2016 Macro Collection: Highlights from Singapore and the Region

31 December 2016

As 2016 draws to a close, it is time for my annual photo spam with the year’s highlights. While I did fewer expeditions beyond Singapore, more work was done in documenting lifers and experimenting with different techniques in wide angle close-ups, back-lighting and ultraviolet fluorescence photography. I’ve also held my second photo exhibition in Europe, which will still be there til 7th Jan 2017. If you are a museum curator or know of museum curators who might be interested in my work, please contact me to discuss about any exhibition work that we could do together!

Blog Redesign and Photo Checklists

Towards the end of 2016, I did a revamp on the blog’s design to be responsive and to display properly on mobile platforms. I’m also adding several personal photo checklists of the critters that I’ve documented before. See the main menu under “Checklists” for the list of what I have so far.

Thank You

I would like to take this opportunity to thank my macro shooting buddies who have selflessly shared their finds and ideas in all of our trips. We’ve shared many treasured moments in the field, and I’m sure there’s many more to come. Thanks to Melvyn, Chris, Victor, David, Seawei, James for the countless trips and finds. Andrew, Alfred and Sagita… when are you guys coming back??

Heartfelt thanks to my wife for supporting the kind of work that I’m getting myself involved with and for tolerating the late nights of absence from home when out in the field.

How to Read this Massive Post

The unapologetically large number of photos in this post are sorted in taxonomic order and as usual, I will be forcing spider photos on you first. Just do a search in this post to jump to any specific orders that you are interested in. This post highlights many lifers and interesting points to make, and is not a showcase of best photos of the year. Please don’t expect too much. 🙂

Most photos were taken in Singapore, with a few exceptions from trips to Malaysia. Nevertheless, the diversity hasn’t ceased to amaze, and I hope the forest microfauna will continue to flourish in the years to come.

    Arachnida: Spiders, Scorpions, Harvestmen, etc

    Araneidae: Orb Weaver Spiders

    Button orb weaver (Anepsion sp.) - DSC_0580
  1. Button orb weaver (Anepsion sp.)

    Sometimes called the pizza spider due to the exceptionally flat abdomen, I had lost this tiny little orb weaver once last year, and finally got some decent shots of it. Saw two males this year and both were simply dangling under some leaves rather than on their orb webs.

  2. Trashline orb weaver spider (Cyclosa sp.) - DSC_6090b
  3. Trashline orb weaver spider (Cyclosa sp.)

    Not uncommon, but one of my favorite examples of spider stabilimentum.

  4. Bird dropping spider (Cyrtarachne sp.) - DSC_4230_anim
  5. Bird dropping spider (Cyrtarachne sp.)

    This Cyrtarachne is common in Singapore but the undocumented micromovements within the abdomen have been baffling myself and other arachnologists. I did a video on the pulsating spider and it was subsequently published on National Geographic.

  6. Tent web spider (Cyrtophora cicatrosa) - DSC_9378
  7. Tent web spider (Cyrtophora cicatrosa)

    A tiny tent web spider, and surprisingly one that I’ve never photographed before but found just next to a path with high human traffic.

  8. Red tent spider (Cyrtophora unicolor) - DSC_0943
  9. Red tent spider (Cyrtophora unicolor)

    Another common Cyrtophora, but this time with an egg sac and fluorescing under ultraviolet. This spider typically builds a massive tent web but dismantles it and presumably consumes the silk prior to building her egg sac. Mesmerising sight! I also did a video showcasing ultraviolet fluorescence photography recently.

  10. Red tent spider (Cyrtophora unicolor) - DSC_6717
  11. Red tent spider (Cyrtophora unicolor)

    An extreme wide angle close up using an experimental fisheye cctv setup to exaggerate the spider’s size. Interestingly, many thought that the little bumps on the abdomen were “hundreds of eyes”.

  12. Spiny orb weaver (Gasteracantha sp.) - DSC_7676b
  13. Spiny orb weaver (Gasteracantha sp.)

    These spiny orb weavers tend to build their orb webs above our heads, which allows for this shot with the sky as the background.

  14. Ladybird spider (Paraplectana sp.) - DSC_7342
  15. Ladybird spider (Paraplectana sp.)

    This yellow ladybird spider had been on my wish list for a long time, with numerous unfruitful trips to known habitats. On the last day of 2016, we were pleasantly rewarded with a relatively large specimen! Check out my earlier article on ladybird mimicry and more on these spiders.

  16. Bird dung spider (Pasilobus sp.) - DSC_3543x
  17. Bird dung spider (Pasilobus sp.)

    Classic ultraviolet fluorescence in the bird dung spider, definitely one of my favorites!

  18. Tree stump orb weaver (Poltys sp.) - DSC_8569
  19. Tree stump orb weaver (Poltys sp.)

    Many like to photograph the tree stump orb weavers on a branch or tree stump, so this year, I took many shots of it on its orb web and placed a light behind to accentuate the silk.

