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Sunday, 31 August 2014

Early Morning Walk At Venus Drive (30 Aug 2014)

I didn't blog last week as I was away for a few days with a few friends to Cameron Highlands in West Malaysia. The place has changed much due to commercial development and sadly, it was not as cool as I was there previously. It was meant to be a relaxation trip and so I was not intending to do any serious beetle shooting. 

Anyway, it rained for the two nights that we were there and hence there were not too many beetles encountered. At the same time, I was disappointed to find that all the common places that I usually found beetles in Cameron Highlands were 'lost' to redevelopment or development of new attractions. Notwithstanding the changes, I still managed to find a few interesting beetles there. Here's a photograph of one of the beetles that I  found, a 30 mm Stag Beetle (Cyclommatus phahangensis). 

Interestingly, I read in the Singapore Biodiversity book that there were at least 10 species of Lucanidae recorded in Singapore. It surprised me to read this as I always thought that there are no Stag Beetles in Singapore. The knowledge of Stag Beetles can be found in Singapore excited me a bit and I planned to go for a night shoot on Friday night. My plan was dashed by a sudden thunderstorm moments before I left my place and so I decided to go to Venus Drive early in the morning. This is the first time that I do macro photographing so early in the morning and I did not know what to expect. I reached the place at about 6.15 am and the place was still very dark and wet from the heavy rain the night before.

Here's a photograph of a seldom encountered inhabitant of our reservoirs and nature reserves - a Red Jungle Fowl (Gallus gallus) that I was fortunate enough to encounter it at Venus Drive. For those who are not aware, it is a rare sight nowadays to see fowls (domesticated or wild) in Singapore after the 2005 ban on keeping live poultry in Singapore as one of the precautionary measures against the avian influenza in Asia. The only place that you can find fowls is at the Singapore Zoo.

The first beetle that I encountered at the place was this beetle of the Ceratocanthidae Family.

Near to the beetle was this commonly encountered Darkling Beetle.

Searching through the wet foliage, I found this wet Fungus Beetle clinging to the side of a rotting log.

On another tree log near by was another familiar Fungus Beetle (Eumorphus assamensis). This type of  beetle used to be very commonly encountered but was not so after the super dry season in February this year. Am glad to increasingly find them during my night walks.

Moving further down, I found several Fungus Beetle (Eumorphus quadriguttatus quadriguttatus) on a log and one on a leaf nearby. I usually would choose the ones on leave as they give better color contrast.

On the same log were several of this beetle larvae.

Time passes quickly and the sky began to brighten up. Just then a Tiger Beetle (Cicindela aurulenta) flew past and landed on a plant with this odd looking pose.

The next beetle was a Ladybird Beetle that I would intentionally search out whenever I am at Venus Drive.

Near to the Ladybird Beetle was a tiny 2 mm Leaf Beetle (Eucyclomera nigricollis). The interesting thing I noticed about photographing beetles in the early morning is that they are not as skittish or active as they are later part of the day. This beetle remained motionless when I photographed it.

On a log nearby was a commonly encountered beetle larvae.

On the same log was a lone Fungus Beetle.

Moving on, I was thrilled to find this Chafer Beetle (Taeniodera monacha) hiding under some big leaves.

As I was walking along the trail, I saw a flash of yellow and rushed to see what it was. To my surprise, it was a Long Horned Beetle (Oberea clara).

Among some newly chopped tree trunks was this Fungus Beetle (Episcapha quadrimacula). The place was drenched to the bone as can be seen from this soaked beetle.

The highlight of the trip was the finding of this 15 mm first-time-encountered beetle which looked like a Fungus Weevil. The unique thing about this beetle is its exceptionally long antennae. The below photograph is a photograph of a female beetle with its antennae at about 2 times its body length.

The length of the male beetle's antennae is even more amazing at about 4-5 times its body length. I really wonder if there are any function for such long antennae.

On  the same tree trunk as the long antennae beetle was this Fungus Weevil.

Still on the same tree trunk was this poor Fungus Beetle (Ohtaius lunulatus) that was heavily infested with tiny orange mites.

It was still early in the morning but the sky did not looked good as dark rain clouds were gathering above. I decided to turn back and quicken my pace to get back to my car before it rain. Just as I was walking back, I found this 4 mm first-time-encountered black Weevil Beetle.

On a tree nearby was this lovely patterned Fungus Weevil.

Another interesting find was this seldom encountered Fungus Beetle (Eumorphus mirus).

I was totally surprised to find this Long Horned Beetle (Anancylus griseatus) on a leaf as I usually encounter this beetle in the night.

A stone's throw from the exit of the trail, I found this Leaf Beetle (Argopus brevis) resting on the stem of a small plant.

