Wednesday, March 10, 2010

My Second Visit to Semakau Island Part 1

Thanks Khew for organising as well as sponsoring this butterfly survey for ButterflyCircle members on 7 March. After about 20-minute of smooth and comfortable boat ride, we reached Semakau island around 9:30 . An NEA officer was already there to receive us. Read more about the outing here.

I decided to check out a portion of the grassland first while some other members went straight to the forested area.

Not very far away from where the first shelter is, BJ and I found some host plants of the Common Tiger (Danaus genutia genutia) Cynanchum ovalifolium. Most of them look very young and vulnerable. I hope the recent weeks of drought will not threaten the survival of this vine which is becoming less abundant. This is a record shot of a solitary male Common Tiger feeding on a Coat Button (Tridax procumbens) flower. From the non-green background of this shot, you can imagine how dry this place was. Though there were quite a few Blue Pansy, Two-spotted Line Blue and Tawny Costa, Lycaenids and skippers fluttering and zipping around, these butterflies were extremely skittish, alert and restless, perhaps the intense radiating heat also affected them as much as human beings.

The moment I noticed this orange skipper resting on a leaf, I quickly approached closer and snapped a few shots. It appears to be a Common Palm Dart (Telicota colon stinga).Here is another skipper. After a few minutes of high-speed flashing flight, it decided to rest on a dry Lalang leaf. I could only get a long distance shot. There were many hoverflies both in the grassland and the forested areas. A few of them were seen chasing each other but most of the time they were busy visiting flowers.This carpenter bee appears to be smaller than a particular female Xylocopa confusa. In addition, the brown patches on the wings make me think that it might be a different species. It was found resting on a dry stem. I almost had to lie on the ground to take this shot with a blue-sky view in the background. This is another shot from the side. I wonder what that little red thing near the end of the abdomen.
Every 15 minutes of searching and hunting (yes, not much shooting) in the open field, I was exhausted by the heat wave and had to look for a shady tree nearby. This was how I noticed this Lacewing hanging on a Lalang when I was taking a break under a big Acacia tree. I think the common name of this attractive pale yellow flower is African Morningvine (Xenostegia tridentata Family : Convolvulaceae ). It is a perennial vine with arrow-shaped leaves, growing relatively well in the grassland near a big Rhu tree.
More information on this vine can be found here. I don't remember I saw this Cucumis maderaspatanus when I first visited Semakau last January. This wild climber with sprawling stems, producing small melon-like fruits was doing very well in one particular area in the field.
You will be surprised this tiny flower can produce such a nice-looking edible fruit.
After about 90 minutes of sun-tanning in the open field, I felt quite exhausted and decided to head back to the shelter to replenish my energy level. In part 2, I will write about my encounter in the forested areas.

1 comment:

  1. I suspect the red thing on the bee's abdomen might be a parasitic mite of some sort.