  20. Wrap-round orb weaver (Talthybia sp.) - PA130267
  21. Wrap-round orb weaver (Talthybia sp.)

    In October, I was privileged to be one of the first few to get to test the new Olympus STF-8 macro twin flash which is touted to be light-weight and weather-proof. Smallest twin flash system ever and looks like a mini version of my own setup. This was one of the test shots with a loaned Olympus OMD-EM1 Mark 1 and Olympus 60mm macro. You can view my series of test shots with this M4/3 setup here.

    This is a close-up of the wrap-around orb weaver. See if you can locate the anterior and posterior lateral eyes!

  22. Barychelidae: Brush-Footed Trapdoor Spiders

    Brush-footed trapdoor spider (Barychelidae) - DSC_2012
  23. Brush-footed trapdoor spider (Barychelidae)

    Close up of a large female trapdoor spider. Odd that we find the females out in the open as well as I always assumed that only the males went out to search for mates.

  24. Brush-footed trapdoor spider (Barychelidae) - DSC_2044
  25. Brush-footed trapdoor spider (Barychelidae)

    Dense iridescent scopulae on metatarsi and tarsi I and II, and even on the palps!

  26. Corinnidae: Ant-Like Sac Spiders / Armored Spiders

    Ant-like sac spider (Sphecotypus sp.) - DSC_7940
  27. Ant-like sac spider (Sphecotypus sp.)

    Glad to have this stunning ant-mimic crossed off my wish list! It has an obvious constriction in the middle of its cephalothorax to enhance its ant disguise.

  28. Ant Mimicry - DSC_2401_mimicry
  29. Ant Mimicry (Myrmarachne vs Polyrhachis)

    Happened to see both the spider and the ant it was mimicking on the same plant and did a side by side comparison.

  30. Ctenidae: Wandering Spiders

    Wandering spider (Ctenus sp.) - DSC03785
  31. Wandering spider (Ctenus sp.)

    One of my first few attempts at wide angle close ups using my wife’s Sony A7 and Voigtlander 15mm with an M to E-mount adapter and some extension tubes. This Ctenus is ideal since he lets me go really really close (1cm to 2cm), which is required in wide angle closeups.

  32. Lycosidae: Wolf Spiders

    Wolf spider (Hippasa sp.) - DSC_9281b
  33. Wolf spider (Hippasa sp.)

    Classic Hippasa pose. These sheets of web can be easily spotted early in the morning with the condensation of morning dew, but the skittish owners would dart into their hideouts just as easily as you’d find them.

  34. Nephilidae: Golden Orb Weavers, Coin Spiders, Hermit Spiders, etc.

    Ornamental tree trunk spider (Herennia sp.) - DSC_7748
  35. Ornamental tree trunk spider (Herennia sp.)

    I’ve seen lots of Herennia before but this stunning specimen, probably a juvenile, is probably the most beautiful one that I’ve ever seen!

  36. Golden orb weaver (Nephila sp.) - DSC_3883b
  37. Golden orb weaver (Nephila sp.)

    Candy cane in the forest. Ridiculously common spider but displaying a brilliant combination of orange and yellow when fresh out of her moult.

  38. Oxyopidae: Lynx Spiders

    Lynx spider (Hamadruas sp.) - DSC_6770
  39. Lynx spider (Hamadruas sp.)

    A large Hamadruas guarding her spiderlings with a delightful hue of maroon!

  40. Lynx spider (Oxyopes sp.) - PA120138
  41. Lynx spider (Oxyopes sp.)

    Close up portrait of a very common male Oxyopes with the loaned M4/3 setup.

  42. Psechridae: Pseudo Orb Weavers, Lace Sheet Spiders

    Pseudo orb weaver spider (Fecenia sp.) - DSC_5634
  43. Pseudo orb weaver spider (Fecenia sp.)

    Always wanted to photograph the full pseudo orb web of the Fecenia, which usually hides inside a tightly rolled leaf in the middle of its web. Its long, hairy legs can be seen sticking out from the rolled leaf in anticipation of prey on its web.

  44. Pholcidae: Daddy-Long-Legs Spiders

    Daddy-long-legs spider (Pholcidae) - DSC_2670
  45. Daddy-long-legs spider (Pholcidae)

    These seemingly fragile looking spiders can be quite proficient in catching prey, such as this trap-jaw ant.

  46. Daddy-long-legs spider (Pholcidae) - DSC_3285
  47. Daddy-long-legs spider (Pholcidae)

    Spiderling legs already visible on the eggs of this mama-to-be.

  48. Daddy-long-legs spider (Pholcidae) - PA130283
  49. Daddy-long-legs spider (Pholcidae)

    Explosion of babies!

  50. Daddy-long-legs spider (Pholcidae) - DSC_7443b
  51. Daddy-long-legs spider (Pholcidae)

    Another baby explosion, this time of a different genus.

  52. Daddy-long-legs spider (Pholcidae) - DSC_9011
  53. Daddy-long-legs spider (Pholcidae)

    Boy meets girl, and realizes that she is already taken when he saw her holding her future generation.

