Thursday, June 4, 2009

How Many Species of Insects Were There ?

Usually when I don’t have much time to venture deep into our nature reserve areas, I would just drop by MacRitchie Reservoir. During a leisure walk on a fine Sunday morning (30 May), along the boardwalk which runs along the reservoir edge , I was dazzled by quite a number of six-legged critters along my way.

Quite a few of this Ropalidia sumatrae paper wasps (thanks John for the id) were seen foraging on the leaf surface. I am not sure what they were looking for.

The shot here is the dorsal view of another specimen.
Another paper wasp of the same species - this time a side view shot.This is another Ropalidia species of a small paper wasp, roaming on the foliage. I guess these wasps could not stay still in the early morning, giving me a hard time taking good shots on them. This sweat bee (Nomia sp.) was feeding voraciously on the flowers of the Singapore Rhododendron (Melastoma malabathricum). It never stayed still, displaying its various acrobatic stunts on the flowers It was interesting and entertaining to look at how this bee pollinating the flowers. However, photographing it was a big challenge. In the field, I didn't realise the colourful bands on the abdomen – it must be the camera flash lights that bring up the colours.I often encountered this tiny metallic green-bodied and red-eyed long-legged fly in urban parks also. Though it stayed quite still at times, getting a good shot was rather difficult due to the small size of this fly. When this Planthopper was moving on the foliage with both wings wide open and swaying up and down, it was quite an interesting sight to see - like a fighter jet. This Ceriagrion cerinorubellum damselfly was always found along reservoir edge or waterlogged areas in the nature reserves. A pair of greenish-blue eyes, the blueish-green thorax and the orange abdomen tip make this damselfly very colourful and attractive. This is Rhyothemis obsolescens. Its reddish-brown wings with some dark markings are quite recognizable. Most of the time, I noticed that it usually perched with the wings depressed. However, this particular shot was taken when its wings were almost horizontal in the morning sun.Two more dragonfly shots taken along the forest edge. This blue dragonfly looks like a male of Orthetrum glaucum. Another commonly seen dragonfly which appears to be a female Trithemis aurora was also found in the weedy areas along the fringe of the forest. I just wanted to see how a close-up shot on the eyes of the dragonfly would look like as it was surprisingly cooperative, allowing me to shoot at the minimum focus distance of my Tamron 180 mm lens. This shot was far from good as it does not show enough details.

This is a tumbling flower beetle (Glipa malaccana ? ) resting on this beautiful Rabbit's-foot fern (Davallia denticulata). Not sure what those orange things are, spores ? Quite a number of them were found foraging on the fronds of the ferns. The beautiful fern looks like this and it was found growing from the base of a palm tree. My disappointment of not shooting any butterflies was tentatively suppressed when I saw a orange skipper hiding in the shade. The black markings on the hindwings and the absence of the apiculus at the tip of the antennae suggests that this orange skipper may be a Taractrocera archias quinta.The size and some obscure dark-dusted spots on the hindwing beneath indicate the possibility of a Oriens gola pseudolus (Common Darlet) skipper. As usual, I can never be 100% sure of the identification of an orange skipper. Ypthima huebneri (Common Four Ring) is smaller than the Common Three Ring (Ypthima pandocus corticaria) and Common Five Ring (Ypthima baldus newboldi) butterflies. They all can be found quite easily near the sunlit grassy areas along forest edges. Clearly, the four yellow-ringed eye spots on the hindwing beneath gives rise to its common name. I don’t know much about any eight-legged creature like this, of course this is a spider but beyond that I have no clue. So, how many different insects were there ?


  1. Nice write-up and pictures, Fed!

    Hope to join you one of the weekend :)


  2. Bobby
    Sure. Will let you know.

  3. Heyo, just stumbled on your blog. Amazing macro photos man!

  4. Thanks Siyang
    Your blog at is very good. I enjoy reading it.

  5. Not bad. You can discover the insects that I had discovered !

  6. Thanks for the info provided here. Certainly a good place to share.

  7. Wonderfull pictures. THANKS !
    Jean-Michel from Nicaragua.