Near to the exit of the trail where there are some large Elephant Ear Plant (Colocasia esculenta), I found several of this Ant-like Flower Beetle (Anthelephila cyanea). It was a bit of a challenge to photograph this small 4 mm beetle in the strong wind.

The last beetle of the trip was this Leaf Beetle (Lema cyanella). It was interesting to note that I didn't find the other commonly encountered Leaf Beetles in the area, despite me searching for them.

Although the trip was a short one given the not-so-good weather, it was a fruitful one with several first-time-encountered beetles, especially the beetles with super long antennae.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Night Walk At Lower Pierce Reservoir (15 Aug 2014)

It has been raining the entire day until late afternoon when the sun finally peeked through the clouds. With the wet weather in mind, my friend and I decided to go to either Venus Drive or Lower Pierce Reservoir for our night macro shoot. We took the risk of going to Lower Pierce Reservoir even though the chances of finding beetles after a whole day of rain at the place would be low compared to Venus Drive.

The purpose of the trip was multiple fold, first it was to test out my camera as I just collected it back from the Sony Service Centre. Secondly, it was to test out the Sony F43M external flash and TAMRON 60mm Macro Lens that I bought just a week ago. And lastly, it was to test out my DIY illuminating light made from a cup noodle container.

The trip started from Casuarina Road after a not so fantastic wanton-noodle dinner at an eatery there. We started to walk along the Old Upper Thomas Road and it was pretty slow moving as there were very few insects found, let alone finding beetles. While we were walking down the road, I was wondering if we had made a mistake in choosing Lower Pierce Reservoir.

I am glad that after walking for about 10 minutes, we finally found a beetle even though it may be a commonly encountered male Chafer Beetle (Adoretus compressus).

Moving further down was another Chafer Beetle (Adoretus compressus) which has a different coloration and pattern. I believed this to be a female Adoretus compressus Chafer Beetle. This is a common beetle and I have not noticed the large round eyes until now.

Near to the Chafer Beetle was a Fungus Beetle, hiding at the base of a tree.

We walked for another while without encountering any beetles until we came to a plant with some lovely looking red and pink flowers. Upon looking closer, I was glad to find this first-time-encountered hairy Chafer Beetle.

A stone's throw from the first-time-encountered Chafer Beetle was another Chafer Beetle (Apogonia expeditionis).

It seemed interesting that the beetles that we encountered so far were Chafer Beetles, until this Long Horned Beetle (Epepeotes luscus) was found resting among some thick foliage.

Walking along the Old Upper Thomson Road seemed not too fruitful and so we decided to pick up our paces to Lower Pierce Reservoir. The first beetle that greeted us there was a Chafer Beetle (Anomala albopilosa) that I seldom come across in my past trips. More Chafer Beetles to come?

The location that we went were full of this Darkling Beetles and they can be seen on literally every fallen log that we came across at the place.

As we walked along the low bushes, another Chafer Beetle was found.

Moving further into the bushes, I found this jittery Fungus Beetle that moved nervously up and down a large leaf.

Moving along, we were surprised to find a number of Tiger Beetles (Cicindela aurulenta) resting in the low bushes. This reminded us of the crashed Tiger Beetle colony at Ang Mo Kio Town Garden West.

Hiding in a plant with some large leaves, this first-time-encountered Click Beetle remained motionless for us to photograph to our hearts' contend.

We finally reached the area where there are many fallen logs. On these logs there were a number of this type of Ground Beetle (Catascopus dalbertisi).

On the same log with the Catascopus dalbertisi Ground Beetle was this Fungus Beetle (Episcapha quadrimacula). Interestingly there were only a few of this beetle, as compared to previous visits where there were easily a few tens of them.

Together with the Fungus Beetles and Ground Beetles were many of this small 10 mm Darkling Beetles.

Equally numerous were this type of Fungus Weevil (Eucorynus crassicornis).

Moving around the place, I noticed a tiny 3 mm Darkling Beetle among all the bigger 10 mm Darkling Beetles.

On one of the logs were several of this lovely colored beetle larvae.

On the same log was this well camouflage Weevil Beetle. From the wetness of the body of this beetle, you can see that it rained pretty heavy a short while ago.

On another log was this Fungus Beetle (Eumorphus assamensis). This one was particularly skittish and quickly moved into some crevices to hide. Noticed that this beetle was also wet from the rain.

Time passes quickly and it was time for us to leave. At the toilet where we cleaned up, I found this first-time-encountered Click Beetle. Fancy finding beetles in the toilet, they must have been attracted by the florescent light in the toilet.

Near to the Click Beetle was another first-time-encountered beetle that looked very much like a cross between a Click Beetle and a Firefly Beetle.

This trip was a fruitful one despite the slow start. It was interesting to find so many different Chafer Beetles on one trip, and to be able to find first-time-encountered beetles, especially in the toilet. At the same time, the testing of the camera and lighting also turned out well. This is a good trip indeed.