  54. Salticidae: Jumping Spiders

    Jumping Spiders: A 2017 Calendar with the Most Endearing Arachnids
  55. Jumping Spiders: A 2017 Calendar with the Most Endearing Arachnids

    As 2017 approaches, I’ve put together a series of jumping spider portraits for a 2017 Calendar. Many languages and country holidays available!

  56. Jumping spiders from Maliau Basin
  57. Jumping spiders from Maliau Basin

    Happened to process MANY salticid portraits in a single day and decided to make a little collage out of it.

  58. Jumping spider (Hyllus sp.) - DSC_4937
  59. Jumping spider (Hyllus sp.)

    Juvenile Hyllus but always a joy to photograph!

  60. Jumping spider (Onomastus sp.) - DSC_6253
  61. Jumping spider (Onomastus sp.)

    This Onomastus has the largest palps that I’ve ever seen, and it is not even a mature specimen. The mature male would have really large and complex palps, which is probably why the species is Onomastus complexipalpis.

  62. Jumping spider (Parabathippus sp.) - DSC_6897
  63. Jumping spider (Parabathippus sp.)

    Very common salticid guarding her eggs.

  64. Jumping spider (Phaeacius sp.) - DSC_9698b
  65. Jumping spider (Phaeacius sp.)

    Exclusively hunts on tree trunks, and sometimes called the “sad” spider because it is almost always looking down. Here’s a more cheerful view of it, probably due to the nice supper catch.

  66. Jumping spider (Portia sp.) - PA090175
  67. Jumping spider (Portia sp.)

    A male Portia resting on its web. A female was also seen nearby.

  68. Jumping spider (Thiania sp.) - DSC_2778
  69. Jumping spider (Thiania sp.)

    Not the usual Thiania so it deserves a spot here!

  70. Sparassidae: Huntsman Spiders

    51 Huntsman Spider Portraits from Singapore - Happy 51st Birthday Singapore!
  71. 51 Huntsman Spider Portraits from Singapore

    A tribute to Singapore’s 51st Birthday! Check out the details of each portrait here.

  72. Huntsman spider (Gnathopalystes sp.) - DSC_7561b
  73. Huntsman spider (Gnathopalystes sp.)

    Check out the little white moustache!

  74. Huntsman spider (Gnathopalystes sp.) - DSC_1339b
  75. Huntsman spider (Gnathopalystes sp.)

    Several Gnathopalystes exhibit ultraviolet fluorescence, and this appears to be the most flamboyant of all!

  76. Huntsman spider (Heteropoda davidbowie) - DSC05535
  77. Huntsman spider (Heteropoda davidbowie)

    Another wide angle attempt with the Sony A7 and Voigtlander 15mm. Wide angle perspective makes the spider look larger!

  78. Huntsman spider (Heteropoda sp.) - DSC_0570b
  79. Huntsman spider (Heteropoda sp.)

    Largest cluster of huntsman spiderlings still on its egg sac!

  80. Huntsman spider (Heteropoda sp.) - DSC_5920
  81. Huntsman spider (Heteropoda sp.)

    This Heteropoda looks close to H. boiei but I’m not too sure…

  82. Lichen huntsman spider (Pandercetes sp.) - DSC_8584b
  83. Lichen huntsman spider (Pandercetes sp.)

    Visited the Lentor Forest that was slated to be cleared to make way for residential development, and took this portrait of a very common Pandercetes.

  84. Huntsman spider (Rhitymna sp.) - DSC_0537b
  85. Huntsman spider (Rhitymna sp.)

    Another genus off my wish list! Seawei found not one but a pair of Rhitymna on trees next to each other. Unfortunately despite the size, they still managed to disappear right before our eyes…

  86. Huntsman spider (Sparassidae) - DSC_2095
  87. Huntsman spider (Sparassidae)

    A very very happy huntsman with a huge catch!~

  88. Huntsman spider (Sparassidae) - PA090087
  89. Huntsman spider (Sparassidae)

    Haven’t figured this one out yet, but not commonly seen in Singapore.

  90. Theridiidae: Comb-Footed Spiders

    Twig-like comb-footed spider (Ariamnes sp.) - DSC_5301
  91. Twig-like comb-footed spider (Ariamnes sp.)

    First time seeing the abdomen twist so many times!

  92. Mirror-comb-footed spider animation - DSC_1708
  93. Mirror-comb-footed spider animation

    I did a better animation of the abdominal mirror-like expansion/contraction on the Thwaitesia and the article got kind of viral again.

  94. Theraphosidae: Tarantulas

    Tarantula (Theraphosidae) - ESC03958
  95. Tarantula (Theraphosidae)

    Wide angle attempt on this blue tarantula, but the colours turned out a little funny. Probably a wrong white balance chosen.

  96. Thomisidae: Crab Spiders

    Ant-mimic crab spider (Amyciaea sp.) - DSC_9707
  97. Ant-mimic crab spider (Amyciaea sp.)

