Sunday, 24 March 2013

The Cicada

Quite amazing insects, these Cicadas!  

We often hear them singing away almost throughout the day in the rainforests, forest fringes, parks and where there are some greenery, but spotting them is a whole different story.  Just because you can hear them, it doesn't make it any easier to find them!  For an insect that makes such a loud, high-pitched, buzzing noise, they're actually pretty difficult to find in their natural habitats because they would usually be very well camouflaged.  The few times we do see them and get a good look is usually because they got a bit lost in the urban environment.  And that's when photo opportunities arise!

And then, there have also been times when these photo opportunities were there but I did not have a camera on hand.  Rats!

The National Geographic ( has the following description for this insect:  Cicadas are members of the order Homoptera and are physically distinguished by their stout bodies, broad heads, clear-membrane wings, and large compound eyes. 

Anyway,  in the last few years, I have managed to get only three good photos of cicadas; two of which were in an urban setting.  Three photos for three different species.  It is easy to see how these cicadas could easily hide away on trees and plants to avoid predation.

This jade green Cicada is quite large, its total length is around 8-9 cm.  (I'm guessing Dundubia vaginata.)  Found it in the stairwell in a building in the concrete jungle.  Am certainly glad I had decided to walk several floors down the stairs rather than take the elevator.

This brownish-gray Cicada is quite well camouflaged against the tree bark.  Spotted it because I saw an object fly across overhead and landed smack on the tree.  Even then, it took me a while to find it and even longer to get the camera focused!  I am guessing its total length to be between 6-8 cm.

This black Cicada was found on the ground on its back and was struggling to get itself upright.  So I gave it my index finger to cling on to help it up and took the chance to snap photos of it.  It eventually flew away after a short rest.  Its total length is approximately 7 cm.

 And here are the cicada exoskeletons that have been left behind after the cicada nymphs emerge from the ground for their transformation to begin their adult life.  

So..... the male cicadas would now be ready to start singing and wait for the female cicadas to follow his song and find him!

Better sing it sweet!

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

A New Record for Peninsular Malaysia

Further to my post last November on specimens that were handed to Ian Choong, it has been confirmed last month by Ian that one of the specimens is that of a damselfly that is a new record for Peninsular Malaysia - the Paracercion calamorum dyeri (Fraser, 1919).

A big thanks to Ian and Robin for this.

Unfortunately, I do not have a good photo of the damselfly or of the specimen and can't post a photo here.  However, to get an idea of what it looks like, it is very similar to the tiny Aciagrion species of damselflies and it would actually be quite difficult to tell the difference between the two species with just the naked eye.  Check out this website to see what this damselfy looks like:

Anyway, it certainly confirms my confusion about some of the species sometimes and the question that I've been asking whenever I have difficulties identifying a particular species due to certain minor features that differ even slightly when compared to what it should be based on details in the 'Pocket Guide for Dragonflies of Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore' by A.G. Orr.

And the question that is always on my mind is this:  could some of the species found in Langkawi be similar to those recorded for Thailand but have not been found in other parts of Peninsular Malaysia except here?  Perhaps migrants from Thailand?

A good maybe?

Perhaps the same can be said of some damselfly species that I have often come across but have not been able to actually really confirm correctly for this same reason?  Probably the specimen of the Idionyx species that had slightly different appendages compared to those shown in Pocket Guide is another case in point?  Simply because it is not in the Pocket Guide and would actually be new records for Peninsular Malaysia?

Another maybe?

And because of the close proximity to Thailand, maybe there are more 'siblings' and 'cousins' living here in Langkawi that we are not aware of?

I'd like to think so.....

Hopefully all these questions will be answered in due course.

Odonata Checklist - Langkawi

UPDATED ON: 20 March 2013



Family Calopterygidae
Echo modesta (Laidlaw, 1902)
Neurobasis chinensis (Linnaeus, 1758)
Vestalis gracilis (Rambur, 1842)

Family Chlorocyphidae 
Heliocypha biforata (Selys, 1859)
Libellago lineata (Burmeister, 1839)

Family Lestidae
Lestes praemorsus decipiens (Kirby, 1893)
Platylestes heterostylus (Lieftinck, 1932)

Family Coenagrionidae  

Aciagrion borneense (Ris, 1911)
Aciagrion hisopa (Selys, 1876)
Agriocnemis femina (Brauer, 1868)
Argiocnemis rubescens rubeola (Selys, 1877)
Ceriagrion auranticum  (Fraser, 1922)

Ceriagrion calamineum  (Lieftinck, 1951)
Ceriagrion cerinorubellum (Brauer, 1865)

Ischnura senegalensis (Rambur, 1842)

Paracercion calamorum dyeri (Fraser, 1919)
Pseudagrion australasiae (Selys, 1876)
Pseudagrion microcephalum (Rambur, 1842)

Family Platycnemididae
Copera ciliata (Selys, 1863) 
Copera marginipes (Rambur, 1842)
Copera vittata (Selys, 1863)

Family Protoneuridae
Prodasineura humeralis (Selys, 1860)
Prodasineura laidlawii (Forster, 1907)


Gomphidia maclachlani (Selys, 1873)
Ictinogomphus decoratus melaenops (Selys, 1858)
Paragomphus capricornis (Forster, 1914)

Family Aeshnidae
Anax guttatus (Burmeister, 1839)

Family Corduliidae
Macromidia genialis (Laidlaw, 1923)

Family Libellulidae
Acisoma parnorpoides (Rambur, 1842)
Aethriamanta brevipennis (Rambur, 1842)
Aethriamanta gracilis (Brauer, 1878)
Brachydiplax chalybea (Brauer, 1868)
Brachydiplax farinosa (Kruger, 1902)
Brachythemis contaminata (Fabricius, 1793)
Cratilla lineata (Brauer, 1878)
Cratilla metallica (Brauer, 1878)
Crocothemis servilia (Drury, 1770)
Diplacodes nebulosa (Fabricius, 1793)
Diplacodes trivialis (Rambur, 1842)
Hydrobasileus croceus (Brauer, 1867)
Indothemis limbata (Selys, 1891)

Lyriothemis biappendiculata (Selys, 1878)
Neurothemis fluctuans (Fabricius, 1793)

Neurothemis fulvia (Drury, 1773)

Onychothemis testacea (Laidlaw, 1902)
Orthethrum chrysis (Selys, 1891)

Orthethrum glaucum (Brauer, 1865)
Orthethrum sabina (Drury, 1770)
Orthethrum testaceum (Burmeister, 1839)
Pantala flavescens (Fabricius, 1798)
Potamarcha congener (Rambur, 1842)
Rhodothemis rufa (Rambur, 1842)
Rhyothemis obsolescens (Kirby, 1889)
Rhyothemis phyllis (Sulzer, 1776)
Rhyothemis triangularis (Kirby, 1889)

Tholymis tillarga (Fabricius, 1798)
Tramea transmarina euryale (Selys, 1878)
Trithemis aurora (Burmeister, 1839)

Trithemis festiva (Rambur, 1842) 
Trithemis pallidinervis (Kirby, 1889)
Tyriobapta torrida (Kirby, 1889)
Urothemis signata insignata (Selys, 1872)
Zygonyx iris malayana (Rambur, 1842)

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Living Life!

Hard to believe it is way past mid-March of 2013.  How time flies!
But I guess time always seem to really fly especially when you're having a great time. 

Been indulging in a bit of everything to keep balanced.  

Several days a week, I would be out there in the mangroves.  

In beautiful places, feasting my eyes on the scenery.

Feeling the serenity of being one with nature.

And feeling totally at peace.....

Loving it all and loving life!