Tuesday, 17 March 2015

The Best of Pulau Ubin - Part 1

We only had 2 days to explore the island so we wasted no time in getting ourselves out there into the jungle, right after establishing our base camp. We travelled by van and foot to the different parts of the island to locate and photograph invertebrates that are known to be found only in that specific ecosystem. We already knew what we wanted to find and so it was just a matter of searching at the right location after narrowing them down, based on leads found on available literature. Take this juvenile Eight-spotted crab spider (Platythomisus octomaculatus) for example:

1. Apparently, this species of Thomisidae is very rare on both the mainland and its surrounding offshore islands. It took us 15-20 minutes to find our first specimen that night, which was not too bad. This young specimen obviously has a lot of growing up to do - It is missing the black marking on parts of its legs and cephalothorax. We are happy to report that a healthy population of them was observed within just a 100-meter stretch that we surveyed. Due to its rarity, we decided to photograph only one specimen and left the rest undisturbed. After all, we only wanted a record shot of it and nothing else.

2. Noticed that there are only 7 spots on its back. Where is the 8th spot?

3. It is on the underbelly of the spider!

4. Experimented quite a lot with backlighting that day.

5.  We made our way to the western part of the island to check out a part of the forest that is said to have a very healthy population of stick-insects. We found this Sparassidae close to an abandoned rubber plantation.

6. Close-up of this unidentified huntsman.

7. It has a leg span of about 2 inches with very beautiful greyish tone throughout its body.

8. Side view of this very attractive huntsman spider.

9. Just a picture of a twig?

10. Oh, wait.

11. Close-up of a "living twig"

12. We were looking at some ants when this little fella caught our attention.

13. Look at all the stuff on its back! There must be a practical reason for this hoarding behaviour.

 14. Top view of this industrious Geometridae.

15. Fangs of the Nephila sp., a very common orb-weaver on that island.

16. We found this tiny Orbweaver with an interesting web structural design.

17. Of course, the night wouldn't be complete without a scorpion. Many scorpions to be precise.

18. Another scorpion shot with backlighting.

19. Very shy Elephant weevil. We only managed a shot before it decided to play dead and rolled itself to safety. 

20. Leaf-mimicking flatid planthopper.

21. Another tiny Geometridae found hanging on a strand of silk.

22. It is surprisingly beautiful.

23. My "best" shot of the night, taken with a new raynox lens. This midge is only slightly bigger than the full-stop at the end of this sentence (1mm). Who would have thought that something so small could be this beautiful?

24. It was an extremely challenging to shoot because it was constantly swaying on the web. Here you can see me using the set-up with a DIY reflector to photograph this Midge.

Stay tuned for Part 2! 

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