    Classic mimicry and predation of the ant-mimic crab spider with the red weaver ant.

  98. Bird dung crab spider (Phrynarachne sp.) - DSC_1093
  99. Bird dung crab spider (Phrynarachne sp.)

    This spider had been on my wish list for quite a while. When we finally got to see it, it had a remarkably radiating nest and egg sac. In fact, the spiderlings were already hatched but we didn’t get much shots of the little ones.

  100. Crab spider (Runcinia sp.) - DSC_1713
  101. Crab spider (Runcinia sp.)

    Captivating ultraviolet fluorescence on a Runcinia. The fluorescence appears to be common in thomisids, possibly because they are ambush predators and the UV fluorescence might have something to do with the UV fluorescence in flowers that attracts pollinating insects.

  102. Crab spider (Stiphropus ocellatus) - DSC_6701
  103. Crab spider (Stiphropus sp.)

    Very unique looking thomisid with an egg sac within the tree trunk.

  104. Crab spider (Strigoplus sp.) - DSC_3437
  105. Crab spider (Strigoplus sp.)

    Strigoplus is common in our forests but this had particularly striking pink patches!
  106. Crab spiders (Thomisus sp.) - DSC_9953
  107. Crab spiders (Thomisus sp.)

    Opportunistic male going into the female at her most vulnerable moment. Probably a safer tactic for the male.

  108. Crab spider (Tmarus sp.) - DSC_3501b
  109. Crab spider (Tmarus sp.)

    This Tmarus had been spotted several times in the mangroves. First saw it in Malaysia and glad to see it in Singapore as well.

  110. Crab spider (Thomisidae) - DSC_7624
  111. Crab spider (Thomisidae)

    An unidentified thomisid with interesting patterns on its body with light shining through it.

  112. Uloboridae: Feather-Legged Spiders

    Feather-legged spider (Octonoba sp.) - DSC_8541
  113. Feather-legged spider (Octonoba sp.)

    A rare uloborid genus carrying her egg sac.

  114. Opiliones: Harvestmen

    Excavator harvestman (Epedanidae) - DSC_2734b
  115. Excavator harvestman (Epedanidae)

    Favorite harvestman. We called this the excavator. It looked even more awesome with its ultraviolet fluorescence.

  116. Harvestman (Epedanidae) - DSC_0357
  117. Excavator harvestman (Epedanidae)

    Excellent subject for back-lighting as well, as most parts of its body allows light to pass though.

  118. Harvestman (Podoctidae) - DSC_6943b
  119. Harvestman (Podoctidae)

    Looks really common but a close up reveals lots of beautiful details!

  120. Schizomida: Shorttailed Whip Scorpions

    Shorttailed whip scorpion (Schizomida) - DSC_0980
  121. Shorttailed whip scorpion (Schizomida)

    These arachnids are almost as small as pseudoscorpions, just much harder to see and they run really fast.

  122. Scorpiones: Scorpions

    Black forest scorpion (Heterometrus sp.) - DSC04323
  123. Black forest scorpion (Heterometrus sp.)

    Wide angle attempt on this giant scorpion. A close working distance of less than 4cm allows better light diffusion on its otherwise dark body, bringing out the blue pretty well.

  124. Amblypygi: Tailless Whip Scorpions

    Tailless whip scorpion (Charon sp.) - DSC04011
  125. Tailless whip scorpion (Charon sp.)

    Finally got to do a wide angle close up on a large amblypygid, at a perfect angle perched at the edge of a rotten log. Still surprised that it stood still enough for me to take a few shots as these are usually quite skittish.

  126. Tailless whip scorpion (Amblypygi) - DSC_3599b
  127. Tailless whip scorpion (Amblypygi)

    Much smaller amblypygid that stood up, leaving just enough space for me to push some light through from behind.

  128. Thelyphonida: Whip Scorpion

    Whip scorpion (Thelyphonida) - DSC04375
  129. Whip scorpion (Thelyphonida)

    Also known as vinegaroons, I brought my night macro workshop participants out on a practice trip and had a chance to try a wide angle close up again!

  130. Pseudoscorpionida: Pseudoscorpions

    Pseudoscorpions (Pseudoscorpionida) - DSC_9948
  131. Pseudoscorpions (Pseudoscorpionida)

    I’ve always wanted to photograph a mother pseudoscorpion carrying her babies, but I guess this is still a small step forward!

  132. Coleoptera: Beetles

    Buprestidae: Jewel Beetles

    Jewel beetle (Belionota prasina) - DSC_1543
  133. Jewel beetle (Belionota prasina)

    I hadn’t paid much attention to these lovely beetles in prior years, and added a few species to my photo collection this year. This Belionota prasina is probably the largest jewel beetle in Singapore. For other jewel beetles in my collection, link to my Jewel Beetles Checklist.

  134. Jewel beetle (Habroloma sp.) - DSC_2384
  135. Jewel beetle (Habroloma sp.)

    Most other jewel beetles here are tiny and often ignored. This was probably 3mm long.

