Beetle@SG Website

Please check out my website Beetles@SG for identification of beetles found in Singapore

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Short Walk At Venus Drive (26 Jul 2014)

After seeing the results of the tweaked DIY diffuser the day before, I did some adjustments to the rig and this is how it looked like.

To test out the tweaked DIY diffuser, I decided to go to Venus Drive as I will have a greater chance of finding beetles there.

The first beetle that I encountered was this Ant-like Flower Beetle (Anthelephila cyanea). This photograph was taken will one hand holding the leaf and the other hand snapping the photograph.

It was strange that I didn't encounter any Leaf Beetle at the grass patch near to the entrance of the Venus Loop. I usually would find at least three types of Leaf Beetle around this grass patch. Nevertheless, I proceeded into the Venus Loop entrance, and just a stone's throw from the entrance was this Net-winged Beetle (Taphes brevicollis) hidding under a leaf. I don't particularly like photographing beetles under leaves because of the sometimes odd-ward angle required to photograph the critter.

I was rather disappointed that between the entrance to the "clearing", I only found the above Net-winged Beetle. Shortly I came to the "clearing" area that I mentioned several times in my blog. I was surprised to find the place looked different. Recall that I commented that the place was a misnomer then since the clearing area was overgrown by creepers. Interestingly, a large portion of the ground creepers were dead, thus revealing the "clearing" that I am familiar before.

The first beetle that I encountered at the "clearing" was a Fungus Beetle (Stenotarsus pardalis). I am still getting used to the shallower depth-of-focus because of the larger aperture setting (F5.0) as compared to my previous aperture setting of F11.

On one of the (now) exposed tree logs,  a lone Darkling Beetle was happily munching on its breakfast of fungus growing on the log.

Moving deeper into the "clearing", a wasp-like insect lands on a low bush right in front of me. Initially I thought that it was a wasp but later I realised that it was a Tumbling Flower Beetle (Mordella fasciata).

Near to the Tumbling Flower Beetle was this lovely Ladybird Beetle (Henosepilachna implicata).

Just directly above the Ladybird Beetle was a metallic blue color Leaf Beetle.

Just while I photographing the Leaf Beetle, I saw at the corner of my eyes something landed on my DIY diffuser. (Photo taken with my Samsung Galaxy S5)

Here's a close-up of the Tumbling Flower Beetle (Glipa malaccana) that landed on the foam of my DIY diffuser.

After the above, I found another Tumbling Flower Beetle (Glipa malaccana) near by.

Moving deeper into the "clearing", I found a Click Beetle that looked very much like a seed pod.

Still in the "clearing", I came across a patch of white fungus growing on a fallen tree. On the white fungus were several Fungus Beetles.

Also on the same white fungus was a tiny (~1 mm)  first-time-encountered beetle. Not too sure what family it belongs to, but it looked like a Fungus Weevil.

After having spent a while at the "clearing", I decided to move on. Not too far down the trail was a place with several large chopped tree. I was so glad to find a Jewel Beetle (Belionota prasina) on it.

Here's a photograph of the place, with the Belionota prasina Jewel Beetle circled.

A closer shot using my Samsung Galaxy S5. Comparing this "zoomed" photograph with the close up shot of the Jewel Beetle above,  the advantage of using a DSLR zoom-lens was so obvious.

Moving further down the path, a Soldier Beetle was seen flying around another chopped tree.

It was almost time for me to go and so I picked up my paces. Just as I hurried through the rest of the Venus Loop trail, I came across this small 2 mm Leaf Beetle.

As I passed by the "Snow Tree 2", I was surprised to find another Belionota prasina Jewel Beetle, but this time round it was just about 1 meter from me. It is wonderful to be so close to this beetle.

The last beetle for this short trip was a hairy beetle that was clinging to the tip of a blade of grass that sway violently in the wind.

Although this was a short trip, the result was very good as I get to test out the tweaked DIY diffuser and at the same time, encounter a few first-time-encountered beetles. I have been avoiding using manual focus due to my hyperopia or farsightedness. But from the test results of this trip (which uses manual focus), I would probably need to redesign the DIY diffuser to allow me to make use of the auto-focus feature of my camera in order for sharper photographs to be taken. 

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Long Walk At Central Catchment Park Connectors (25 Jul 2014)

My friend and I decided to take a day leave and explore the Central Catchment Park Connector or better known as Mandai Track 15. This trip will take us from the entrance at Mandai Road, passing along Gangsa Track, passing by Zheng Hua Park and  all the way to Dairy Farm Nature Park.

The first beetle found was a commonly seen Leaf Beetle (Lema diversa). The morning temperature was already pretty high so the beetles were pretty active even though we are at the place pretty early.

Near to the Lema diversa Leaf Beetle was another Leaf Beetle (Hoplasoma unicolor). This is one of the hardest Leaf Beetle to photograph as it is super sensitive to movements and would fly off at the slightest movement. It took me a while to get some proper shots of this beetle.

The starting part of the trail seemed disappointing as there were not many insects around, let alone beetles. I was so glad to have found this 3 mm Fungus Beetle (Triplax rufipes) on a fungus invested leaf.

Moving further down the trail, another Leaf Beetle was found hiding in the groove of a plant stem.

Another Leaf Beetle was found after another 10 of minutes walking. This is one of my favorite Leaf Beetle as it looks like agar-agar.

