Saturday, September 19, 2009

Where Have Butterflies Gone To ?

While I was on my way to the Punggol wasteland, I realised that I did not have the necessary stuff for trans-locating the No Brand Grass Yellow butterfly (Eurema brigitta senna ) to a new site. So I headed to Lornie Trail (LT) instead.

My first shot of the morning on 12 September was this very tiny treehopper. A few ants were seen roaming around it and at times the ants even climbed over the body of the treehopper. Interesting interaction there but I don't know what exactly it was. BJ and CM came to join me late in the morning. BJ spotted this pristine female Archduke (Lexias pardalis dirteana) near the exercise station at LT. Usually, Archduke was seen on damp ground along jungle trail with both wings opened. Take a closer look at the apex of the antennae, the orange tips separate the other two lookalikes and rarer species from this species.
There were quite a number of dragonflies and damselflies near the golf course area. I was always amazed by the acrobatic positions that Odonata species shown when they were in copulation positions. This brilliantly coloured mating pair of Ceriagrion cerinorubellum was no exception. I got a few shots taken from the edge of the reservoir at a rather low angle. There were a few very pretty blue damselflies which look like the shot shown here. This looks like a male Pseudagrion australasiae.
A slow-flying pair was spotted just above the water surface. They were flying in tandem and it looked like the male was guarding the female. This in-flight shot was my best attempt out of many blur shots. Soon, the female was fully submerged in the water, ovipositing her eggs while the male was still in contact with her. The male let go the female but he was seen "waiting" for the female (not shown in the picture) while she was laying eggs underwater. After a while, when I used a twig to stir the water, the female got back to the same position as shown in the 2nd picture above.This rather large dragonfly with very striking yellow markings on its body kept darting from perch to perch. It looks like a Ictinogomphus decoratus. This particular specimen was very alert whenever I came close to it. I had to position myself near a twig, waiting patiently for it to land there. The pointed and triangular shape of the last abdominal segment is rather distinctive in this species. This is another shot on a different perch. Another relatively tamer and smaller dragonfly was nearby. This looks like a male Aethriamanta gracilis , a permanent resident in this area. This red dragonfly occasionally appeared in my sight. I am not sure if this is Rhodothemis rufa. On our way back to the carpark, CM spotted this spider on a palm leaf along the trail. Another lousy day for butterfly photography. The number of butterflies in our nature reserves has been quite pathetic for many weeks. Where have they gone to ? I wish I knew the answer.

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