  136. Jewel beetle (Trachys sp.) - DSC_5082
  137. Jewel beetle (Trachys sp.)

    Another tiny beauty, also about 3mm long.

  138. Cantharidae: Soldier Beetles

    Soldier beetle (Cantharidae) - DSC_7414
  139. Soldier beetle (Cantharidae)

    This soldier beetle kept arching its abdomen upwards, allowing for a beautiful composition.

  140. Carabidae: Ground Beetles

    Ground beetle (Physodera eschscholtzii) - DSC_2900
  141. Ground beetle (Physodera eschscholtzii)

    Hands down the most magnificent ground beetle in Singapore. Can’t ever get enough of it. See the other ground beetles that I’ve recorded so far in my Ground Beetles Checklist.

  142. Ground beetle larva (Carabidae) - DSC_1526
  143. Ground beetle larva (Carabidae)

    Even the larva was stunning.

  144. Cerambycidae: Longhorn Beetles

    Longhorn beetle (Tetraglenes sp.) - DSC_1540b
  145. Longhorn beetle (Tetraglenes sp.)

    We found this small little cerambycid with split eyes on Coney Island. A great addition to my Longhorn Beetles Checklist.

  146. Longhorn beetle (Dystasia cf. circulata) - DSC_6919
  147. Longhorn beetle (Dystasia cf. circulata)

    Too many interesting cerambycids this year, so I’ll just add a few random ones here.

  148. Stingless bee mimic longhorn beetle (Pectinocallimus sp.) - DSC_9129
  149. Stingless bee mimic longhorn beetle (Pectinocallimus sp.)

    An extremely rare longhorn beetle that mimics a stingless bee. The adult doesn’t live for long, and we’ve seen this twice on dangling vines.

  150. Chrysomelidae: Leaf Beetles

    Leaf beetle (Aulacolepis decorata) - DSC_8863
  151. Leaf beetle (Aulacolepis decorata)

    Spotted this little leaf beetle twice this year. It has little tufts of setae on its dorsum, which reminded me of the Portia spider.

  152. Tortoise beetle (Chiridopsis sp.) - DSC_3736
  153. Tortoise beetle (Chiridopsis sp.)

    My favorite tortoise beetle this year, love the colours and patterns! See more in my Tortoise Beetle Checklist.

  154. Golden tortoise beetle (Aspidimorpha furcata) - DSC_7167
  155. Golden tortoise beetle (Aspidimorpha furcata)

    A surprise golden find, and a tick off my wish list! Really difficult to light this one up well.

  156. Leaf beetle (Hoplosaenidea singaporensis) - DSC_5002
  157. Leaf beetle (Hoplosaenidea singaporensis)

    One of the common but skittish little leaf beetles that finally had an ID, thanks to the kind folks on Facebook.

  158. Coccinellidae: Ladybird Beetles

    Ladybird (Scymnus sp.) preying on an aphid - DSC_3903
  159. Ladybird beetle (Scymnus sp.) preying on an aphid

    If you’ve not read it already, I recently published a little article on the story behind the name “ladybird beetle”.

  160. Endomychidae: Handsome Fungus Beetles

    Handsome fungus beetle (Eumorphus marginatus) - DSC_9995
  161. Handsome fungus beetle (Eumorphus marginatus)

    We like to call this the violin fungus beetle, although the real violin beetle still eludes us. If you are interested in more of these beetles, link to the handsome fungus beetles checklist.

  162. Handsome fungus beetle (Spathomeles sp.) - DSC_9681
  163. Handsome fungus beetle (Spathomeles sp.)

    Really handsome specimen, made it to the list for the two elytral spines.

  164. Lampyridae: Firefly Beetles

    Firefly (Lampyridae) - DSC_7566
  165. Firefly (Lampyridae)

    Fireflies are not flies, but beetles. Another misnomer. This is a feeble attempt to record the ventral view.

  166. Lycidae: Net-Winged Beetles

    Trilobite Beetles -
  167. Trilobite beetles (Platerodrilus sp.)

    I consolidated all my trilobite beetle photos into a checklist, after National Geographic did a recent coverage on trilobite beetles found in Singapore.

  168. Lymexylidae: Ship Timber Beetles

    Ship timber beetle (Lymexylidae) - DSC_9930
  169. Ship timber beetle (Lymexylidae)

    Been many years since my last sighting of this beetle. Literally dropped from the sky while we were looking at scorpions.

  170. Nitidulidae: Sap Beetles

    Sap beetle (Nitidulidae) - DSC_2933
  171. Sap beetle (Nitidulidae)

    This flat and tiny little beetle is often referred by us as the petri dish beetle.

  172. Scarabaeidae: Scarab Beetles

    Rhinoceros beetle (Xylotrupes gideon) - DSC04252
  173. Rhinoceros beetle (Xylotrupes gideon)

    Wide angle attempt at a rhino beetle that Victor found in NTU.

