Of Endemic Crab, Night Frog, Unique Spider and Rare Butterflies.
The quiet Upper Seletar Reservoir Park is well known for its forest bird, butterfly and insect life. But being adjacent to the Nee Soon Swamp Forest, there is also a surprising diversed freshwater aquatic life as well.
On one late August morning, I was delighted to find a nocturnal swamp crab in one of the drains here following Art Toh’s FB post. It turned out to be the Reticulated Swamp Crab (Paratherphusa retculata), one of our three endemic crabs found in Singapore. It was only discovered in 1989 inside the Nee Soon Swamp forest as its secretive and nocturnal habits have kept it hidden all these years.
Nearby a Malesian Frog Limnonectes malesianus betrayed its well-hidden nook by jumping away. Luckily for us it stayed motionless at it’s next resting spot. According to Nick Baker all the local Malesian Frogs have this black marking on the external ear drum. Along the same drain, there was a small reddish brown catfish about 10 cm long. I missed getting a shot as It was quick to swim away and hide under the leave litter.
Further up the road, on a tree trunk that I used to go pass umpteen times, a family of Spotted Coin Spiders Herennia multipuncta, were busy bringing up another new generation of these unique spiders. They are small and live on the tree trunks all their life, using camouflage as their survival against predators. Every successful generation is a celebration for this species as the male can only mate once in their lifetime.
Two rare butterflies came out this morning. The small Malay Dartlet that can be confused with the Common Dartlet and the male White-tipped Baron which I though was the more common Common Baron. Both are my lifers.
Besides these, there were some uncommon butterflies like the Full Stop Swift, Hoary Palmer, Palm Bob and the Darky Plushblue, the last staying on the same leaf for hours.
Our hope is that there will be no developments at this park to destroy the precious biodiversity. Plans should be put in place to enhance it. There should be no trespasses inside the primary forests so as not to disturb the wildlife there.
I like to thank so many of my friends who helped to find and showed me these creatures, without which I would not have been able to photograph and post them here.
Ng PKL (1997). The conservation status of freshwater prawns and crabs in Singapore with emphasis on the nature
reserves. Gardens’ Bulletin Singapore, 49: 267–272.
Nick Baker & Kevin Lim 2008. Wild Animals of Singapore.
Singapore Biodiversity online