Saturday, August 29, 2009
Sunday, August 23, 2009
This male Blue Pansy (Junonia orithya wallacei) was trying to puddle on the sandy ground under the hot sun - very skittish and did not stay long on the ground. As the sunlight was direct and very harsh, I had to take this shot without the flash.
I could only manage the upperwing shot of this rather large orange skipper feeding on the flowers of Spermacoce prostrata.There were many hover flies like this hovering at low level, perching from flower to flower. The brilliant yellow flowers of the Yellow Flame tree (peltophorum pterocarpum) which I wrote about before attracted a few carpenter bees (Xylocopa latipes ).
While developing new communal facilities for the residents, we should also treasure and preserve the wildlife there especially the very localised and the less common species. It is my hope that we record the flora and fauna before the whole habitat is wiped out by the construction work.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
My very first shot of the morning was this black ant (Polyrhachis sp ?), quite large in size, roaming alone on a leaf.
This is a male Tyriobapta torrida which had the tendency to come back and rest on the tree trunk. The female seemed to exhibit the same behaviour - often resting on the tree trunk. The tree bark really provides her with good camouflage from any predators.This magnificent male Trithemis aurora, frequently perching and resting on top of a twig or stem with both wings depressing downwards is one of my favourite macro subjects. Its purplish pink thorax and abdomen really looks strikingly beautiful in the field. This is a female dragonfly which was shot around the same place as the male Trithemis aurora. But it does not look like a female of T. aurora. I am not sure what species this dragonfly is, perhaps a juvenile too. During outings, if there were no butterflies and other conspicuous critters for me to photograph, I looked for small critters. With a bit more concentration on small creatures, I could spot many little and cute beauties in nature.
I guess this is a beetle resting on a Wild Cinnamon (Cinnamomum iners) leaf.But its side view does not look like a beetle. What exactly is this little cutie ? My first impression of this small red beetle with a shiny body shell was a little circular "red dot" moving along the edge of a leaf. Not sure if it has eaten up part of the leaf. I usually saw Tiger beetles hunting for their preys on sandy ground. They were not easy subjects for macro-photography. However, I was lucky spotting this one flew past me and landed just a few metres in front of me. Not only the body, the colouration on the legs look attractive as well.
I used to ignore flies because they looked either too tiny or unattractive compared to butterflies. Since I started recording my fauna sightings on this blog, I have begun to pay attention to flies and other small insects as well. Now, I realise that there are a great varieties of fly in the forest. For example, I have never seen this small fly before. This Dark Brand Bush Brown was the only butterfly shot I took on the day when many butterflies seemed to go on mass hiding. It does not matter there are a lot lesser butterflies for me to photograph these days. I have started to train my eyes (my mind as well) to look for eggs, larvae and other tiny beauties in our nature which have always been neglected.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Bearing in mind that I had to be at Butterfly Lodge in the evening , so, I decided to go for a short outing to the Central Catchment Area (CCA) in the afternoon after lunch.
Recently, SC, one of the veteran member of ButterflyCircle (BC) successfully recorded the life history of this species on another host plant, Derris trifoliata (see here).
With some BC members' relentless effort and enthusiasm in breeding butterfly larva to adulthood and documenting the whole process, we will slowly discover that many butterfly species do have alternative larval host plants. The knowledge we gain will help us in our work of butterfly conservation.
1. Neocheritra amrita amrita (Grand Imperial)
2. Flos anniella anniella
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
First shot of the morning was this little Assassin bug feeding on the Leea indica flowers, slightly above my eye level.
I could see many more Asian foreigners then locals were trekking towards the Kent Ride Park direction. Perhaps, at this time of the year, many tourists are in town to celebrate our National Day too.
I decided to check out the site where some Butterfly Circle members found a rare Nacaduba species a few months ago. Again, I had no luck but I managed to spot this mating pair of Logania marmorata damis. Logania marmorata damis is a rather unattractive and inconspicuous Lycaenid butterfly. In the field, its fight pattern is rather erratic and appears in a zig-zag manner. I have not seen this species feeding on flowers. Very frequently, it was found together with ants because its larvae are known to feed on aphids.
This small fly was shot near the Alkaff Mansion. Look carefully, its tail end of the abdomen looks like its head. So I guess this is a form of decoy tactic used by insects to escape from their predators. [Note : I got it wrong completely - a pair of mating flies here. Thanks.]
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Just outside the forest, we saw this Plain Tiger (Danaus chrysippus chrysippus) resting on a grass blade. This was my first sighting of a Plain Tiger along this part of the forest fringe. This is a male as there are four black discal spots on the underside hindwing.
Pygmy Grass Blue (Zizula hylax pygmaea) is a very small but common butterfly which usually flutters amongst wild flowers at low level, along road sides or forest edges. This species can be easily mixed up with another equally common and look-alike species, Lesser Grass Blue (Zizina otis lampa). On the hindwing underside of Pygmy Grass Blue, apart from the three spots near the base, other discal and post-discal spots form a circular shape.Here is another shot from a different angle when this loving couple changed their position slightly.
Before we entered the forest, a female dragonfly was found resting peacefully on a slender stem of a climber. I had to wait patiently for the stem to stop swaying in the morning breeze to get a few shots. Malay Viscount (Tanaecia pelea pelea) is another very common forest resident. We usually find it making short gliding flights from perch to perch on the upperside of a leaf on a sunlit day.SC spotted this large pupa belonging to a Papilionid butterfly. It was dead and I could see some small flies or perhaps wasps flying around it. What a sad ending for this pupa.This small but very attractive and prominent black-spotted red beetle was found on a leaf along the main forest trail. The edges of its shell (or the wings ?) look fluffy to me. The rather long and multi-segmented antennae really look interesting and unusual.
Here is a dorsal view. This shot shows how reflective the surface of the beetle is. Shooting without an external flash in a shady forested environment, I was greatly challenged to get a good shot of this tiny beauty. Is this a moth or a butterfly ? Make a guess before you read on. Many butterfly photographers were fooled by this forest moth before as it behaves and looks very similar to a butterfly in the field. It belongs to the moth family Callidulidae and there is a few similar species that we may encounter in the forest undergrowth.
This hairy moth caterpillar was found foraging on a leaf surface. Not sure what it is. I spotted a lurking spider resting on a leaf not far away from the caterpillar, perhaps waiting for its prey coming to its way.A rather quiet day in terms of butterfly activities in the forest, our outing to this stretch of forest ended when the sky turned gloomy. After a quick lunch (where we met BJ and CM) we headed for Bah Soon Pah Road where Butterfly Lodge is situated.