Mad March (Macritchie!)

Macritchie reservoir, a place swarming with park-users who are, it seems mostly people (esp on e weekends). People go to Macritchie for strolls, to walk their dogs, to jog, run, kayak, do taichi, and in some cases, to watch nature.

Despite (and sometimes because of) its close proximity to urban areas, if people choose to slow down and open their eyes and ears, and perhaps see things from other perspectives, we’d start seeing another group of park-users (or maybe permanent residents). Macritchie is always crowded, even on weekdays. most people just don’t know it.

so earlier in march, Bernard and I decided to head over to Macritchie, even if it was only for an hour or so, on a weekday afternoon after school (spontaneous expeditions ftw!)

and we discovered this gossamer-winged beauty

Having trouble with ID-ing again. this guy was found within the first 5 metres of the boardwalk. and we spent about half an hour observing him o.o

Anyway, NParks and all have realised the usefulness and importance of Dragon and Damselflies in the control of ‘pests’ such as mozzies (their young feed on mosquito larvae underwater, and the adults snatch adult mozzies out of the air)

an article came out in the papers today, and Singapore’s International Year of Biodiversity 2010 blog has an article on them here: http://iyb2010singapore.blogspot.com/2010/03/dazzling-dragonflies-of-singapore.html

all dragonflies and damselflies are carnivorous, and their young are just as vicious, equipped with a modified lowerlip that can shoot out in less than seconds to snag unsuspecting fish, tadpoles, and mozzy babies.

also, dragonflies and damselflies are probably the only other group of insects capable of contending with the lepidopterans (butterflies and moths) in terms of aesthetic appeal (in other words, what we may define as ‘pretty’)

here are some that i’ve found in Macrtitchie and in School (which is only minutes away!)

Same guy as the dude above

A female Crimson Dropwing/Basker (Trithermis aurora) i think, found at our school’s biodiversity pond!

if you’re wondering why it ain’t crimson like its namesake, recall the point on sexual dimorphism in my previous post!

This is the male Crimson Dropwing:

okay so its kinda pinkish. but well.

the main way to distinguish between dragons and damsels are via their heads, abdomens and the position of wings at rest. Dragons have rather round heads in comparison to the cylindrical heads of damsels, and their abdomens are usually shorter and fatter. At rest, they also tend to have their wings spread out, while damsels fold their wings back.

like so. This is a Blue Sprite i think, (Pseudagrion microcephalum), also found at our school’s biodiversity pond!

yep its a damselfly.

As you can see, they all come in a myriad of colours 😀 (green yellow red and blue yay!)

Unfortunately, i haven’t been seeing the ones found in school around lately. My guess is that some of them moved over from macritchie, but disappeared after a while as the young which live in the pond would probably have been cleaned out (they eat fish after all) and as such new generations don’t take root D: (figurative!)

[fast forward]

the next week or so we returned again, with a few other nature buddies in tow.

and again we spent about 45 mins in total within the first 10 mins of the boardwalk, and this was what we found!

Iiits the primary colour gang! and i can’t ID any of them! i need help ><

the first two are herbivorous beetles, and the yellow dude is a spider. notice how in the beetles the antennae go from black to yellow near the ends? i wonder if they’re related..

Side view!

Continuing along the path, there were many other spiders as well!

a rather common weaver

a juvenile St Andrew’s Cross spider i think, they were everywhere lining the shrubbery at the water’s edge!

a really tiny spider! see it?

Zoomed in and cropped for close-up, just in case!

a common palmfly i think, taking a drink. the only time i get to shoot butterflies are when they’re feeding, srsly.

i believe this be a female Knight. Butteflies don’t only drink nectar, occasionally they may need to get minerals (salt?) from the ground which is why they sometimes land on the path, or from rotting stuff or poop. serious. butterflies feed on poop.

also, i finally managed to get a somewhat proper shot of this huge ants that are really common along the boardwalk.

It’s Spartant! with spiny golden armour! i never knew he looked like this heh (:

also as usual, the long-tailed-macaques were everwhere.

Family time! awwwww.

Then comes the highlight of the day, SKINKS!

The common sun skink/ many-lined skink

It wasn’t easy getting these shots i must say. Skinks are usually heard before they are seen, their presence given away by a characteristic slow rustling of dead leaves (which you can tell are made by an animal smaller than a monitor anw). they are often found swimming among the dead leaves, and are usually quick to run away. this pair seemed to be more interested in each other than me, so that gave me a chance to make my move >:D gooseberry! to get close enough i had to lie down on the boardwalk and inch my way closer though.

also, Skinks show variation in morphology (no not sexual dimorphism in this case i think). The colour of the flanks can vary from an olive-brown (above) to a reddish-orange (middle). Throat colour can vary from white to yellow as well.  It feeds mainly on insects and interestingly, gives birth to live young.

Skinks are diurnal and in the mornings, where there are sunny patches filtering through the leaves above to the forest floor, you may find them or other reptile friends basking, to heat up their bodies for the day. its interesting to look for the different animals this way, sun-loving animals such as reptiles and butterflies will be found in the patches of sun, while sun-hating animals such as scorpions and some spiders will be found at the opposite spectrum, hiding away in or under a rotting log.

yup so if you are someone who frequents parks and have never seen stuff like these before, well you’re missing out on life, quite literally.

just follow the guidelines for wandering and things will start appearing (:

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One response to this post.

  1. Very nice shots of the Sun Skink. Thank you for sharing : )

    Reply

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