  174. Staphylinidae: Shining Fungus Beetles

    Shining fungus beetle (Scaphidiinae) - DSC_8859
  175. Shining fungus beetle (Scaphidiinae)

    Not too uncommon but still a lifer for me!

  176. Tenebrionidae: Darkling Beetles

    Darkling beetle (Eucyrtus cf. pretiosus) - DSC_6980
  177. Darkling beetle (Eucyrtus cf. pretiosus)

    I actually have many new darkling beetles in my collection, but there would be too many to list here. Instead, you may like to view my Darkling Beetles Checklist.

  178. Hemiptera: True Bugs

    Spittlebug (Cercopidae) - DSC_3310
  179. Spittlebug (Cercopidae)

    This spittlebug was fresh out from its moult, and still within its frothy layer of protection.

  180. Cicada (Cicadidae) - DSC_8177
  181. Cicada (Cicadidae)

    Also fresh from it smoult, the colours on this cicada were slightly enhanced with a light from behind.

  182. False lanternfly (Dictyopharidae) - DSC_8067
  183. False lanternfly (Dictyopharidae)

    Another candy cane bug with a brilliant splash of colours!

  184. False lanternfly nymph (Dictyopharidae) - DSC_7024
  185. False lanternfly nymph (Dictyopharidae)

    At first thought to be a lantern bug nymph, but turned out to be a false lanternfly nymph. (different families) A ray of sun hits the snout for a little back-lighting effect.

  186. Planthopper nymph (Fulgoroidea) - DSC_8836
  187. Planthopper nymph (Fulgoroidea)

    Accentuating the waxy tail of this planthopper nymph.

  188. Lantern bug (Pyrops pyrorhynchus) - DSC_8759
  189. Lantern bug (Pyrops pyrorhynchus)

    Rudolf found at night! Although they are called lantern bugs, their snouts do not glow at night. A light from behind gave it a faint glow though.

  190. Lantern bug (Pyrops whiteheadi) - DSC_7853
  191. Lantern bug (Pyrops whiteheadi)

    Another similar attempt with the entire snout lighted up.

  192. Planthopper (Fulgoroidea) - DSC_6004
  193. Planthopper (Fulgoroidea)

    Planthopper just out from its moult and hanging out to dry. The colours at this stage would change rapidly while it dries and pumps out its wings.

  194. Planthopper (Dichoptera) - DSC_3047
  195. Planthopper (Dichoptera sp.)

    Close up of a common fulgorid.

  196. Treehopper (Coccosterphus sp.) - DSC_3045
  197. Treehopper (Coccosterphus sp.)

    Plain looking membracid until viewed up close. Love the wing venation.

  198. Treehopper (Tricentrus fulgidus) - DSC_4164c
  199. Treehopper (Tricentrus fulgidus)

    Black reflective subjects are a pain to photograph, but this was too cute to give it a pass!

  200. Globular shield bug (Plataspidae) - DSC_0847
  201. Globular shield bug (Plataspidae)

    Hadn’t noticed these bugs before, and turned out to be pretty cute with the short body.

  202. Globular shield bug (Plataspidae) - DSC_6137
  203. Globular shield bug (Plataspidae)

    Found another one!

  204. Stink bug hatchlings (Pentatomidae) - DSC_2002
  205. Stink bug hatchlings (Pentatomidae)

    Last year, I did a very rough shot of this scene, and am glad to be able to do a better version this year. Interestingly, there are almost always 12 eggs in each batch.

  206. Stink bug babies (Pentatomidae) - DSC_2631
  207. Stink bug babies (Pentatomidae)

    These babies appear to be more mature, and almost ready to leave its nest.

  208. Giant shield bug (Lyramorpha sp.) - DSC_6663
  209. Giant shield bug (Lyramorpha sp.)

    The mother here would stay behind to look after her young, unlike the examples above. Notice the little ones huddled under her abdomen.

  210. Ant-snatching assassin bug nymph (Acanthaspis sp.) - DSC_2950
  211. Ant-snatching assassin bug nymph (Acanthaspis sp.)

    This little assassin makes it to the list. Every year.

  212. Resin assassin bug (Amulius sp.) - DSC_7809
  213. Resin assassin bug (Amulius sp.)

    There was a little discussion on where the resin on the forelegs comes from. Was it from its own saliva, or was it from the tree’s sap?

  214. Moth-like planthopper (Ricaniidae) - DSC_8271
  215. Moth-like planthopper (Ricaniidae)

    These “fresh from moult” scenes are really perfect for back-lighting.

  216. Planthopper nymph (Ricaniidae) - DSC_0180
  217. Planthopper nymph (Ricaniidae)

    Highlighting the fanned waxy tail of the ricaniid nymph.

  218. Blattodea: Cockroaches, Termites

    Pill cockroach (Perishpaerus sp.) - DSC_0312
  219. Pill cockroach (Perishpaerus sp.)

    Old vs new. The pill cockroach fresh from its moult, sports a brilliant red/orange and the contrast with its eventual colour is illustrated well here.

