took a walk in upper seletar reservoir only to find a hopelessly dry
and sparse forest. The health of our forests has been deteriorating
over the past few years for one reason or the other but it is sad to
see the extent of the damage. The first surprise was a new species
for me; the lesser harlequin.
The lesser harlequin is a small little butterfly from the Riodinidae
family; the metalmarks. This family is very well represented in
Central and South America, where they have a huge diversity of
fantastical metalmarks. The five species we have in Singapore
are no less beautiful. The lesser harlequin is brick red underneath,
adorned with black and metallic blue spots. This is a female.
Males are all black on top.
It stayed close to the ground and had a weak hopping flight. Each
time it landed, it would pivot around a few times before hopping on
to the next leaf. I followed it in the undergrowth for a good half an
hour to get these pictures. I was not expecting to see it in such a
I walked by the second surprise many times so I was shocked to
find out it was actually there. Singapore does not have many
native mammals roaming our forests. One of them is the ever
common wild boar and another is the Colugo. The Flying Lemur.
I only noticed the colugo hanging on to the tree on the umpteenth
time I walked past it. It was very well camouflaged in the dappled
vegetation. Colugos grow to about 40cm in length. They are the
most capable mammal gliders on the planet and their membrane of
skin that joins the tip of the fingers to the tip of the toes allows
them to glide for great distances (up to 70m) between trees. They
are herbivores and eat largly leaves. This is my second time seeing
one wild. Despite the depressed forest, today wasn't all that bad.