Friday, November 20, 2009

Some Interesting Critters@USR

Playing tennis at Cherry Hill Condominium with my alma mater from River Valley High School followed by a breakfast chatting session at Kopitiam has been my Sunday's routine. Taking a break On 15 Nov allowed me to head out to Upper Seletar Reservoir Park (USR) on a cloudy Sunday morning,

My first encounter of a critter was this beautiful Long-horned Beetle (Chloridolum sp) resting on a Wild Cinnamon leaf surface. This shot of its side view reveals its iridescent colours of the body and legs. However, the dorsal view is not as spectacular as the side view. The appearance of a Long-horned beetle is quite different from many other beetles due to its cylindrically elongated body shape and a pair of antennae as long as its whole body length.
This critter was found feeding on flowers of Mile-a-minute (Mikania micrantha). I thought it was a wasp but when I take a closer look on the computer screen, it does not look like one. So I am not sure what it is or perhaps a firefly ?Here is another shot from the side, showing a clear view of the relatively large hind legs. This is another all-orange beetle foraging on Mile-a-minute leaves. It looks like a kind of leaf beetle.
What is that thing hanging below its abdomen ?
There were quite a few Prodasineura notostigma damselflies near a stream. I always found this species around there. It appears that the blue markings on the thorax of these two shots look slightly different.Near the reservoir edge, I was taken aback by this large hornet, likely to be a Vespa tropica (Greater Banded Hornet) (Thanks John for identifying it) foraging slowly on the soggy ground. I took a shot afar, observed its behaviour a while then decided approaching closer to take more shots.
This very small, drab and dull-looking moth has a pair of long antennae which attracted my attention when it landed on a grass blade.Finally I was able to shoot a butterfly, Lesser Darkie (Allotinus unicolor unicolor). Though not a fast flyer, the duration of its zigzag and erratic flight would really test the limit of my patience to wait for it settling down. Its toothed edge along the hindwing outer margin is rather unique. A rather large red-eyed skipper, Coconut Skipper (Hidari irava) could be found quite regularly at USR. It zipped past me and perched a few times but it was too skittish for me to get closer. Finally I did it. At first, it was so sensitive to the flash light that it would "jump" whenever I snapped. So my first few shots were all blur but luckily at least one shot turned out quite acceptable and it revealed part of its upperside markings - a rather rare moment. This crab-shaped Curved Spiny Spider (Gasteracantha arcuata) was found near a shady stream. It was patiently waiting on its webs initially. It moved behind the leaf when it sensed that there was some disturbance to the webs. This head shot does not look like the head of the spider at all as I cannot figure out confidently where the eyes and the mouth are .
Lastly, I also saw two different fungi. This one looks like a kind of wild mushroom growing on some decayed substrate. There were many tiny flies hovering around this reddish fungus which appeared to be elastic with a smooth and translucent surface. We are in the midst of the year-end monsoon season which brings along lots of rain fall. It will be interesting to see and document how flora and fauna in our nature reserves adapt and react to the wet weather.

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