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Thursday, 31 May 2012

A Scary Caterpillar

Being at the bottom of the food chain is not easy for caterpillars. They have to use all kinds of tricks to avoid becoming a bird’s snack.  This caterpillar displays large eyespots in order to deter its predators. 

At first, I thought the eyespots were on its head.

A closer look reveals that its head is actually very small and the two big eyespots are on its back. 

I can understand why this strategy works because no matter which angle you look at the caterpillar, its two big eyes are staring right into your eyes.  Very scary indeed! 

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to identify the caterpillar. Any suggestions are appreciated.

More images at Google+

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Romantic Season For Butterflies

Spring is not only a romantic season for birds, butterflies are in the mood for love too.

This female Great Mormon swallowtail butterfly was busy enjoying its nectar.

What she didn’t see was that love was in the air as she was being watched by a male Great Mormon

The male went closer and closer when he realized that the female was too concentrated on the food to take notice of him. 

Finally, he got her attention and both flew away together, presumably to a more private spot (away from my camera!). 

These two Common Five-rings were not that lucky and they were caught in the act.

Common Five-ring

This pair of Common Sailors, however, were not shy in displaying their feelings towards each other on top of a tree.

Common Sailor

It looks like we will be able to see many beautiful caterpillars very soon.

More photos at Google+

Saturday, 19 May 2012

A little fighter---Fish vs Grey heron

Herons, especially the Grey heron, are famous for their fishing skills, but not if they meet their match.

I saw this Grey heron fishing in a shallow river. 

After a while, it caught a small fish. 

As the heron was about to swallow it, suddenly, the fish struggled and slipped into the water. 

The heron picked it up immediately. To its surprise, the little fish was not prepared to give up without a fight, and managed to flee again. 

I guess the heron was too hungry to let the small fish go. It captured the fish from the water again for the third time! 

I thought this must be the end of the fish’s life. To my amazement, this time the tiny fish fought even harder. 

Then suddenly the fish stopped moving. 

The heron (and I)  thought that it had finally got its meal. Unexpectedly, to my astonishment the little creature started moving again and slipped through the heron’s mouth, 

and escaped into the water! The heron seemed too shocked to respond. 

It finally gave up fishing altogether and left. The whole event lasted just over a minute.

It reminded me of the saying “where there’s a will, there's a way”.  I wish the clever little fish all the best after winning the war against the giant predator.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Teamwork---Metanastria Gemella (moth) Caterpillars

It is not difficult to spot caterpillars feeding on the same plant as many species of them are known to live in colonies. However, seeing dozens of caterpillars resting on a tree trunk in the bright daylight is quite new to me.

I observed them for over 2 weeks and found that they came back to the same tree trunk and almost the same spot day after day.

Sometimes they even laid on top of each other.

In fact these caterpillars are the larvae of the Metanastria gemella (moth). Apparently, they feed at night and spend daytime resting on the tree trunk. 

The teamwork leads to “safety in numbers” which provides a better chance of survival against predators. 

To me, they created very pretty artistic patterns.

More images at Google+