Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Why Was USR So Quiet ?

I decided to visit Upper Seletar Reservoir Park (USR) on a fine Saturday (16 April) morning. The forest trails looked rather "eerie", full of spider webs cutting across my path and overgrown tree branches almost blocking up a side trail.

Lycaenids such as Arhopala species that were commonly sighted along a side trail were absent completely. Just one micro-moth gave me a bit of consolation - a rather reluctant shot though.
Quite a number of orange leaf beetles were munching the foliage at one quiet corner of the park where some strange Arhopala species had shown up before.
At the reservoir edge, a few orange skippers zipping around. One of them is Common Dartlet (Oriens gola pseudolus) - a relatively small size skipper, Common Dartlet does not have darken veins on the wings and those dusted markings on both the hindwings and forewings make this species quite identifiable.
However, I always have difficulty naming a Telicota species with confidence. TL Seow from ButterflyCircle has helped me to identify this to be a female Palm Dart (Telicota augias augias).
Once it perched on a sunlit spot, within seconds it would open its wings partially. Dr Seow explained that "The abdominal tip and the black 'hole' on the orange upperside indicates a female. T. colon & T. besta are eliminated as the females have the underside greenish ochreous. The greater amount of orange on the upperside costal area and the faintly (may be stretching the imagination a bit ) darkened veins on the hindwing band suggest this is T. augias female". Wow, I really learn a lot from Dr Seow, thanks !
Though Common Three Ring (Ypthima pandocus corticaria) has the least number of eye-spots called ocelli on the hindiwngs, it is one of the largest"Ring" butterflies in Singapore.
Is this a very small net winged beetle or something else ? It was balancing itself perfectly on a stem.
Lastly, there were many Lynx spiders out there to ambush their preys - staying rather still on the leaf waiting to hunt down any insects coming close to them.
USR is slowly losing its appeal for butterfly photographers. Though I don't see noticeable change in the vegetation and the surrounding habitats, something which I can't see may have gradually and quietly happened and affected the forest ecosystems ? I hope I am wrong.

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