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Friday, 27 March 2015

Night Walk At Lower Peirce Reservoir Park (27 Mar 2015)

A teenage boy named Reynard asked me if he could join me on this trip and so I decided to meet him at Lower Peirce Reservoir Park. The reason for choosing the place was mainly because it was his first night trip and more importantly, the place is not as rugged as compared to the rest of the places that I usually go.

Here's an interesting looking katydid with yellow legs found on a Singapore Rhododendron (Melastoma malabathricum) plant.

The first beetle of the trip was a commonly encountered Chafer Beetle (Apogonia expeditionis) found on a badly eaten plant.

On a tree nearby was another small commonly encountered 3 mm Darkling Beetle.

While photographing the Darkling Beetle, Reynard noticed something moving and it turned out to be a first-time encountered beetle larvae. Notice the interesting shape of its antennae.

The place was very dry and we didn't see many insects around and so when we came across this small Darkling Beetle high up on a tree, I decided to do some stretching exercise and snapped a few photographs of it. This poor beetle was missing one leg.

On a tree nearby was this lovely colored tiny 2 mm Darkling Beetle.

As we searched through the vegetation for beetles, I was glad to find this Fungus Weevil on the underside of a large rubber tree leaf. Fortunately, I was able to get some nice photographs of it even though the angle was a little bit odd.

A short walk from the Fungus Weevil was a lone Tiger Beetle (Cicindela aurulenta) on a blade of grass.

Not too far from the Tiger Beetle was a patch of Hairy Clidema (Clidemia hirta) and on one of the leaves was this Chafer Beetle (Adoretus compressus). Incidentally, there were many of this type of Chafer Beetle throughout the place.

Coming to a fallen log that lined the edge of a forested area, several Fungus Weevil (Eucorynus crassicornis) were found on the log.

Near to the Fungus Weevil was a 15 mm Click Beetle resting on a partially eaten leaf.

On the side of a fallen log was a pair of Fungus Beetle (Episcapha quadrimacula) among some dried up fungus mushrooms.

As we were approaching a patch of low grass, I was hopeful to find some Leaf Beetles. After looking carefully among the low grass, I managed to find two of this Leaf Beetle (Lema rufotestacea).

A few meters from the Lema rufotestacea Leaf Beetle was a lone Lema diversa Leaf Beetle.

On a fallen log further down were two Darkling Beetles feasting on some brown color fungus mushrooms.

On a tree nearby was a 5 mm bronze color Darkling Beetle.

Moving into a forested area, a Checker Beetle was found on a side of a small tree.

While I was photographing the Checkered Beetle, Reynard spotted this Fungus Beetle just centimeters below the Checker Beetle.

Moving deeper into the forested area, a Darkling Beetle was seen up a tree trunk.

Near to the Darkling Beetle was a rotting creeping vine and on it was this lovely Ground Beetle (Catascopus dalbertisi). This particular specimen was so alert that it promptly disappear after one photograph.

The last beetle for the trip was another Darkling Beetle on the same creeping vine.

The trip was considered fruitful given the number of beetles encountered even though it was a short 2 hours trip. Through the trip, Reynard and myself had a good time talking about beetles.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Remembering A Great Leader... (23 Mar 2015)

Beetles@SG mourns together with Singapore for the passing of a great leader...

(Photograph from Channel News Asia's facebook page)

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Morning Walk At Admiralty Park (21 Mar 2015)

It has been a while since I last went to the Admiralty Park, so I decided to give it a try again despite the concerns about the nasty ants. The place is still under restoration for the longer trail near to the North entrance. Here's an interesting spider that mimics a large black ant found at the place.

The trail near to the North entrance seemed to be badly infested with this tiny brownish-black ants. There are literally thousands, if not millions, of them moving around the trail and vegetation. Don't be deceived by their tiny size as each one of them gives a nasty bite, and they operate in large groups just like in the photograph. This is what kept me away from the place for so long. I sincerely hoped that NParks will do something about these ants while they are restoring the place, before the infestation spread to the rest of the park.

The first beetle only appeared after a good 15 minutes of walking. It was a Leaf Beetle (Colasposoma auripenne) and it was pretty much a challenge to photograph this particular beetle as besides it being under a leaf, there were ants all over the place. While I focus the camera on the beetle, I would also need to constantly look down to make sure that the ants do not climb onto my boots. Despite me being so cautious about the ants, one of them still managed to go under my T-shirt and gave me a nasty bite, minutes after I have left the spot.

It was another 30 minutes or so of walking before I came across this tiny 2 mm Ladybird Beetle (Cryptogonus orbiculus).

