Arthropods

Arthropods

Season of Plenty

Harvestman (Opiliones) up close

The dry months of central Thailand, from December through April, are sparse months for the wildlife macro enthusiast. Diurnal arthropod finds are hard won on the forest floor and in dry low vegetation.

Indeed it’s a time of year when I, personally, devote my time to Thailand's mammals. Mammals are easier to encounter during this period due to their reliance on dwindling water resources and the fact that foliage fall makes line of sight easier.

 

Now we have come that time in central Thailand when the inevitable change of seasons is underway again and rain in the mountain areas has arrived. Foliage is sprouting and new low growth is providing shelter and food for key species to restart their life cycles. Arthropod predating arthropods are on the rise again and even the Hirudinea (leeches) are emerging from their dry season earthen lairs. As my body attests to from their bites. And birds are nesting to ensure their young can fledge during this time of insect plenty.

It is “insect season” again in the hills of central Thailand and the call beckons.

Camera gear, lens and lighting that has lay dormant for months has been dusted off, checked and fired up. And it’s off the Kaeng Krachan National Park to see if I, and my fellow enthusiasts, can remember how to operate it all still?

A Neocollyris tiger beetle

Arthropod photography is a technical form in itself, requiring not only the equipment but a mindset when operating the camera. It’s almost like a zone of Zen you need to get into – not only to deal with minimal depth of field and other technical issues but also to re-orient the way you move and see in order to spot and approach your intended many legged quarry.

A jumping spider catches a meal

I had not been to the forest since the week before Songkran, and it had really changed in that short period. Tree foliage had increased, margins were full of new growth, humidity was up, the leaf littered forest floor was damp and in decay again. And insect life was everywhere.

After a while the Zen started to slowly return as did my realization of how much I had missed my macro outings. It’s time to delve into Thailand’s fascinating exotic macro world again.

Thailand hosts the strangest types of insect life

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onflipflops's Avatar
onflipflops replied the topic: #2825 3 years 6 months ago
Clearly you haven't forgotten how to get amazing shots. I love the jumping spider with prey!
It is indeed surprising how quick the forest has come to life after a number of rain showers.
Besides the wide variety of insects, the more humid conditions brought us some great reptile sightings including a Red-tailed Racer, and a Pope's Pit Viper in the last couple days.
Also surprising is the addiction to salt of the insects of Kaeng Krachan, more than I'm used to see in other parks. When taking a rest after a sweaty hike, all exposed skin soon turns into a macro zoo of all kinds of insects. Not a good time for those with a great fear for bees or with allergic reactions to their stings. Still, if you just let them do their thing, normally nothing happens.
Paul T's Avatar
Paul T replied the topic: #2836 3 years 6 months ago
Thanks Flipflops.

Heres a few more from this last weekend. It was holiday weekend but I wanted to get out and there were not too many people at Baan Krang, a lot were heading up the hill though. It was blistering hot in the day if you were not in the shade though. No opportunity to use the 300, just the 100 macro this weekend. The bees were hell !!

Tiger Beetle - Cosmodela aurulenta juxtata


Soldier beetle, Ichthyurus sp.


Cicada Face


Carabidae-beetle - probably Catascopus sp.


Ichneumon Wasp, female laying eggs with ovipositor unsheathed and inserted into the host (a wood boring beetle larvae inside the dead tree)

"Each species is a masterpiece, a creation assembled with extreme care and genius." > Edward O. Wilson

"An understanding of the Natural World and whats in it is a source of not only a great curiosity but great fulfillment." > Sir David Attenborough

“Climb up on some hill at sunrise.  Everybody needs perspective once in a while, and you’ll find it there.” > Robb Sagendorph