Saturday, September 4, 2010

A Long-tailed Beauty @ AHBT

When you don't feel like walking a long distance to hunt for macro-subjects for a photography session, the butterfly trail at Alexandra Hospital (AHBT) is one of the best locations which can offer you good variety of species to increase the shutter counts. I dropped by there in the late morning on the last weekend of August.

The moment I stepped on the trail, I heard an intense high-pitched sound made by a cicada - I knew it was nearby. Scanning the tree trunk around me, I was lucky to see this well-camouflaged cicada (possibly Purana nebulilinea). Cicada is a sap-sucking insect which leads an ubiquitous life in lowland forest and woodland habitat - it reminded me the huge number of cicadas that I saw in a town park in Shinjuku, Toyko just two weeks ago.

While I was being directed by the sound of music made by the cicada, my line of sight met this fellow, a Ciliate Blue (Anthene emolus goberus) perching peacefully and cooperatively on a leaf.
The highlight of the day must be this long-tailed elegant lycaenid, the Common Imperial (Cheritra freja frigga) - a few of them chasing and frolicking amongst themselves. When one of them broke away from the group and perched, I quickly approached closer and snapped a few shots.There were a few Cycad Blues (Chilades pandava pandava) fluttering around their host plant - a Cycas species. This pristine mating pair became my models for a while - they were oblivious to my unwelcoming intrusion into their private life.This was a rather pristine but skittish Common Rose which refused to let me take more shots. I have not seen Common Rose (Pachliopta aristolochiae asteris) in our forested areas for a very long time - it appears that this species has become localised at AHBT and Singapore Botanic Garden. Perhaps it is time for us to deliberately spread its larval plant Aristolochia acuminata in our wild places.
Chocolate Demon (Ancistroides nigrita maura) is a permanent resident of this trail. Zipping around like any other skippers, it would still settle on a perch finally.
This is a side view of a bug. Can you guess what it is ?
Yes, it looks like a sting bug from this top view.
The size and the body shape of this nice-patterned insect may be a species of squash bug. I wonder why these bugs like to rest at the tip of the leaf.
It was a rather fruitful two-hour roaming and shooting in the trail. However, a concern is that I didn't see any Glassy Tiger butterfly that I used to see in the past. In fact, their larval host plants were slowly giving way to other vines. I hope that someone at AH continues to monitor and cultivate the larval host plants for Glassy Tiger and Common Tiger.

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