I was about to give up and go home as the place was really very disappointing in terms of finding beetles. Just then I came to a patch of low bushes where I found the first Leaf Beetle (Lema rufotestacea) for the trip.

Energized by the finding of a Leaf Beetle, I persevered on and found a pair of mating Leaf Beetle (Altica cyanea) on a hairy leaf.

Just a stone's throw away was another Leaf Beetle resting on the tip of a blade of lalang grass.

There was so few beetles at the place that even after walking for another long while, I didn't find any beetles. I decided to turn back and go home. Just near to the point where I turned back, I was surprised to find a Click Beetle (Pectocera babai) caught in a spider's web.

It seemed like the place have a number of the Pectocera babai Click Beetle as on the web there were about 5 Pectocera babai Click Beetles.

Near to the Clcik Beetle were several attap trees (Nypa fruticans) that were flowering, and on one of them was this 18 mm Weevil Beetle.

Just then I met a fellow macro photographer who was photographing dragonflies. As I chat up with him, he was also commenting that the number dragonfly was not as many as expected. While we were chatting, my eyes caught hold of a Leaf Beetle (Lema diversa) across a small stream. My camera lens is only 60 mm so this is the "best" photograph I can take across the stream. Included here as a record for the trip.

As we continued chatting, at the corner of my eyes I saw this Ladybird Beetle (Henosepilachna implicata) landed on a leaf.

The last beetle for the trip was a Ladybird Beetle (Cryptogonus orbiculus) which was near to the other Ladybird Beetle. While photographing the beetle, it suddenly dawn on me that it could be a case of a sexual dimorphism that this beetle has a black face as compared to the earlier Cryptogonus orbiculus Ladybird Beetle which has a yellow face.

The trip was rather disappointing as the number of beetles encountered was really small even though I spent a much longer time there than usual.

Friday, 20 March 2015

Close Encounter With A Stag Beetle

It was about seven months ago that I found out that Stag Beetles can be found in Singapore ( Early Morning Walk At Venus Drive (30 Aug 2014) ), overturning years of my misconception that Stag Beetles can only be found in Highlands and not in Singapore.

Since then I have been hoping for an opportunity to encounter a living specimen in Singapore. My wish was fulfilled this week when I received a message from my friend whom I regularly go macro photography with. He messaged me to ask for the identity of a beetle that he just photographed.

I initially thought it was a Darkling Beetle or Ground Beetle until I took a closer look at the photograph. My heart almost skipped a beat when I realized that is a Stag Beetle. According to my friend, the beetle was almost a spider's breakfast as it was trapped and wrapped up in spider web. Fortunate for the beetle (and for me), he decided to take it down from the spider web when he saw that it was still alive.

As this is such a rare encounter, I decided to take more shots of it than usual. Here are some of the photographs taken from different angles and degree of close-up. With some knowledge gained from my correspondences with the author (on the Stag Beetle section) of the Singapore Biodiversity book earlier on, I narrowed down the identity of the beetle as Aegus sp. and possibly a female specimen of the Aegus chelifer Stag Beetle. This Stag Beetle looked like the female specimen of the Aegus cf chelifer nitidus  Stag Beetle shown in one of my online friends' website ( Ben's Beetle Breeding Pages ).

The encounter with this Stag Beetle has been a wonderful experience and it reminded me of the earlier years when I first got interested in beetles because of a close encounter with a female Stag Beetle in Cameron Highlands, Malaysia.

Below is a photograph of a male Stag Beetle that I encountered when I was in Cameron Highlands last year. Although the size of the Stag Beetle encountered above has no match to the size of those Highlands Stag Beetles, it is still a fascinating beetle to photograph.

Friday, 13 March 2015

Night Walk At Venus Drive (13 Mar 2015)

Is has been a while my friend has visited Venus Drive, so we decided to go there for our night macro photography. My friend's objective for this trip was to take some ultraviolet photographs of scorpions. We managed to find a number of Wood Scorpion (Lychas scutilus) and one of them was a small 25 mm juvenile.

The first beetle encountered was a Ant-like Flower Beetle (Anthelephila cyanea) found under a large elephant ear leaf.

The place was rather dry despite the few days of raining across the whole island of Singapore. The start of the trip was very slow and we only found the Ant-like Flower Beetle  until minutes into the trail where this Tiger Beetle (Cicindela aurulenta) was found on a low bush.

The next beetle was a surprise find - a first-time-encountered Long Horned Beetle found resting on a creeper.

