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Friday, 29 April 2016

Night Walk At Tampines Eco Green (29 Apr 2016)

It was more than 3 years that I last visited Tampines Eco Green, and so I decided to go there for the night even though it rained heavily in the early afternoon. When I reached the place, it was still pretty wet and this can only meant that the chances of me finding beetles would be pretty slim.

Here's a photograph of an interesting encounter at the place - a Striped Kukri Snake (Oligodon octolineatus). It has been many years since my last encountered with this particular type of snake.

The first beetle for the trip was a Chafer Beetle (Adoretus compressus) which looked as if it just emerged from the ground not too long, given the mud stains on it.

It was only after some walking before I encountered this metallic colored Leaf Beetle.

I started with the Forest Trail but the name got me wondering as the trail has more tall grass than trees. Among the wet tall grass was this CHafer Beetle (Aprosterna palide) which turned out to be super hyper-active, and it promptly flew off after a few photographs.

More walking and searching among the tall grasses before I found this lone Chafer Beetle (Apogonia expeditionis) munching on a leaf.

Apart from the name of the trail, I am also very curious as to why the tree that lined the trail were pretty much sterile or critterless. It was quite interesting that I didn't find any Darkling Beetles on the many trees that I checked, until this particular tree where I found a small colony of this 1 mm Darkling Beetle.

More walking before I came across another tree where several of this 2 mm Darkling Beetles were found. Noticed the super tiny greyish-blue critters that were near to the beetle? Not sure if they are Springtails.

I was rather bored due to the lack of beetles, until this curious young cat decided to accompany me for the rest of the journey. It would some times run ahead of me and then would zip between my legs. It would stopped to check out "things" and later run ahead of me. It was pretty entertaining to have this cat around, especially when I was not able to find any beetles despite me being extra thorough when scanning the plants and trees on both sides of the trail.

More walking before I found this Chafer Beetle (Maladera castanea) resting on the under a leaf of a low tree.

The last beetle for the trip came as a pleasant surprise and also a fitting end to the trip. I was least expecting to find this lovely colored Darkling Beetle (Strongylium erythrocephalum) on a rotting log.

The trip was worse than expected as I only found 8 different beetles, even though I walked for more than 2 hours, before call it a day.  Nevertheless I was able to test out a newly DIYed, lighter and less bulking flash diffuser. Looking back at the number of beetles I found during the previous trip to the place (3 years ago), I wondered if the dismal results this trip was due to the wet weather or was it the sad of things at the place.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Chafer Beetle By The Corridor (26 Apr 2016)

I was on my way home when I found this first-time-encountered 12 mm Chafer Beetle lying on the corridor floor. At a cursory glance, it looked like the commonly encountered Apogonia expeditionis Chafer Beetle but upon closer examination, it differed in the texture of its pronotum and elytra. After searching the internet and compared with the photographs that I found, the beetle seemed very much to be the Black Lawn Beetle (Heteronychus arator).

Here are some of the photographs that I took. Photographing this beetle was a bit of a challenge as it was so hyperactive and kept flying away. It was literally snapping a few photographs and then chase after it to bring it back to the shooting area. Nevertheless, this also gave me an opportunity to photograph it with its wings extended.

This was an unexpected find and it was a good lesson for me to examine closer any beetles that I come across on the floor regardless of what it seemed to be. Who knows I may find other first-time-encountered beetles in so doing.

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Morning Walk At Venus Drive (23 Apr 2016)

The sky was threatening to rain the night before and so I decided to rise early in the morning to go for my weekly macro-photography session at Venus Drive. Not sure what was the occasion as the car park was almost full at the time I reached, but I am thankful to be able to park in the last available lot.

The vegetation was very wet and it looked like it rained in the early morning. This is good news for us in Singapore as it has been rather hot and dry for the past few weeks, and we can surely do with more rain at our water catchment area. Here's a photograph of a red Springtail found on a fallen log at the place. This is the first time that I am able to take a close-up of a Springtail. Don't you think that it looked like a riped mulberry fruit?

The first beetle was a pleasant surprise - a Ladybird Beetle (Henosepilachna implicata). In my mind, I was thinking that this was a good start for the trip.

Near to the Ladybird Beetle was a small grassy knoll where several beetles were found. Here's a photograph of a Leaf Beetle (Lema diversa) found there. It was pretty much a challenge to photograph it as it was very alert and would fly off whenever it detected movements.

I am further surprised by the encounter of several of this lovely Spiny Leaf Beetles at the grassy knoll. I spent a bit of time photographing it as I had some problem getting good photographs of this type of beetle previously.

Flying around the grassy knoll was this skittish Leaf Beetle (Lema cyanella) which promptly flew away after two photo shots.

After leaving the grassy knoll, I came across a large Elephant Ear plant and found this lone Ant-like Flower Beetle (Anthelephila cyanea) on one of its gigantic leaves.

Sadly, the number of beetles encountered was lesser than expected. This could possibly due to the unusually high human traffic at the place, besides the wet weather. Interestingly, I encountered 3 large groups of nature lovers (10-15 person per group), 1 smaller group of fungus mushroom lovers, a small group of fellow macro-photographers, and several joggers during this trip.

