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Friday, 31 March 2017

Flew In Visitors (31 Mar 2017)

It has been raining quite a bit this week and it rained heavily once again in the late afternoon, so reluctantly I have to give my weekly macro-photography session a miss.  Well, all is not lost as I expected previously (Flew In Visitors (17 Feb 2017), I did encounter some more flew-in beetles. Here's showing them in lieu of my weekly beetle photographs.

This was a tiny 1 mm beetle that landed on my computer's USB cable. It was a highly active beetle and it took me a bit of efforts to keep up with it,

From the USB cable, it decided to crawl onto my hand phone.

And then back to the USB cable.

The next beetle was found in the multi-storey car park where I parked my car today. It was found clinging to the wall near to where my car was parked. This is a 10 mm Darkling Beetle.

Like before I would end by saying that I am very sure that I will encounter more flew-in beetles in the future.

Friday, 24 March 2017

Night Walk At Bidadari Cemetery (24 Mar 2017)

After seeing the construction works during our previous trip to the Bidadari Cemetery, we thought it is good to visit the place again before the place is fully under construction. When HW and I reached the place, we were sadden to see that the place where several Common Acacia trees (Acacia auriculiformis) were two weeks ago is now a mud ground, crisscrossed with bulldozer tracks. All the Common Acacia trees were uprooted and removed. With them were also the different Chafer Beetles we encountered during the last trip.

Not deterred by the sight, we pressed on and see what remaining critters we can find. Here's a photograph of a lovely yellow moth which is still in abundance at the place despite the construction works.

The first beetle for the trip was a Fungus Weevil (Eucorynus crassicornis) found on a dead up rooted tree, lying in the middle of a grass-less field.

Searching through the greatly bruised and damaged vegetation at the edge of the contruction works, I was glad to find this small 5 mm Leaf Beetle, which promptly took off after one shot of the camera's flash.

Among the disturbed vegetation were a number of this brown-black Chafer Beetle.

Near by was another commonly encountered Chafer Beetle (Apogonia expeditionis).

After a while of walking, we were glad to come to an area where the construction work has not started. But looking at the surroundings, it is likely that the place would be gone in a week or two. It was also here that I found a large Click Beetle at the base of a small tree, and as I was approaching the beetle, it flew away. This is the same type of Click Beetle that I encountered during the last trip here (Click Beetle@Bidadari). I hoped that this Click Beetle would survive all the construction works and re-establish themselves in the new Bidadari Park.

This is something peculiar about Singapore, we seemed always to be "reclaiming" natural areas and making them into nature parks so that the public can enjoy and appreciate our natural heritage. Sadly, these acts of making nature more accessible to the public also destroy many of the habitats that attracted the creatures that we strife to preserve in the first place. IMHO, it may be good for NParks to just construct boardwalks or walking trails in these natural areas, so that the impact on the natural habitats are kept to the minimum. Bidadari Park is a good case in point as natural forested areas were cleared away for the construction of artificial pond and park areas for people to enjoy "nature". It will be years before nature would re-establish themselves again, but it will never be the same.

Enough of my rumblings and let me continue with the trip. We came to a naturally fallen tree and on it were several of this Darkling Beetle (Eucyrtus anthracinus). 

Near to the fallen tree was an area of thick low bushes where this Chafer Beetle (Aprosterna pallide) was found.

Near to the live Aprosterna pallide Chafer Beetle was a not so fortunate Aprosterna pallide Chafer Beetle, which became a spider's dinner.

There were pockets of trees around the place, some are small and others are really huge and tall. On one of the small tree was this 1 mm beetle. Notice the tiny critter near to the beetle, still smaller than the already small beetle. Amazing!

There is a large patch of Singapore  Rhododendron plant (Melastoma malabathricum) and Clidemia hirta plant where many of these commonly encountered Chafer Beetles (Adoretus compressus) were found.

Another commonly encountered Chafer Beetle. I am still trying to find out if this is a different beetle from the Adoretus compressus Chafer Beetle.

More Chafer Beetle (Maladera castanea) at the place.

The highlight of the trip was when HW called out with excitement that he found this brown color Sugarcane White Grub Beetle (Lepidiota stigma) among some low grass. This specimen was completely brown, very much different from the white color specimen that we encountered the previous trip.  Bidadari Cemetery is one of the two locations that I know have a healthy population of this beetle, and my sincerely hoped that they will survive the construction works and re-establish themselves again at the new park.

The last beetle for the trip was this large 15 mm Chafer Beetle (Phyllophaga marginalis) munching on a leaf.

The trip was not as expected due to progressive construction works at the place. From the look of things, this should be the last trip that we will have to the place - possibly until the new park is ready. Until then, all the best to the critters at the place and hope they survived this ordeal.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Living With Tortoiseshell Beetles (16 Mar 2017)

I have a small Curry Leaf plant in my balcony garden that recently looked like it is dying. The leaves of the plant looked really bad and I thought it was infested with some plant pests like Mealy Worm or White Flies.