  220. Cockroach nymph (Blattodea) - DSC_2897
  221. Cockroach nymph (Blattodea)

    No idea what cockroach this is, but it is pretty!

  222. Diptera: Flies

    Robberfly (Asilidae) in cordyceps fungus - DSC_6243
  223. Robberfly (Asilidae) in cordyceps fungus

    Cordyceps fungus is a common sight on robberflies, but never ceases to be a good topic for discussion.

  224. Mosquito (Stegomyia albopicta) - DSC_3809
  225. Mosquito (Stegomyia albopicta)

    More commonly known as the Aedes mosquito. Yes the one that spreads dengue, chikungunya, yellow fever, and most recently the Zika virus. Thank you David for the sacrifice!!

  226. Soldier fly (Stratiomyidae) - DSC_8946
  227. Soldier fly (Stratiomyidae)

    Close ups on the eyes of these charismatic flies would almost always make the annual list.

  228. Hymenoptera: Wasps, Bees, Ants

    Chalcid wasp parasitoids (Trichogramma sp.) - DSC_2982
  229. Chalcid wasp parasitoids (Trichogramma sp.)

    With a light behind, I was able to see the little parasitoids inside the eggs.

  230. Ichneumon wasp (Pimplinae) - DSC_4472
  231. Ichneumon wasp (Pimplinae)

    I don’t shoot much wasps, so most are lifers anyway!

  232. Caterpillar with parasitoid wasps - DSC_8043
  233. Caterpillar with parasitoid wasps

    The host had already shriveled, and the parasitoids are obviously fat!

  234. Ant (Dolichoderus sp.) - DSC_8126
  235. Ant (Dolichoderus sp.)

    Transporting a little one?

  236. Lepidoptera: Butterflies, Moths

    5 Mysterious Structures from the World's Smallest Architects
  237. 5 Mysterious Structures from the World’s Smallest Architects (Psychidae)

    I wrote an article on tiny structures created by nature’s tiny architects, focusing on the little log cabins constructed by psychid moths. Read more about it here.

  238. Cerulean butterfly (Jamides sp.) - DSC_3937
  239. Cerulean butterfly (Jamides sp.)

    I usually give butterflies a miss, as there are already many people who photograph butterflies and do it much better than I can. Nevertheless, here’s a little tribute to the flying jewels.

  240. Nawab caterpillar (Polyura sp.) - DSC_2091
  241. Nawab caterpillar (Polyura sp.)

    The dragon-head caterpillar, always a favorite!

  242. Jewel caterpillar (Limacodidae) - DSC_0867
  243. Jewel caterpillar (Limacodidae)

    Mysteriously alluring jewel caterpillar. Check out my earlier post on a jewel caterpillar from the neotropics.

  244. Mad haterpillar (Sarbena lignifera) - DSC_1000
  245. Mad haterpillar (Sarbena lignifera)

    Another rare sighting of the unique caterpillar that keeps its head’s shell after each moult. What results is a bizarre stack of heads. Check out my photo series from last year.

  246. Fluffy monster - DSC_7933
  247. Fluffy monster

    Identified as Epipyropidae later on, but still looked like a fluffy monster.

  248. Mantodea: Mantises

    Twig mantis (Euchomenella sp.) - DSC05451
  249. Twig mantis (Euchomenella sp.)

    Wide angle view of a lanky twig-like mantis.

  250. Banded flower mantis (Theopropus elegans) - DSC_2314
  251. Banded flower mantis (Theopropus elegans)

    Always wanted to photograph an adult flower mantis in Singapore, and was finally rewarded with the sighting of a male. Next target would be the adult female! (or a mating pair)

  252. Mantis moulting (Mantodea) - DSC_8348
  253. Mantis moulting (Mantodea)

    An interesting back-lit scene of a mantis that was almost completely out of its moult.

  254. Mantis (Creobroter sp.) - PA120128
  255. Mantis (Creobroter sp.)

    This handsome Creobroter nymph has distinctly pointed eyes.

  256. Mantis ootheca with moult - DSC_1041
  257. Mantis ootheca with moult

    At first, we thought that a tiny mantis was emerging from its ootheca. On closer inspection, it was just the shell of a moult.

  258. Neuroptera: Net-Winged Insects

    Antlion (Myrmeleontidae) - DSC_1631
  259. Antlion (Myrmeleontidae)

    I’ve always wanted to photograph an antlion in Singapore. Unfortunately this one was almost dead by the time we found it.

  260. Brown lacewing (Hemerobiidae) - DSC_8636
  261. Brown lacewing (Hemerobiidae)

    Looks like a plain little lacewing, but made it to the list as it belongs to a separate family due to the differences in wing venation.

  262. Odonata: Dragonflies, Damselflies

    Dragonfly (Anisoptera) - DSC_6741
  263. Dragonfly (Anisoptera)

    A cheeky experimental extreme wide angle close up. Image quality is poor, so more tweaks to the equipment will be made next year!

