Thursday, August 20, 2015

Tiger beetles

The tiger beetles are skittish and fast. It is almost impossible to take close proximity shots during the day time. They are well known for their running speed, the fastest indeed in the insect world.

Face to face with a tiger beetle (taken at night), Cicindela aurulenta.

Cicindela aurulenta

Sometimes it uses its powerful jaws to clamp on leaf or branch when sleeping

Therates dimidiatus

Cylindera versicolor

Cylindera discreta

Neocollyris cf. bonellii

Neocollyris sp
Reference site:

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Mystery White Insect - ID: Ortalia / Amida (Ortaliini, Ortaliinae, Coccinellidae)

As of the time of writing, no one has been able to accurately identify this insect. It is believed to be the larvae of some kind of beetle. It has always been confused with similar looking white furry insects such as the larvae of Flatidae. The size of of this white larvae ranges from a couple mm to 1 cm.

Some people said it looks like the larvae of ladybird beetles (they were right). No one was sure because close up photos has shown that it has elongated larval antennomeres, which is unlike a typical coccinellid larva.

In its natural living habitat in the forest, they live in harmony with other insects such as ants, planthoppers and treehoppers. So far, they were found to live in shrub or bush well shaded by tall trees. A heavy rain would wipe them away, some may survive if they are hiding under leaves though.

A couple of interesting ventral photographs.

Ventral details such as the hairy lobes on the sides of the abdominal segments suggest that it is perhaps an endomychid, of course, the diagnosis was without the knowledge of how the adult would look like. Nonetheless, this is an interesting features for a coccinellid.

The living habitat of the insect:

As curious as a cat, I decided to collect some live specimens and observed the life cycle. I was quite lucky to witness its molting process. The whole process happened in a matter of minutes. It molted a few times before turning into pupa.

One of the larvae turned into pupa inside a ventilated plastic bottle on the same day it was collected. After three days, it turned from light colour to darker colour. A pupa carcass is shown below.

Another larva turned into pupa under a leaf after about 8 more days.

The beetle emerged after one week of the pupa stage.

The beetle is about 3 mm as shown below.

After seeing the adult (teneral) photos, friends and enthusiasts decided that this is indeed a Coccinellidae, confirmed by field experts. The latest suggested ID was that it should fall under the tribe Ortaliini (subfamily Ortaliinae), and the most probable genus Amida / Ortalia.

(ID credit: Adam Slipinski, Doug Yanega)

The rearing environment and observations:

The larvae was placed in the same species of plant it was found. The plant was potted and placed in the open space outdoor, shaded by tall roof, protected from heavy rain and hot sunshine.

The larvae source of food is unknown. Even though I had tried to place aphids, thrips and fungi on the leaves, they were not interested in them.

The white wax on the larvae was getting thinner and thinner day by day. Probably this was due to malnutrition or unsuitable temperature and humidity surrounding the environment. Also, there is a high possibility that its source of food was not present because of the different ecosystem of my backyard. It is also possible that its source of food is in the soil of its natural habitat.

A couple of hours after the teneral adult (above photo) appeared from the pupa, the colour did not change, and then flew off.

Reference 1:

Reference 2:

Thanks for visiting.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Bagworm Moth Caterpillar (Psychidae)

The larvae of psychid moth are wrapped inside a silk bag that eventually covered with bits of plant debris. Sometimes, you can find them hanging in mid-air from above the trees.

The springtail (Seira sp, Collembola) on the wood debris is an unexpected guest. ID given by Frans Janssens @

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Beetle-backed fly (Celyphidae)

Celyphids are fly species that look like beetle. The larvae are saprophagous and the adults commonly found in moist habitats.

A rarely seen blackish blue / purple celyphid fly found in lowland rainforest. It is relatively larger than other species of celyphids, about 8 mm in body length. The scutellum is very convex and shiny, covering the entire abdomen. Identified to be of genus Paracelyphus, likely Paracelyphus hyacinthus by Dr. Stephen Gaimari.
Paracelyphus hyacinthus

Paracelyphus hyacinthus

The more common beetle-backed fly (below) are found around vegetable gardens, but they do not appear to be pests. They seem to feed on decaying organic matter.

The one below seems to be an immature.

These mimic blue leaf beetle.

An egg of the beetle fly: