlight of the trip was finding several of this 10 mm first-time-encountered Firefly Beetle (Pteroptyx valida). This is an easy beetle to locate in the dark due to its blinking greenish-yellow at its abdomen.

Nearing the end of the trail, several of this commonly encountered Chafer Beetle (Apogonia expeditionis) were seen on the Water Sensitive Plant (Neptunia natans). Notice the chew marks on the leaf?

On a tree were several pupae which looked like the earlier Fungus Beetle.

Just before I exit the trail, this Soldier Beetle (Crudosilis ruficollis) was seen resting on a blade of grass. It was a welcomed sight as the number of beetles encountered during this trip was really very low.

This trip was not very fruitful given the number of beetles encountered, but having three first-time-encountered beetles make the trip worth the while.