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Friday, 22 September 2017

Day Trip To St John's Island (22 Sep 2017)

After reading a report on the first records of the Pachyteria dimidiata Long Horned Beetle found on St John's Island, I have been wanting to go to the island to see if I could snap a photograph of it. I finally found the opportunity to go there today. It is easily three decades that I last set foot on the island and much have changed on the island. At the same time, I was not hopeful that I will find many beetles as the island is not very big (about 40.5 hectare).

The first beetle was a Tiger Beetle (Cicindela aurulenta) found along the way to the Marine Park Outreach and Education Centre. There were many of them running and flying around the path leading to the centre. I am not surprised to find Tiger Beetle here as the ground consists mostly of sandy patches where this type of Tiger Beetle loves.

I was focusing on looking for beetles that I totally missed the signage that points to the centre, and ended up at the adjacent research centre which is not opened to the public. While I was trying to look for the Marine Park Outreach and Education Centre at the wrong location, I was pleasantly surprised to find this 40 mm Chafer Beetle (Lepidiota stigma) on a step of a staircase. Initially I was not sure what beetle it is due to the brown "discoloration" of the beetle. I later realized that it is a brown-version of the Lepidiota stigma Chafer Beetle from the distinct two white spots near the end of its elytra.

Apart from the Lepidiota stigma Chafer Beetle there was no beetle in sight. I guessed that it is because of the hot weather. Going back to the beach area, I was sadden to find this 20 mm crushed beetle. It looked like a Chafer Beetle but I was not able to identify it as it was badly damaged.

The tide was rising and hence there was only a small stretch of beach. I intentionally go to the beach because I was hoping to find a type of Tiger Beetle (Cicindela sumatrensis) that are often seen at the beach. I have been wanting to snap a good photograph of it but were not successful because of its hyper-active running and flying around. For this trip, I am glad that I finally able to photograph it using my zoom lens. This beetle is about 15 mm in size.

While photographing the Cicindela sumatrensis Tiger Beetles, I was thrilled to find a smaller 10 mm first-time-encountered Tiger Beetle (Lophyra fuliginosa) running around the beach. Owning to its smaller size and hyper-activeness, it was quite a challenge trying to photograph it.

It was almost time to catch the ferry departing from the island (2.45 pm for weekdays), I was surprised to find this first-time-encountered 3 mm beetle scurrying on the patch of sandy ground that I was waiting to board the ferry. I am not sure what type of beetle it is.

The ferry had a 1-hour stop-over at the Kusu Island before returning to main land Singapore, and so I decided to go around the island to see if I can find any beetles. For those who does not know about Kusu Island, this island is significantly smaller than St John's Island (about 8.5 hectare). Walking around, I was surprised to find this small 15 mm Long Horned Beetle (Coptops annulipes) on a blade of the Mangrove Fan Palm (Licuala spinosa). Pardon the badly taken photograph as it was at a rather odd angle.

Although the number of beetles found on this trip was small, I am glad to be able to photograph the Cicindela sumatrensis Tiger Beetles and found two first-time-encountered beetles. This trip has inspired me to do a trip on beetles around the beach area, and hopefully it will be sometime soon. Although I didn't managed to find the Pachyteria dimidiata Long Horned Beetle, the trip was still considered fruitful.

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