Coming to a chest-height tree stump, I am happy to find this Checkered Beetle resting motionlessly on the exposed part of the tree stump. It has been a while that I last encountered this species of beetle.

Just centimeters from the Checkered Beetle was a first-time-encountered Click Beetle. At a cursory glace, it looked very much like a rat poo.

More walking before I found an area with some low bushes where several of this all-time favorite white Ladybird Beetle. As usual, photographing this beetle was a challenge due to their alertness and it would fly away upon any movements. Interestingly, when I was preparing the photographs for this blog, I noticed that there were many small translucent eggs near to the Ladybird Beetle.

By this time, the sky started to rumble with thunders and looked like it will rain in a short while. So I  pick up my paces and headed towards the "exit". Along the way, I found this small 3 mm Darkling Beetle on the side of a small tree. Interesting to note that there are two protrusions at the end of its head. This is the first time I noticed such protrusions on this type of beetles.

On a patch of lichen on a large tree was the carcass of a beetle larvae. Upon closer examination of the photograph, it looked like it could had fell victim to the parasitic wasp.

On a rubber tree leaf nearby was this small 3 mm Weevil Beetle.

I was almost at the exit of the trail when I encountered this small 3 mm Fungus Beetle.

The last beetle for the trip was a mating pair of Darkling Beetles.

The trip was not as fruitful as expected but it did provide a good opportunity to take photographs of the lovely Springtail and also the Spiny Leaf Beetle. Venus Drive is still a great place for finding beetles even if the weather is less than ideal.

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Night Walk At Venus Drive (15 Apr 2016)

The weather has been very warm and dry through the week, averaging about 31 C in the night. I was contemplating where to go for my night macro session and finally decided to go to Venus Drive on the reason that I would possibly find more beetles there despite  the dry weather.

The initial part of the trip was plagued by winged termites that came in hordes, attracted by my torch light. Here's a shot of a pseudoscorpion feasting on a winged termite.

The first beetle of the trip was a small 2 mm Darkling Beetle on the side of a tree. It was really a challenge to photograph this beetle due to the constant bombardment of the winged termites that got attracted by my focus light.

Next to the Darkling Beetle on another tree were several of this beetle larvae.

On a low bush near to the beetle larvae was a commonly encountered Chafer Beetle (Adoretus compressus).

As I entered an area of low trees, I was pleasantly surprised to find a Click Beetle (Pectocera babai) under a leaf.

Near to the Click Beetle was a lone Chafer Beetle on a stalk of tall grass. While reviewing the photographs for this blog, I realized that there was a super tiny mite on the beetle.

Fortunately the winged-termite "attack" ceased and I was able to concentrate and found this 3 mm first-time-encountered Weevil Beetle. It was a challenge to photograph this beetle as it was high up on a tree branch.

After a short walk, this Chafer Beetle (Apogonia expeditionis) was found on a grass.

Near to the Chafer Beetle was a large Elephant Ear plant and under one of the leaves was this Ant-like Flower Beetle (Anthelephila cyanea). Noticed the two tiny mites that were on the leaf also.

A stone's throw away was this small 3 mm first-time-encountered beetle found resting on a blade of grass. Not sure what type of beetle this is but it looked like a Toe-winged Beetle.

The highlight of the trip was the encounter of this first-time-encountered blue colored Darkling Beetle. It was also during this time that I was "attacked" by several small brownish red ants. Although it was only several of these ants that got under my pants, the bites were enough to stop me from photographing this lovely beetle.

This reminded me of a documentary on how the Taiwanese dealt with a massive fire-ant infestation in their country. Having seen how badly these ants have infested Admiralty Park, I sincerely hoped that our NPark would take some measures to curb the spread of these ants in our parks.

After hastily left the blue Darkling Beetle, I was glad to find this and several others Tiger Beetles (Cicindela aurulenta) on some low bushes.

Walking further down the trail, a Darkling Beetle (Strongylium tenuipes) was found on a small tree.

Near to the Darkling Beetle was another small 2 mm Darkling Beetle.

Moving to a woodpile, this 5 mm Darkling Beetle was found hiding under a log.

On the same log was a Ground Beetle (Catascopus dalbertisi) next to an interesting looking fungus mushroom.

On another log in the same woodpile was a Fungus Weevil (Eucorynus crassicornis). The pattern on the Fungus Weevil really helped the beetle blend into its background.

Still at the same woodpile, a pair of mating 10 mm Darkling Beetle on the side of a rotting log.

Moving on, a Fungus Beetle (Eumorphus assamensis) was resting at the base of a small tree.

On another tree near by was this Fungus Weevil which looked very much like the Eumorphus assamensis beetle, except for the red coloration on its elytra. Not sure if they are the same species or a different but related species.

The last beetle for the trip was a small 2 mm Darkling Beetle.

The trip was very fruitful with the encounter of 3 first-time-encountered beetles. With no doubt Venus Drive is the place to find beetles even if the weather condition may not be that ideal.