Just when I was about to spray the plant with pest spray, I noticed that there were many small black stuff on the leaves. Initially I thought they were bird poo but upon closer examination, I was pleasantly surprised that the black stuff were Tortoiseshell Beetle larvae.

Knowing that my Curry Leaf plant was not infested by pests but by Tortoiseshell Beetles, I decided to let the plant be without any pesticide. It was only a few days later that I started to see pupae on the leaves of the plant.

I am surprised to learn that adult beetles have emerged from the pupae just a few days ago.

I was glad to be able to capture one of the beetles just emerged from the pupae.

As suspected, the beetle looked very much like the Tortoiseshell Beetle (Silana farinosa), minus the white coloration. From the white patches on the Tortoiseshell Beetle, I think it is the Silana farinosa Tortoiseshell Beetle.

Time will tell if this Tortoiseshell is truly the Silana farinosa Tortoiseshell Beetle. I will update the blog when there are new developments on this beetle. Here's a photograph of a Tortoiseshell Beetle (Silana farinosa) for those who do not know how this beetle look like.

It was indeed a pleasant surprise find even though it was brutal to my Curry Leaf plant.

17 Mar 2017 - As promised, here's a quick update on the Silana farinosa Tortoiseshell Beetle. It was only about two days and the mostly brown color Tortoiseshell Beetles have all changed and don the distinctive moldy white coloration.

It is so wonderful to be able to see the transformation of these Silana farinosa Tortoiseshell Beetles just over a few weeks.

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Night Walk At Bidadari Cemetery (10 Mar 2017)

It has been more than 2 years that I last went to the Bidadari Cemetery for my macro-photography session. My friend HW and I was just talking about it and so we decided to go there for this week's night macro-photography session.

When we reached the place, my heart sank a little when I saw all a long construction fencing at the location that we intended to have the photography session. As we were already there, we decided to skirt around the fencing and ended up at a place that is still not touched by the construction.

Here's a photograph of a Long-legged Flies (Family Dolichopodidae) which I was glad to be able to photograph at the place. I have not been able to get a good shot of this fly as it is very skittish and would fly away upon detecting camera flash.

The first beetle that came into view was a brown color 5 mm Leaf Beetle hiding under a big fig tree.

A stone's throw from the Leaf Beetle was another 4 mm metallic color Leaf Beetle.

Coming to a fallen tree, I was glad to find a Darkling Beetle (Eucyrtus anthracinus). This beetle is commonly found at night on fallen logs in our parks.

We came to a spot where there were a number of this commonly encountered Chafer Beetle (Apogonia expeditionis). This particular specimen was found on a fern.

Near to the Chafer Beetles was a small 3 mm Darkling Beetle on a small tree.

Next to the Darkling Beetle was this small and active 1 mm Fungus Beetle.

Near by was a large patch of Singapore  Rhododendron plant (Melastoma malabathricum) where several of this Chafer Beetle (Adoretus compressus) were found.

After a bit of searching, HW found this lovely Darkling Beetle (Strongylium erythrocephalum) on a small tree.

Coming to a patch of long lalang grass, HW found this 45 mm rarely encountered Large Cockchafer (Lepidiota stigma) clinging to a blade of grass. This is the second time I found this type of beetle at Bidadari Cemetery and I hoped that this beetle (and other beetles) will survive the constructions and continue to thrive at the place.

A few meters from the Large Cockchafer was another Chafer Beetle that looked like the Apogonia expeditionis Chafer Beetle except for the brown coloration of its elytra.

Moving along, we came across a low Noni fruit (Morinda citrifolia) where a number of this big 25 mm Chafer Beetle (Phyllophaga marginalis) were munching on its leaves.

Interestingly, the place seemed to have many fallen trees and on one of them was this lone Fungus Weevil (Eucorynus crassicornis).

We came to a spot with several Common Acacia trees (Acacia auriculiformis) where this pair of Chafer Beetle (Aprosterna pallide) were found on the grass below one of the trees.

On the tree trunks of the Common Acacia trees were a number of this 5 mm Darkling Beetles.

There were several of this Chafer Beetles (Maladera castanea) on the leaves of the trees, but they were exceptionally skittish and I was only able to photograph this not so pretty specimen.

The last beetle for the trip was also the highlight of the trip as it was a first-time-encountered Click Beetle. This beetle is the largest Click Beetle that I have encountered so far in my 4-5 years of photographing beetles in Singapore, and it was about 35 mm in size.

Although the number of beetles encountered at this place was relatively small compared to places like Venus Drive, it is still a good place to visit. My only hoped is that the constructions that are going on at the place would not destroy too much of the natural habitat and its inhabitants.