Despite the warm and dry weather coupled with the Chinese New Year long holiday in February, I still ventured out for my weekly macro outings as usual. There were hardly any dew in the early morning and it got fairly windy after 9.00 am onwards which was not the best condition for macro photography. Nevertheless, I am happy to have captured some interesting images to share here.
(1) Zhenghua Forest
Zhenghua Forest is the best place to photograph Leaf-footed bugs. They get their name from the flattened tibia of the hind leg, which gives this segment a leaf-like appearance. The adult of this species can grow up to about 30mm long. The very young ones can be smaller than 10 mm in size and they usually stay close together as seen in the image below. My guess is that this helps to make them look bigger from afar to scare away potential predators.
Here is a twin enjoying the morning sun:
Another twin strolling along the leave with a moulted exoskeleton of an adult underneath.
Not too far away, a large uncommon katydid was spotted on a plant. I like the way it moved, very slowly and elegantly. It had interesting looking eyes which I wanted to have a close-up shot but it was too shy and leaped away.
A surprise find was a common white crab spider having a large meal. A closer look revealed a tiny brown male crab spider just underneath the female’s abdomen. This is the mating position. Female crab spiders are known to eat the much smaller males once mating is finished. So in order to decrease the chances of being eaten, the males often choose to mate when the females are too preoccupied with its meals as in this case.
(2) NTU Hiking Trailing
It was almost a year ago since my last visit to NTU Hiking Trailing on 16 Feb 2014. Here are 2 images showing the site condition:
The first subject that I found was a common orange assassin bug. They are usually quite sensitive to human and difficult to get close. On this occasion, I was lucky that it stayed obediently under the cover of a leaf looking curiously at me.
The next insect that greeted me was a planthopper which sit motionlessly on a leave. The name comes from their resemblance to leaves and other plants of their environment and from the fact that they often “hop” for quick transportation in a similar way to that of grasshoppers. However, planthoppers generally walk very slowly so as not to attract attention. It didn’t move at all during the 10 minutes period that I was shooting it.
I am always fond of shooting jumping spider because of their attractive big forward-facing round eyes. Here is a little one of about 1 cm in size. Its lightning fast attack gave this equally tiny long-horned hopper no chance to escape. A truly formidable predator!
Crab spider with prey used to be a common sight but it has become quite rare in the last few years. So, I was glad to find a white crab spider with a field cockroach as prey here. The white flowers Mile-a-minute (Mikania micrantha) is a perfect camouflage for this crab spider species. This is already my 3rd encounter (Zhenghua Forest, Clementi Woods & NTU Hiking Trail) of such scene in the past 2 months.
(3) Mandai Forest
The flowers of Spanish Needle, scientifically known as Bidens Pilosa, were in full bloom around Mandai forest. These are popular hiding spots for crab spiders to ambush their preys.
Most jumping spiders are active during the day and behave like eight-eyed leopards, stalking and pouncing on victims. Here is one that was enjoying its breakfast when I spotted it.
Although lynx spiders are very common in Singapore, images of a mother with its miniature babies are rarely seen. We were fortunate to find one happy family here, my only 2nd sighting so far.
Beside spiders, there were plentiful of Gram Blue, a small butterfly species.
Allan found a strange bug of about 2 cm long. It looks very much like an ant but with 2 antennas. I hope someone can help us to ID this insect.
(4) Rifle Range Nature Trail
Although this was the fourth day of Chinese New Year, there were many people enjoying their morning walk here. Not a particularly good day for macro shooting as I had only 2 images to share. This is a jumping spider on an interesting backlit leaf.
An interesting find was an uncommon assassin bug with a stink bug as prey found near the wetland. It was very windy and this was the best I could manage.
(5) Mandai Green
My last visit to Mandai Green was more than 2 years ago. It used to be a good macro site with a wide variety of insects such as dragonflies, spiders, butterflies, ladybird, hoppers, caterpillars, changeable lizard, squash bugs, etc. However, it was not the case now. Although the place didn’t change really much, Kyaw Htay and I had a hard time finding subjects to photograph. Beside some common butterflies, I could only spot katydids and hoppers. Hope this was due to the dry weather rather than anything else. It was a disappointing outing but I was contented to get this shot, one of my favourite images taken this month.
Long-horned hopper has super long feelers which I had difficulty getting them into the frame. I chose to cut off one of the them to reduce negative space. I like this image because the translucent green hopper works very well with the pink wild flowers. The curve of the plant also goes nicely with the shape of the insect. And the excellent natural backlighting makes it a delightful image. Here is a similar shot in dark background which I think it works too.