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Saturday, 1 March 2014

Morning Walk At Venus Drive (01 March 2014)

After the dismal trip the night before I decided to go to Venus Drive in the morning. Venus Drive was chosen  as it has a much higher chance of finding beetles despite the dry weather. It has not been raining for more than a month and this can be seen from all the brown dead leaves that litter the Venus Drive trail.

I was rather worried at the start of the walk as all the usual spots where I would find diurnal beetles yielded no beetles as the vegetation were dry and dying. I was really concerned that this trip would be like the night before trip. It was pretty "amazing" that I didn't come across any beetle until I reached the clearing that I usually visit.

The first beetle that greeted me was a first-time-encountered hairy Leaf Beetle. It is about 15 mm in size and is considered relatively large compared to all the Leaf Beetles that I have encountered. The encounter brought back some hope that the trip may not be a washout after all.

The next beetle was a small bronze-colored Leaf Beetle (Graphops curtipennis) on a near by plant. It was resting motionlessly on a leaf, probably trying to conserve energy in this exceptionally dry environment.

The next beetle was another first-time-encountered Ladybird Beetle. It is about 2 mm in size and it was hiding under the shade of another leaf.

Given the poor start of the trip, I was exceptionally thorough and slow in sweeping the place for beetles than usual. Even when I was sweeping the place at almost half the speed of what I used to do, beetles were nowhere to be found.

My heart leaped when I spotted this bright orange Ladybird Beetle (Chilocorus circumdatus) on a Simpoh Air leaf.

At the base of a shaded tree was this Fungus Weevil resting from the heat of the sun. This is a first-time-encountered Fungus Weevil.

Flying around the place were several of this Tumbling Flower Beetle (Glipa malaccana). This beetle was very hyperactive, probably due to the hot and dry weather.

A surprise encounter was this Tumbling Flower Beetle (Mordella fasciata). This is only the third or fourth time that I encounter this beetle.

Still in the vicinity of the clearing, another first-time-encountered Fungus Weevil was seen resting on the base of another tree.

Yet another first-time-encountered Fungus Weevil resting at the base of another tree. I am so glad to find so many first-time-encountered Fungus Weevil at one place.

Just when I was about to leave the clearing, another Fungus Weevil was seen clinging to the side of a tree.

Moving further into the trail, I finally found a commonly encountered Leaf Beetle resting on a leaf. On normal days, one can easily find different types of Leaf Beetle all around Venus Drive. Sadly for this trip, this is the only one that I found. The other commonly seen Leaf Beetles such as the Lema diversa were nowhere to be found.

After having walked for about 10 minutes without encountering any other beetles, this beetle larvae was a welcomed sight. In fact, ever since this dry weather started I noticed that the number of beetle larvae encountered has plummeted steeply. This is the only beetle larvae that I seen throughout the entire 4 hours walk.

On a saw dust covered tree was this dusty Fungus Beetle (Episcapha quadrimacula). This tree looked very much like the "snow tree" but differs in the amount of wood dust it threw out from its trunk. The wood dust is likely the handiwork of wood boring beetles.

The highlight of the trip came unexpectedly while I was looking around a patch of sparse trees. This large 20 mm Jewel Beetle was seen moving hyper-actively on a bare tree that had all its leaves dropped. This is a first-time-encountered beetle. This is also the first time that I came across a Jewel Beetle in Singapore that is so big. The Jewel Beetles that I usually encountered are very small, usually about 3-5 mm in size.

Such large size Jewel Beetles are rather rare in Singapore nowadays and I am indeed glad to have this opportunity to come face to face with it. In fact, I am so glad to be able to find 3 of this large Jewel Beetle during the trip.

On the same tree where the Jewel Beetle was feeding were several different sizes Checkered Beetle.

After encountering the Jewel Beetle, it was almost time for me to leave. Just then I found this Long Horned Beetle (Thranius bimaculatus) resting calmly on a leaf next to the path. I particularly like this Long Horned Beetle as it is not easily spooked and would remain very still for me to take photographs, even if the camera flash were flashing away.

Coming to the remains of the "snow tree", I only found this small 3 mm Fungus Beetle resting on top of a dried bracket fungus.

My time at the place was almost up and while I was walking briskly towards the exit, I saw a slight movement on a tree trunk and found this first-time-encountered Fungus Weevil.

Coming to a fallen log near to the exit, I found several of this metallic green Tiger Beetle (Cicindela chrysippe).

Near to the Tiger Beetle was this hyperactive Fungus Weevil which only allowed me one shot of itself before flying away. I am not able to see if this is a first-time-encountered beetle given this is the only shot of the beetle. This also marked the end of this trip since this is the last beetle that I found before leaving the place.

The trip was surprisingly fruitful, especially the encounter with the large Jewel Beetle. Although the number of first-time-encountered was high, I am concerned that the dry weather will claim even more beetles. Let's pray that the sky will rain soon.