Friday, January 15, 2010

A Quiet Afternoon @ MNT Boardwalk

In nature, many insects develop a symbiotic relationship with other organisms. These relationships are mainly mutualistic and thus the species involved are benefiting from each other's presence. An example of this mutualism is shown between many Lycaenid butterfly larvae and several ant species.

I spotted a group of black ants (Polyrhachis species ?) attending to a late instar larva on the underside of a Turn-in-the-wind leaf (Mallotus paniculatus). At last I managed to take a clear shot of this late instar larva of Semanga superba deliciosa. An excellent account of its life history can be found on the ButterflyCircle's Blog here.
Here is another example of ants living in symbiosis with a scale insect found on the same tree. Scale insects feed on tree sap and excrete honeydew which attracts the ants to protect them. A fast-growing evergreen, Turn-in-the-wind (Mallotus paniculatus) is an important shrub for observing insect-plant interactions. Here is yet another cricket-like insect that caught my attention, again found below a leaf surface.
I spent most of the time strolling on the boardwalk, looking out for subjects to photograph. It was a very quiet afternoon. Finally I saw and took a shot of this brilliantly coloured bracket fungus. These are another species of bracket fungus I believe. I am really hopeless in identifying fungus.
This is not a common posture of the Large Snow Flat (Tagiades gana gana). I was very lucky to see its underside and take a long distance shot. This spider was holding on to its prey very tightly. I wonder how long it would take to consume such a prey as big as its own size. Lastly, this very nice hoverfly with a pair of lovely wings kept teasing me for an in-flight shot. But I could only manage to take a quick shot when it rested on a vine.
Besides hunting for butterflies and other insects, I should also look out for opportunities photographing any interactions between species.

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