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Friday, 24 October 2014

Short Walk At Bukit Brown Cemetery (25 Oct 2014)

After running a morning errand I was around the vicinity of the Bukit Brown Cemetery and so I decided to drop by there for a short walk. The construction of a new road that cut across the cemetery was in full swing, and a segment of the cemetery was boarded up but there are still a large part of the cemetery that are untouched.

It has been a while I was last there (  and the last time when I attempted to visit the place again, I was stopped from entering the place due to the exhumation of graves affected by the construction. For those who are interested in knowing more about the cemetery, please visit a website on the cemetery (

The first beetle that I came across was a familiar Leaf Beetle (Aulacophora frontalis).

Moving to some young Elephant Ear Plant (about 50 cm tall), I was surprised to find a Ant-like Flower Beetle (Anthelephila cyanea) hiding under it.

Near to the Ant-like Beetle was a very alert Leaf Beetle that promptly flew away after one flash from my camera.

The mosquitoes at the place is as bad as I last remembered it and I am thankful that my insect repellent work pretty well and I only got bitten at two spots prior to applying it.  In order not to be bitten by the mosquitoes, I decided to keep to the main paths and not venture into the bushes. While walking along the path, I found this beetle larvae on a leaf.

Hiding under a blade of grass was a small 5 mm first-time-encountered Net-winged Beetle.

Along the sides of the paths at the cemetery were sporadic patches of tall plants and bushes. These are the places that I focused on. On one of such patches I was pleasantly surprised to find this hairy Leaf Beetle (Trichochrysea hirta).

I made a mistake earlier on by leaving my drinking bottle in the car, so in order that I don't get any heatstroke from the hot temperature, I decided to end the walk. While walking back to the car, I came across a fallen tree and decided to check it out.  In the shaded area of the fallen tree were several of this Leaf Beetle (Lema diversa).

On the same fallen tree was a Weevil Beetle which promptly fall off the tree trunk after a few camera shots.

The place still seemed promising despite the small number of beetles found. I guessed that given more time, I would be able to find more beetles at the place as proven by the last trip I made to the place.

Recce Walk Near The Singapore Night Safari(24 Oct 2014)

I have always wanted to check out the stretch of Mandai Lake Road that leads to the Singapore Night Safari, so I decided to go there for a recce. This is the first time that I am visiting the place at night and am not sure what I will find there. I decided to start my walk on the side of the road where the vegetation fringes the Upper Seletar Reservoir and the plan is to turn back an hour later on the opposite side of the road, back to the starting point at the Singapore Zoo.

For those who are not familiar, there are three attractions at the location - Singapore Zoo, Night Safari and River Safari. Thanks to the Night Safari that operates in the night that we can have public transport to the place at night. Below was a test shot of the Singapore Night Safari when I was setting up my camera.

The starting was a little slow with not much critters found and the first beetle I found was a commonly encountered Chafer Beetle (Adoretus compressus). This beetle seemed to be out in numbers.

Lining the both sides of the road are large trees (1 tree for every 20 meters) planted as part of the efforts for the greening up of Singapore. The greening up of  Singapore started in the 1840s with the Bristish colonial government, due to the concerns of deforestation and destruction of forest hills to make way for gambier cultivation. The greening efforts went into full gear in the 1960s and we are now enjoying the fruits and foresight of our greening pioneers.

On these large trees were Darkling Beetles of varying sizes. This particular specimen is about 5 mm in size.

The next Darkling Beetle found on another tree was about 3 mm in size.

Coming to a patch of Simpoh Air plant (Dillenia suffruticosa), I was pleasantly surprised to find a brightly colored Ladybird Beetle (Chilocurs circumdatus).

At a small patch of the Singapore  Rhododendron plant (Melastoma malabathricum), I was able to find several of this Leaf Beetle (Argopus brevis).

Moving further down the road side, I came across this small 1 mm Fungus Beetle which for some unexplained reason, I was not able to have a clear view of the patterns on the beetle.

The highlight of the trip was the encounter of this small 5 mm Weevil Beetle.

On another tree was a 8 mm Darkling Beetle. These Darkling Beetle are commonly encountered in Singapore in the night.

Coming to a large patch of  Rhododendron plant (Melastoma malabathricum) near to the edge of the Upper Seletar Reservoir, three types of Chafer Beetle were found - Aprosterna pallide, Apogonia expedtionis and Adoretus compressus.

Resting on the tip of a vine was this 5 mm Leaf Beetle.

Time passes by quickly and it was time to turn back from the other side of the road. At the entrance to the closed down Singapore Orchid Garden, a 5mm Darkling Beetle with two sharp horn-like protrusions was found. I believe this is a Platydema sp.   I have all this while thought that it belongs to the Fungus Beetle family until recently that I noticed that it belongs to the Darkling Beetle family. So my apologies for the misinformation in my previous blog entries on this family of beetle.

