Archive for January, 2012

Giant Spider Season!

So after a long nature hiatus, I decided to revisit good ol ¬†Ubin on Saturday, accompanied by Sam and Ruici. It’s always an uncomfortable feeling, trudging through bicycle alley with all the rental shop owners trying to convince you to rent their bikes. It’s hard to patronize one without feeling kinda bad for rejecting the others, especially when there aren’t a lot of other people so you’re the only customers. So after renting our bikes, we headed out, and it was soon very apparent that it was once again Nephila season! I spotted at least 10 females of varying sizes in the fringing trees in the first 50 metres or so, so many I eventually stopped bothering to look at each individual. Along this journey, the Great Mormons and many other butterflies were out in droves, since it was the active time for butterflies. Also spotted were a Changeable Hawk Eagle sitting in a tree (photo will be posted when Sam sends – Edit: and here it is! ) and an Emerald Dove waddling about the forest floor. Somewhere along one of the off-road bike paths, we encountered a Nephila (pilipes) actively wrapping it’s moth victim in silk, so i finally decided to bring out Snowy (my camera). Not sure if moth or butterfly.. Pardon the darkness, failed to notice i was shooting against the sun. The calls in the background are from four Stork-billed Kingfishers, according to Ruici’s estimates. So as seen, the conventional way of embalming the prey involves spinning the prey with the front feet like a reel, while pulling silk threads from the spinnerets over the prey with the hind legs. After a few more layers of silk wrapping

Spider webs are truly amazing structures

This one looks like a space station (Photo by Sam)



And you can see the slightly golden sheen in this web that gives the Nephilas their common name, the Golden Orb Weavers (photo by Sam)

We also encountered two baby monitors (one malayand and one clouded), both the sizes of ¬†Changeable Lizards! So cute! The only shot i could get, before it scampered off :/ And here’s a horrible photo of a garden spider We then headed over to the small butterfly garden, where we took photos of everything but butterflies. (note – dollarbird and strange raptor sighted from here!) Fancy little orthopteran nymph Dew-covered web, feat. spider. Quite strange, since it was already late morning! One of a pair of cyptic heteropterans

What we referred too as the blue aluminium baseball bat. It’s defininitely a beetle, just not sure what kind.


And then there was this grasshopper that shied away from Snowy




Speaking of orthopterans, on a leaf further up lurked this katydid (which is a name totally begging to be used as a bad pun)

Interesting fact about katydids – their hearing organs, unlike most other insects, are located on the “knees” of their forelegs, instead of their chests

Also seen was this common leafhopper

Nothing to say!

And this ant-mimic salticid

Whiiiiich cannot be seen clearly ><. The spider is the one on top, grasping onto its ant prey with its mouthparts (chelicera). This guy had a zipline between a tree and a fence that was swarming with kerangas, my guess is that it swiped an individual from under (or over, in this case) it’s sibling army’s noses and took it out to the middle of the zipline so it had no way to escape.

Overall it was a fruitful, refreshing trip, and this was a very laggy post. I really need to get out more :/


2011 in review (9 posts? Should stop being so lazy..)

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,400 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.