The walk was pretty slow as we were trying to be thorough in finding beetles since the place was a bit "sterile".  I spotted a 5 mm Leaf Beetle hiding at the base of a dead plant. Due to the odd angle, I was not able to get a good shot of the beetle, but nevertheless I have included it here as a record of the trip.

The walk was getting a little boring as there were not many beetles or insects along the trail. I was so glad to photograph this Leaf Beetle (Aulacophora frontalis) when my friend spotted it on a small plant.

On a leaf was a small 3 mm Tumbling Flower Beetle. This beetle was interestingly still despite me photographing it for a while. Pardon the slightly blur image as I am still trying to get use to the manual focusing with the DIY diffuser.

Moving into a patch of tall grass, a Spiny Leaf Beetle (Dicladispa armigera) was spotted on a blade of grass.

Passing near an open area, we found a piece of tree branch with some white fungus growing on it, and on the fungus were several of this lovely Fungus Beetle.

The walk was getting boring as the number of beetles found so far was miserable. I started to wonder if we should do this trail again. Anyway, the next beetle encountered was another of my favorite Leaf Beetle.

We later came to an area where there were several dead coconut trees, with their trunks overgrown with bracket fungus. On one of the tree trunk was this first-time-encountered Fungus Weevil.

The encounter with the first-time-encountered Fungus Weevil brought some enthusiasm back to the walk and we continued with trip. Just as we were walking along the trail, a large beetle flew across our path and we tracked it to a large leaf on a tree. It turned out to be a Long Horned Beetle (Anancylus griseatus).

Passing along a patch of heliconia plants, I was surprised to find a beetle larvae on one of the leaves. It is odd to find beetle larvae among heliconia as the plant is not the usual food plant for this type of beetle larvae.

While walking along a shaded area, a big beetle flew by and we trailed it to some dead litters in the bushes. The beetle was so well camouflaged that we were not able to find it, instead we found a small 5 mm Fungus Weevil on a branch nearby.

After the not so fruitful walk along Track 15, we finally reached the Gangsa Track entrance where we decided to break for lunch. Just at the location that we were having our lunch, a 5 mm Darkling Beetle was crawling up and down the tree trunk behind us.

The walk was getting really boring as we were not able to find any beetles for a while along the Gangsa Track. We reached a stretch of the trail that has huge Simpoh Air plants on both sides of the path. It was not a good sign as I seldom find any beetles among Simpoh Air plants, nevertheless we still try hard to look out for beetles. Our hard work paid off with the finding of these first-time-encountered Leaf Beetles.

We were still in the Simpoh Air stretch of the trail and we found a rotting tree stump. On it were a number of bracket fungus and a first-time-encountered Rove Beetle.

On another side of the tree stump was a Fungus Beetle (Eumorphus tetraspilotus)  hiding under a bracket fungus.

Heading towards the Bukit Panjang exit, I found a Flea Beetle hiding in the fold of a leaf.

Just as we about to reach the Bukit Panjang exit,  we found a rotten tree trunk with a Darkling Beetle with a damaged elytra on it.

Not wanting to miss out any beetles, we checked out everything that looked like a beetle. Here on some palm leaves was what looked like an insect poo, but it turned out to be a Weevil Beetle.

As we reached the Bukit Panjang exit, we decided to take a break and go towards "civilisation" of the Bukit Panjang Town for some much needed cold drinks. We continued with our journey at the Dairy Farm Nature Park. As we were moving towards the Dairy Farm Nature Park, I decided to tweak my DIY diffuser since the results of the earlier shooting was not very satisfying.

Upon reaching the Dairy Farm Nature Farm, the first beetle encountered was a small Ladybird Beetle (Cryptogonus orbiculus). The tweaked DIY diffuser seemed to work better.

We journeyed into the Wallace Trail but it was a disappointing move as the trail was in bad need of repairs. Several huge fallen trees blocked the walking path and some parts were almost not passable. Not sure why NParks didn't do anything to clear the path of fallen trees as they are accidents waiting to happen.

It is sad to see such a nice park that was officially opened in September 2009, deteriorated so badly in less than 5 years. Sadly, a large section of the trail was closed for a while already without any signs of repair works being done. The only works that I saw was a NO-ENTRY sign erected at the closed section and the removal of a collapsed bridge over a ravine.

Anyway, back to the trip. Just when I was about to clear a fallen tree "obstacle course", a Tiger Beetle (Cicindela chrysippe) appeared right in front of me on a leaf. The tweaked diffuser seemed to work really well given that the pattern on this highly reflective beetle can still be seen.

Even after clearing all the fallen tree obstacles, we were not able to find any more beetles on the Wallace Trail (or what remained of it). All were not lost as from my past experience of this place, there is one place that I would find at least one or two beetles - the Wallace Education Centre. Here's a lovely colored Long Horned Beetle (Coptops annulipes) found at the Wallace Education Centre.

As our trip at the Dairy Farm Nature Park was shorter than expected, we decided to take a short trail walk to the MOE Dairy Farm Adventure Centre. Just before we set off, we found a Ant-like Flower Beetle under a big leaf. Pardon the slightly out of focus photograph as I was holding the big leaf with my left hand and trying to photograph the beetle with manual focus.

The walk to MOE Dairy Farm Adventure Centre was not very fruitful, with only a few beetles found. The last beetle for the trip was a Ladybird Beetle (Henosepilachna implicata).

Even though there were a number of beetles encountered in the trip, it was not particularly fruitful given the long hours that we put in. Reflecting on this trip and the last full-day trip, we came to the conclusion that we will not do such full-day trips any more as the afternoon of both trips were not fruitful at all.