Near to the Long Horned Beetle was a woodpile where 2 Darkling Beetle (Ceropria induta) were found.

Very soon we came to the clearing and on one of the fallen log were several of this 12 mm Darkling Beetles.

On another fallen log in the clearing were several of this Darkling Beetle (Ceropria superba)

A close-up of the Darkling Beetle (Ceropria superba).

Near to the Darkling Beetle was a tree with a number of lichen growing on its trunk. On a patch of lichen was a Fungus Weevil.

Directly on the other side of the tree trunk was another Fungus Weevil.

Near to the Fungus Weevils was a tall plant and on it was a female Adoretus compressus Chafer Beetle.

Near by to the Chafer Beetle was a Weevil Beetle on the trunk of a small palm tree.

Moving away from the clearing, we came to a spot where there were unusually large number of Ground Beetle (Onyptergia longispinis). Usually I would at most encounter 1 or 2 of this type of Ground Beetle on a trip, but this time round we managed to find 6-7 of them along a short stretch of vegetation.

Near to the Ground Beetle was a Darkling Beetle, clinging motionlessly on a small tree.

In a crevice on the same tree was this small Darkling Beetle (Amarygmus ovoideus).

On a nearby woodpile was several Fungus Weevil (Eucorynus crassicornis) which blended very well into its background.

Further down the trail was a small patch of Hairy Clidemia (Clidemia hirta) where this Chafer Beetle (Apogonia expeditionis) was munching on one of the leaves.

While photographing the Chafer Beetle, my friend call out to me that he found a beetle larvae on a tree. I was so glad to find this large beetle larvae as the sighting of them has been few during this dry period.

On another woodpile nearby were several of this lovely metallic colored Ground Beetle (Catascopus dalbertisi). I am glad that my newly modified DIY flash diffuser worked well to bring out the lovely metallic color of this beetle.

On top of a large leaf nearby was a beetle which I am not sure if it belongs to the Long Horned Beetle or Darkling Beetle family.

Just a stone's throw away was a lovely Long Horned Beetle (Epepeotes luscus).

Near to the Long Horned Beetle was a lone male Chafer Beetle (Adoretus compressus).

Time passes quickly and we decided to pick up our paces to head for the snow tree 3. Although I have visited the snow tree 3 several times, I am still very impressed with the number of beetles that were found on the tree. There were several of the large Ground Beetle (Catascopus dalbertisi) on the tree while we approached the tree, but what caught my eyes was this small Ground Beetle (possibly Pericalus figuratus).

It was like a party for this type of Fungus Weevil (Anthribus wallacei) as quite a number of them were found on the tree, some alone and others were mating.

On the tree were many circular holes created by the Ambrosia Beetle and I was surprised to find a Flat Bark Beetle coming out of one of the holes. This particular specimen was very hyperactive and didn't stop long for me to have a good shot of it.

At the higher part of the tree was a 10 mm Darkling Beetle. I have came across many Darkling Beetle that looked like this but differs in their sizes. Some can be as small as 2 mm to as big as 20 mm.

At the base of the snow tree was this entirely black Darkling Beetle.

While it was my friend's turn to photograph at the snow tree, I decided to explore the inner part of the forest that was behind the snow tree.

On a large tree fallen tree branch next to the snow tree (possibly broken off from the snow tree) was several of this Fungus Beetle (Episcapha quadrimacula).

Just directly below the Fungus Beetle was a reddish-brown Ground Beetle that has two yellow spots at the tip of its abdomen.

Deeper into the vegetation behind the snow tree, I was happy to find one of my favorite beetles ~ a white Ladybird Beetle. I particular like its bluish-green eyes.

The highlight of the trip was finding this lovely colored Click Beetle. This is only the second time that I came across this type of Click Beetle.

It was time to turn back and just before we turned back, a bronze colored Chafer was found on the underside of a leaf.

Passing by the snow tree on the way out, I was glad to find this Fungus Beetle (Eumorphus quadriguttatus quadriguttatus) moving actively on the snow tree. It managed to elude me when I was photographing the beetles on the snow tree earlier on.

The last beetle for the trip was a Long Horned Beetle (Coptops annulipes) found at the base of the snow tree. Like the Fungus Beetle, it managed to elude me when I was photographing at the snow tree earlier on.

This trip was especially fruitful given the dry weather. We also had quite good fun with my friend's ultraviolet light in spotting scorpion in the dark. It is amazing how scorpions glow so brightly with the ultraviolet light. This has motivated me to want to dig up my old ultraviolet light from my storeroom for the next night shoot. :P