The last beetle of the trip was this diurnal Leaf Beetle (Hoplasoma unicolor) resting on the underside of a badly eaten leaf. This beetle can be easily identified by its black abdomen.

This was a quick trip and the number of beetles found was not as numerous compared to the locations. I may consider coming to this place again but possibly taking the near by Mandai Track 15 route instead.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Picnic At Upper Pierce Reservoir (22 Oct 2014)

Today is a public holiday (Deepavali) in Singapore and a group of friends decided to go to Upper Pierce Reservoir for a morning picnic. The weather was still hazy despite the heavy rain the day before.

Besides the usual picnic stuff, I decided to bring my camera to see if I can get some beetle actions while at the place. It has been a while I last went to Upper Pierce Reservoir as it is not accessible without a car and also the main gate to the place closes at 7 pm. In any case, the place is not as productive in terms of finding beetles as compared to the other nearby reservoirs, and hence I would not visit the place intentionally.

Taking a little bit of time off from the picnic gathering and I managed to take a short walk around the place. The Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) for the morning was about 60, making the place looked like it was shrouded with mist.

One of the critters that I came across at the place was this not so commonly encountered Green Crested Tree Lizard (Bronchocela cirstatella). This type of tree lizard used to be very common in Singapore but over the years they have been displaced by the more aggressive Changeable Lizard (Calotes versicolor). The latter is so prolific that you can find them anywhere in Singapore -  along roadsides, home garden and even in our shopping and business districts.

The first beetle that I came across was a surprise. It was a Fungus Beetle with a pair of nasty looking hooks on its elytra. If I remember correctly, I only encountered this beetle about two times before. This beetle was found at the most unlikely of places, it was on a small 25 cm rock under a tree.

Here's another shot of the beetle. I decided to have additional photographs of the same beetle posted due to the low number of beetles encountered.

The next beetle encountered was a Leaf Beetle (Argopus brevis), commonly found on the Singapore Rhododendron plant (Melastoma malabathricum).

While looking around the low trees, I saw a yellow speck that flew under a low bush. I quickly rushed to see what it would be. I was pleasantly surprised to find a first-time-encountered Leaf Beetle. I initially thought that it was the Hoplasoma unicolor Leaf Beetle which is a commonly encountered beetle at Upper Pierce Reservoir. I particularly like the yellow color elytra.

The last beetle encountered was the Hoplasoma unicolor Leaf Beetle which you can find flying among the Clerodendrum villosum plants in large number.

This was an unintentional trip and finding a first-time-encountered Leaf Beetle and also the interesting looking Fungus Beetle made me want to take the time to blog about it.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Night Walk At Venus Drive (17 Oct 2014)

My friend and I was planning to go to the Lower Pierce Reservoir for night macro shoot but the weather turned bad and started to rain not too long before we set off. As it has been a while since we did a night shoot together, we decided to wait out the rain. To increase the chances of finding beetles and critters to photograph, we decided to go to  Venus Drive as the place would still be productive even after rain.

My friend brought along a UV-torch that he bought recently and we decided to give it a try. Here's a photograph of a Common House Striped Scorpion (Isometrus maculatus) taken using the UV light. The photograph was not well taken as I was using big aperture F2 to photograph it and handheld at an angle, hence resulted in the obvious narrow depth-of-field of the photograph.

The first beetle of the trip was a small 3 mm Fungus Beetle. This beetle appeared to be black in color to the naked eyes. The patterns and color only appear when seen through the macro lens.

Near to the Fungus Beetle was a small 3 mm Darkling Beetle which is commonly seen on healthy trees.

On another tree was a tiny 1 mm Fungus Beetle. I always like to look for them as they often surprise me with their colors and patterns.

Another commonly encountered black-color Darkling Beetle found on a tree near by. This specimen is about 3 mm in size.

On another tree was a different bronze color Darkling Beetle. Notice that the color of the legs and antennae are different from the earlier black-color Darkling Beetle, even though the shape of the beetles looked similar.

The place was soaking wet with rain which stopped less than 10 minutes earlier. A commonly encountered Chafer Beetle (Adoretus compressus) was found hiding under a leaf.

Moving to a Elephant Ear Plant (Alocasia Macrorrhiza), a lovely Ladybird Beetle (Chilocorus circumdatus) was found hiding from the rain under one of the giant leaves.

Several of this commonly encountered Chafer Beetle (Apogonia expeditionis) were found on a patch of low bushes.

While moving among some 2 meter high small trees, I was surprised to find a pair of Flower Chafer Beetle (Taeniodera monacha).

Under another large Elephant Ear Plant leaf was a Leaf Beetle (Physdanis bicolor).

On the same Elephant Ear Plant was an Ant-like Flower Beetle (Anthelephila cyanea) under an out-of-reach leaf.

Moving onto the trail, a black-color Darkling Beetle (Promethis valga) was seen on the side of a tall tree.

