It started off as a casual shoot at a location we do not frequent. The night was filled with relentless mosquitos and the wet, muddy terrain made it even worse. It was also my first time seeing such large numbers of Golden-spotted Tiger Beetles, yellow Lynx Spiders, Swamp Eels and Crickets, all within a straight ~150-200m walk. Regardless of the sheer number of common subjects that night, it was a wonderful opportunity to practice and get improvement shots….until we spotted something amazing, something that kept us busy for a good hour or so. But before that, here are some other arthropods we came across.
Disclaimer: Locations for macro shoots would not be disclosed to protect the arthropods from poaching.
Tiger beetles are these cool metallic beetles with crazy huge jaws. If you stroll along any of our nature parks, chances are high that you will see tiger beetles on the ground, however, they are so skittish in the day that its near impossible to get close. Thankfully for us, we can safely admire and photograph them at night when they are more cooperative. Usually we would spot one or two individuals, but in this particular location, the numbers were crazy, easily 50 or more. Check out some of the shots below!
This particular species is the Golden-spotted Tiger Beetle (Cicindela aurulenta) and its the most common Tiger Beetle we have in Singapore. Whats interesting about their mating behaviour is something called ‘Mate-guarding’ (the bottom two photos). The males use their large mandibles to grab onto the thorax of the female to prevent any other males from mating with his partner. This behaviour can last for a really long time until the male is satisfied that the other suitors are discouraged. First time seeing this!
Here’s the more uncommon Neocollyris celebensis. Only one individual was spotted that night and it flew away before I could get a nicer background…
Two species of Shield Bugs dropped by, namely the Giant Shield Bug (Pycanum rubens) (top) and Shield Bug (Cantao ocellatus) (bottom).
This Garden Spider (Parawixia dehaani) we found had a much redder colouration than previous Garden Spiders I’ve photographed before. I actually checked my white balance multiple times just to make sure I captured accurate colours. I noticed that it has yellow hairs on the sides of its carapace too, something I have never noticed before. Gorgeous arachnid!
The World’s smartest spider, capable of designing tactics and assessing situations to hunt. This particular species is Portia labiata and it was spotted hiding on the underside of some leaves. Interested in learning about why its named the smartest hunter? Check out this short documentary clip by BBC Earth to find out more 🙂 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDtlvZGmHYk
Lynx Spiders (Oxyopes birmanicus) were everywhere that night. Something interesting about Lynx Spiders are the long hairs on its legs that act as a basket to trap prey when it hunts!
Juvenile Crab Spiders waiting in ambush on a single blade of long grass.
Huntsman Spider and Twig Spider with egg sac
Here we go……if you are following me at @thru_de_lenz on Instagram, you may have seen all the hype where my friends and I chanced upon one rare and unusual critter. In my many years of venturing down the roads less travelled, I have witnessed a fair share of weird, strange looking creepy crawlies that never cease to amaze me. This one was no exception. To be honest, I was slightly creeped out by this critter that looked like it came straight out of some sci-fi movie, kinda like the first time you see a house centipede up close. Thankfully the sole specimen was feeding on a leaves that was within our reach and was cooperative in allowing us to properly document the sighting.
Wait. What is that?? Why does that caterpillar have 4 long legs?? It looked like mix between a stick insect, a centipede and a caterpillar. Excitement filled the air, we weren’t even sure if this species was even recorded in Singapore before! The second the caterpillar noticed our presence, it curled up into this defence/general resting posture and thats when we started shooting away! Soon after it got comfortable with us, it started feeding again, showing off those long thoracic legs.
Doesn’t it look freaky?! We managed to identify the species as a Lobster Moth Caterpillar (Neostauropus alternus) and soon after I contacted my friend Sean, who specialises in entomology, he referred me to this publication by Dr T.M. Leong (https://lkcnhm.nus.edu.sg/app/uploads/2017/06/2008nis159-164.pdf) written in 2006 on the sighting of this species in Singapore. Prior to the publication, the only data collected on the occurrence of this species was from 88 years ago. This truly is one rare caterpillar. Do read the publication to learn more about this species!! Dr Leong has since been notified about the recent sighting.
So what do you think? Is this the best find of 2018 so far?
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#macrophotography #singapore #biodiversity #wildlife #discovery #insects #arthropods #photography