Sunday, February 3, 2013

Critters @ NTU's Vicinity

It has been quite a long time since my last group outing with ButterflyCircle members. Thanks Khew for giving me a lift on 6 Jan to the Community Herb Garden at Nanyang Technological University (NTU). My first shot of the morning was this Malayan Eggfly (Hypolimnas anomala anomala) at a wasteland outside NTU - in fact there were quite a few of them fluttering in that area.
We didn't spend much time at the wasteland. Instead, we crossed the road to visit the Community Herb Garden. The pink berries and some fermented dry fruits of the the Singapore Rhododendron (Melastoma malabathricum) shrubs attracted a few species of butterflies. First, a female Colour Sergeant (Athyma nefte subrata) was "intoxicated" by a pink colour fruit. 
This female Silverstreak (Iraota rochana boswelliana) created some excitement among us. There was a male zipping around but I didn't have the luck to see  it.    
An old and haggard  Commander (Moduza procris milonia) was also attracted by the ripe berries - it stayed and fed on the fruit for a while. These pink berries are edible and they taste rather nice for me.       
Indeed, these pink ripe fruits were juicy; no wonder this Malay Staff Sergeant (Athyma reta moorei) was persistent in getting its share, trying to chase the Commander away.  
At last it found a sweet spot high on the tree.
A male Baron (Euthalia aconthea gurda) perched above my head. I could only take its underside shot.
This Chocolate Demon (Ancistroides nigrita maura) was found along the fence of the garden.
As I didn't see any new species visiting the garden, I went back to the wasteland - this time I adventured  deeper into it. At a shady forested area, I saw this orange skipper which looked like a Lesser Dart (Potanthus omaha omaha).  
Very few critters offered me good opportunities to shoot. However, an Autmum Leaf pupa in its early stage was attractive enough for me. 
I also could not resist to snap a few quick shots of this fly hovering in front of me.
This day-flying moth perhaps the Pompelon marginata  flew past me and rested on a leaf when I was looking at a tall rambutan tree.
What kind of grasshopper is this ? It certainly looked strange to me.
In the early afternoon, we headed to a patch of forested area to look for The Harlequin (Taxila haquinus haquinus). We spotted quite a number of them at one location. However, they were rather alert and skittish this time. As far as I know, this beautiful lycaenid can only be found here regularly. I am worried that its habitat may be gone. 

The hindwing markings of this Arhopala species found in a deep shade of the forest suggested that it could be a Arhopala major major, but with some aberrations - this was my first sighting of a Arhopala species here.
BJ and I visited the location where I first discovered  and shot the Yellow Flat (Mooreana trichoneura trichoneura) last December. But we could not find any adult. Instead, we hung around its host plant and looked for any larvae or egg.  We could only found two dead young larvae like this.
Finally, I noticed that the larvae of the Yellow Flat ate the leaves in a special pattern like this.
With this observation, we managed to find a few larvae. Here is a shot of one of the smallest larvae. A detailed write-up of the complete life history of this species should be published in the near future  in the BC's blog
Many thanks to Mr Ng, the person in-charge of the garden for offering us very nice self-made herbal drinks on a rather hot Sunday morning. The Community Herb Garden is run by Mr Ng and a group of volunteers. They need the support from the public and the endorsement of the university so that this herb garden would be well-maintained, benefiting the public and the NTU community. Read here for more information.

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