The Un-Spider Harvestman

Lower Peirce Reservoir
North, Singapore
May 2013

Lower Peirce today before the storm was a bevy of surprises. There were lots of ants marching around. (Remember, ants are nature's barometer!) The insects were also restless, buzzing around looking for places to hide.

Lepidoptera (Butterflies & Moths)

Merlion Wayfarer spotted many butterflies. Most were skittish due to the impending thunder clouds and the hordes of people today. These were the few that she managed to capture:
  • Nymphalidae : Tanaecia Iapis Puseda (Horsfield's Baron) Male - One who stopped by the common walkway and flapped its wings periodically...
  • Lycaenidae : Zeltus Amasa Maximinianus (Fluffy Tit) - The butterfly with a colourful name and flowing long streamers!

  • Nymphalidae : Faunis Canens Arcesilas (Common Faun) - A shy commoner who sat quietly on a bush until a herd of stomping elephants walked by...

When Merlion Wayfarer could not find this standing caterpillar on butterfly websites and forums, she suspected that it was a moth cat. True enough, some websites have identified similar-looking ones as Schinia (Flower Moth) caterpillars.


Arachnida (The 8-Legged Ones)

Merlion Wayfarer found this trip an interesting spider trip too:

  • Two ant-mimicking Salticidae (Jumpers) were spotted inside a leaf rolled with their webs. Seeing one, especially inside a rolled leaf, is common for Merlion Wayfarer. But two? Hmmm...

  • At first sight, this looked like Telamonia Festiva (Jolly Telamonia). On expanding her shots, Merlion Wayfarer noticed that it was still a juvenile with its fluorescent blue tinge. Well, after some tallying of the eye arrangement and the stripes on its abdomen, Merlion Wayfarer verified that this is a male Phintella Versicolor (Multi-Coloured Phintella).

  • Two Nephilengys Malabarensis (Malabar Spiders) were spotted near the boardwalk today - Slightly different in colour, but nonetheless wicked-looking!

Merlion Wayfarer finds orb-weavers like the Malabars make very good photo subjects - when you can catch them at the right angle or if they are hungry enough...

Nephilengys Malabarensis (Malabar Spider), Lower Peirce Reservoir, September 2012 & Opadometa Fastigata (Pear-Shaped Leucauge) Spider, Dairy Farm, February 2013

Opiliones (Harvestmen)

It is only today that Merlion Wayfarer that technically, certain sources are not regarding some species of Daddy Long Legs as spiders. However, they still belong to the Arachnida class - Arachnids, or rather, joint-legged invertebrate animals with 8 legs.

Hmmm, why are they not spiders?
  • Spiders' bodies consist of two parts - the cephalothorax and the abdomen. Certain Daddy Long Legs have their heads, thoraxes, and abdomens all fused together
Araneidae (Orb-Weaver) Spider, Lower Peirce Reservoir, September 2012

Tetragnatha Mandibulata (Common Big-Jawed Spider), Punggol Park Connector, 20 August 2012

  • Instead of the spider's usual eight eyes, these Daddy Long Legs have just two. And these two are located about 1/4 down their bodies instead of at the top of their heads.
Harvestman, Lower Peirce Reservoir Park, March 2012
It was hard to spot today's Harvestman among the trees and shrubs at Lower Peirce. This was what caught Merlion Wayfarer's eye at first - some dangling "threads" on a tree trunk...

Look how it can embed its body into the crevices in the trunk!

The proportion of its legs is 10x the length of its body!

The Others

A few other interesting sights that Merlion Wayfarer chanced upon:
  • A grasshopper embroiled in a webbed leaf...

  • These little ones - Macronous Gularis (Pin-Striped Tit Babblers) - having some fun in the thistle...
    [Thanks for the ID, Hanno]

  • A whole family of squirrels were around near the water edge - jumping from tree to tree and chirping merrily. This is the smaller Sundasciurus Tenuis (Slender Squirrel), which has big melty puppy dog eyes and looks relatively more adorable than its Callosciurus Notatus (Plantain Squirrel) cousin, which is distinguished by an orange belly. 
Right - Callosciurus Notatus (Plantain Squirrel), Ang Mo Kio Town Garden West, August 2012 

  • By the water's edge, a pair of Pseudagrion Microcephalum (Blue Sprite) are in love...

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