On a small tree nearby was another small 5 mm Darkling Beetle. Several of this type of beetle were encountered during this trip.

Hiding under some thick creepers was a small 5 mm beetle. I was not able to get a good angle to photograph it for better identification. It looked like a Fungus Beetle.

On a wet fallen log was a Fungus Beetle.

On the same log were several 3 mm Rove Beetles which proved to be a real challenge to photograph. I was fortunate to find one which stopped long enough for me to take some decent photographs.

On a very long fallen tree was a large number of this large 12 mm Darkling Beetles.

At the "clearing", a drenched Weevil Beetle was seen resting  on a large leaf.

Commonly seen on fallen and rotting logs were many of this Fungus Weevil Betele (Eucorynus crassicornis).

On a log deeper into the "clearing" was a Fungus Beetle (Eumorphus assamensis). I am glad to increasingly find them during my walks since the dry spell happened in February this year.

Interestingly, there were several of this Martinezostes sp. beetles. I noticed two different specimens on the same log. The latter beetle has a smoother elytra than the first one.

While photographing the Martinezostes beetle, a small 3 mm beetle with interesting looking antennae (possibly a Fungus Beetle) was seen moving about quickly.

While I was photographing the small Fungus Beetle, a False Click Beetle flew onto my face. It was about this time that I felt a sharp pain on my right middle finger. A most unfortunate thing happened, a disorientated wasp (possibly disorientated by our torch lights) decided to sting my right middle finger for some unknown reasons.

The fortunate thing is the sting was on the middle finger and not the index finger, else it would have ended the trip then. My middle finger started to swell but I have a feeling that it would not be too big a problem besides the pain. So I decided to continue with the trip and fortunately the pain went away after about two hours later (but the spot where I was stung was still tender to the touch the next day morning). This was indeed a painful but interesting experience.

On a small tree near the "clearing", a small 5 mm Fungus Weevil was found on a patch of lichen.

On the same tree was another Fungus Weevil. The thing I like about night shoots is the ease in photographing these difficult to photograph beetles during the day. There is a really tiny critter (black in color) next to the Fungus Weevil. I encounter them occasionally and wondered what it could be. Could it be a really tiny beetle or is it a kind of mite?

On another tree near by was a tiny 2 mm Fungus Beetle.

Moving down the track, a small 4 mm Ground Beetle (Pentagonica flavipes) was found on a wet leaf.

During my last week trip to Venus Drive, I came across a number of Tiger Beetle (Cicindela aurulenta) but I am surprised to find a few of them even after the heavy rain.

On a pile of chopped down tree trunks were several of this Fungus Beetle.

Near to the Fungus Beetle was several small Fungus Beetles.

Besides finding the small Fungus Beetle on the tree trunk, they were also found on fungus growing on the logs like below.

The highlight of the trip was the encounter with this used-to-be commonly encountered Fungus Beetle (Eumorphus tetraspilotus). It has been infrequent that I encounter this beetle since the dry spell.

A small first-time-encountered Fungus Beetle was found hiding under a crevice of a tree bark. Notice the two horn-like protrusion on its head?

While I was photographing the Fungus Beetle, my friend call out to me, asking if I am interested in photographing beetle larvae and pointed to this beetle larvae (possibly those of Fungus Beetle). I always enjoy photographing this type of beetle larvae as they looked like soft candy.

On the same tree was another smaller beetle larvae.

On a log near by was another beetle larvae, which looked totally different from the earlier beetle larvae. This is probably a Darkling Beetle larvae.

Near to the location of the "snow tree" (which no longer there) was a dying tree and on it was a lovely patterned Fungus Beetle.

Moving further down the trail, a small 5 mm Checkered Beetle was resting on a lichen. I am not sure if it is just resting on it or was it feeding on it.

Near by to the Checkered Beetle was my all time favorite - a white Ladybird Beetle.

On another wet leaf was a Ground Beetle that looked very much like a cockroach at a glance.

At the base of a rotting tree were several of this small 4 mm Fungus Beetle.

Near to the rotting tree and along side the trail was a very long log. On them were a few tens of this Fungus Beetle (Episcapha quadrimacula).

It was time to leave and we backtracked towards the entrance. Along the way, a Fungus Weevil with long antennae was found on a leaf. My first encounter with this beetle was not too long ago ( ).

The last beetle was a Fungus Beetle (Encymon scintillans scintillans).  The beetle was initially in a very odd position and so I decided it to urge it to a better spot with my finger. It was a mistake as it immediately deployed its chemical defense and my finger was covered with a pungent smell. The lesson learnt here is not to touch Fungus Beetle with your fingers unless you want to smell like them.

The trip was surprisingly fruitful with many different beetles encountered during the 3 hours walk, especially that it is immediately after a heavy rain. I am glad to have persevered to wait out the rain and continued with the trip as planned earlier on.