Sunday, October 25, 2009

Stick Insect Country at Ubin on 25 Oct 2009

This morning, I met up with Dr Chua and Angie for to take a look at the Noordin area on Pulau Ubin. To save time, we decided to book a Mr Yeo's van instead of walking all the way to Noordin Beach.

The weather was very fine, and we were all in a rather cheerful mood, until we saw this.

Many of the benches were badly burned! We suspected that someone probably put charcoal on the benches to bbq their food. It's really unfortunate that some of the visitors to Pulau Ubin were so uncivilised and inconsiderate.

Unknown Climber
Near the shelter, Angie saw this climber which we didn't know the ID.

Berus Mata Buaya (Bruguiera hainesii)
After walk for a short while, we reached our main objective for the day - the rare Berus Mata Buaya (Bruguiera hainesii)! The seedlings that I saw during my previous trips were still there, but they had certainly grown quite a bit!

Berus Mata Buaya (Bruguiera hainesii)
We were really lucky that the flowers were a low branch were blooming, and was able to take a number of closed up shots!

We spent quite a while taking photos of the flowers and seedlings before heading back to the main Noordin Beach area.

Sea Lime (Ximenia americana)
Along the way, we saw a number of Sea Lime (Ximenia americana) shrubs. Also called Yellow Plum, Sea lemon, wild olive and hordes of other common names, this plant has a very interesting hairy-looking flower.

Sea Lime (Ximenia americana)
The fruits were edible, though can taste a little sour.

Scale Insects (Superfamily Coccoidea)
On one of the leaves, I found lots of Scale Insects (Superfamily Coccoidea).

Rotan Tikus (Flagellaria indica)
Climbing on the Sea Lime was a Rotan Tikus (Flagellaria indica) with lots of fruits. The stem can be used to weave into baskets.

Sea Hibiscus (Talipariti tiliaceum)
On a nearby Sea Hibiscus (Talipariti tiliaceum), we found a few pairs of Cotton Stainer Bugs (Dysdercus decussatus) mating on the fruits. These bugs feed on the seeds.

Cicada (Family Cicadidae) moult
We decided to take a walk to another nearby mangrove area along the road. While walking, we found many Cicada (Family Cicadidae) moults.

There were quite a few Cicadas too! The insects feed on plant sap - somewhat like "mosquito" of the plant world :P

Rapanea porteriana
I went to check out the wild Rapanea porteriana I found during my last trip, and saw that it was bent over by some climbers! We removed the climbers immediately. Hopefully it will soon straighten up again!

Mangrove Tit-berry (Allophylus cobbe)
The Mangrove Tit-berry (Allophylus cobbe) were still fruiting. I was taking photos of the fruits when I noticed a small twig-like structure nearby.

Stick Insect (Order Phasmatodea)
It was a Stick Insect (Order Phasmatodea)! Just early when we left Noordin Beach, Angie was just saying that she hoped to see a Stick Insect, and I told her I could usually find a few around this area! This one was about 10cm long, I think.

Stick Insect (Order Phasmatodea)
And indeed, while taking photos of the previous Stick Insect, I spotted another smaller one which was less than 5cm long! Lucky that the Stick Insects were all on resting on green leaves, otherwise it would certainly be much harder to spot them, since they looked just like twigs!

Stick Insect (Order Phasmatodea)
While I spotted the first few Stick Insects, the top spotter for the day must be Angie! Her wish to see Stick Insects was certainly fulfilled beyond expectation, as she spotted most of the other Stick Insects along the way!

Stick Insect (Order Phasmatodea)
Here's another green-coloured Stick Insect with a hint of brownish tones.

Stick Insects (Order Phasmatodea)
And above, we saw two of them - one green and one brown - on leaves next to each other. Were they up to something sexy, I wonder?

Stick Insect (Order Phasmatodea)
Here's another brownish one.

Stick Insect (Order Phasmatodea)
And another greenish one...

We saw so many of them, that I decided to stop counting and taking photos, since they all look rather similar. Altogether, I think we saw close to 20 (perhaps more) Stick Insects!

As we went on, I was chatting with Angie and we decided that we should not take more photos of them unless it was a really huge one. And I told her that I had found a really huge greyish-brown one here before.

As we passed by a Penaga Laut (Calophyllum inophyllum), Dr Chua stopped to take at look at it. Just then, Angie shouted,"There's another one there. A BIG one!"

Stick Insect (Order Phasmatodea)
Indeed! This one was rather fat and was about 15cm long, and looked similar to the one that I was telling Angie about earlier!

Stick Insect (Order Phasmatodea)
As we were taking photos, I spotted another one on the same tree! Even bigger than the previous one!

What a day! I had never seen so many Stick Insects on a single trip before! In fact, the number of stick insects I saw today probably exceeded the total numbers I have seen for the past 25 years - ever since I move away from my kampong!

When I went back to tell my mum, she told me that my grandma used to keep them as pets and fed them with guava leaves, as the droppings from the Stick Insects can be used as some kind of medicine for asthma and stomach pains etc!

This was certainly a very enjoyable and fruitful trip!


Shirls said...

Hi Shawn, your mum is correct. Stick insects'droppings are suppose to have medicinal value when they are fed guava leaves.

Anonymous said...

I believe those are citrus leaf miners, and not scale insects.

Ron Yeo said...

Hi anonymous, I believe leaf miners normally drill into the leaf, leaving meandering trails just beneath the leaf surface. I would think these are scale insects, since they were on the leaf, and have the characteristic furry structures on them.