  264. Dragonfly (Camacinia gigantea) - DSC_3235
  265. Dragonfly (Camacinia gigantea)

    We see this dragonfly in abundance in our parks. Here’s a slightly different take.

  266. Dragonfly freshly emerged (Anisoptera) - DSC_3644b
  267. Dragonfly freshly emerged (Anisoptera)

    A delicate moment as the dragon emerges.

  268. Orthoptera: Katydids, Grasshoppers, Crickets

    Katydid (Tettigoniidae) - DSC_8882
  269. Katydid (Tettigoniidae)

    Ultraviolet fluorescence is common in some katydids.
  270. Phasmatodea: Stick Insects

    Stick insect (Phasmatodea) - DSC_2199
  271. Stick insect (Phasmatodea)

    A simple scene, but I like the way that the stick insect is revealed subtly with a little bit of light from the side.

  272. Stick insect (Phasmatodea) - DSC_2581
  273. Stick insect (Phasmatodea)

    Fresh from its moult!

  274. Myriapoda: Centipedes, Millipedes

  275. Centipede (Chilopoda)

    We’ve always wanted to shoot a centipede with blue legs. Late Christmas present, photographed on new year’s eve!

  276. Giant centipede (Scolopendra sp.) - DSC05503x
  277. Giant centipede (Scolopendra sp.)

    One of my favorite centipede shots of the year using a wide angle perspective. Luckily, the centipede didn’t flinch when I went really close to it.

  278. House centipede (Scutigeridae) - DSC_2130
  279. House centipede (Scutigeridae)

    Sexy long-legged centipede feeding on what appears to be… a spider?

  280. Pill millipede (Zephroniidae) - DSC_2681
  281. Pill millipede (Zephroniidae)

    We’ve seen the pill millipedes many times on the forest floor, but this is the first sighting of a mating pair!

  282. Gastropoda: Snails

    Snail hatchlings (Gastropoda) - DSC_8300
  283. Snail hatchlings (Gastropoda)

    Tiny baby snails just hatched, and a little shy to show their cute stubbly eyes. If you ever wondered how snail embryos looked like, read my detailed post from last year.

  284. Onychophora: Velvet Worms

    Velvet worm (Onychophora) - DSC_6318
  285. Velvet worm (Onychophora)

    The year-end wet weather brought with it an increase of velvet worm sightings. We found 2 in a night!

  286. Reptilia: Reptiles

    Whip snake (Ahaetulla sp.) - DSC04192
  287. Whip snake (Ahaetulla sp.)

    Didn’t have many nice snake pictures this year, but here’s a wide angle perspective to remember 2016 by!

  288. Gecko (Gekkota) - DSC_7147
  289. Gecko (Gekkota)

    Extreme close up of a little gecko that didn’t mind me sticking a lens into its face. Experimental setup with low image quality.

  290. Aves: Birds

    Oriental dwarf kingfisher (Ceyx erithaca) - DSC_3243
  291. Oriental dwarf kingfisher (Ceyx erithaca)

    I rarely take photos of birds, but occasionally we’d bump into some of them. Here’s a simple take with faint side lights while being careful not to expose bright lights on the kingfisher.

  292. Plantae: Plants

    Slime mould - ESC_0028
  293. Slime mould

    Tiny little forest.

  294. Cup fungi (Cookeina sp.) - DSC_4118
  295. Cup fungi (Cookeina sp.)

    These cup fungi are uncommon and were spotted in Lentor Forest.

  296. Bridal veil stinkhorn (Phallaceae) - DSC_1378
  297. Bridal veil stinkhorn (Phallaceae)

    Finally got to photograph a complete bridal stinkhorn. In my last attempt, I rushed down after notification of a sighting and was greeted by a wilted indistinguishable mush.

  298. Mushrooms (Fungi) - DSC_9886
  299. Mushrooms (Fungi)

    An idea on lighting up fungi. 🙂

  300. Non-Macro Highlights

    Maliau Basin - The Lost World of Borneo
  301. Maliau Basin – The Lost World of Borneo

    A photo journal of my short trip to Maliau Basin. There was a severe drought that lasted for months, but we had several interesting finds.

  302. Laowa 12mm F/2.8 ZERO-D Preview
  303. Laowa 12mm F/2.8 ZERO-D Preview

    Had a new lens in hand and did a video preview, including some wacky timelapse sequences of Singapore’s cityscape. This lens is able to focus at pretty close distances as well!

  304. Spider Photo Exhibition @ Senckenberg Natural History Museum
  305. Spider Photo Exhibition @ Senckenberg Natural History Museum

    My second photo exhibition in Europe launched with a blast! Read about the day’s events here.

  306. New boss, with all my other bosses - DSC_5995
  307. New boss, with all my other bosses

    Biggest highlight of the year is my new boss of the family. I’m still at the bottom of the hierarchy apparently.




Hi my name is Nicky Bay. I am a macro photographer, instructor and book author, travelling the world to document the vast micro biodiversity that nature has to offer. Follow my updates and discover with me the incredible beauty and science behind our planet's micro creatures!

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