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“It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.” – Neil Armstrong (1930-2012)

Fresh Reads from the Science 'o sphere!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Wild Biopolis

Although the Biopolis appears to be a highly sterile environment on the inside, there is an interesting assortment of animals that live in its gardens or around the premises.

Here are some animals that I spotted in the past year:

This tiny crab spider tried to hitch a ride on my shoulder into the lab. I managed to trap it in a Milo paper cup to take a closer look. A fellow graduate student who had a camera with a macro function took this photo for me. Later I released it back into the gardens.

Here is a fairly large grasshopper with orange legs. I've never seen grasshoppers with orange legs before. I also like the yellow grid pattern on its back.

This is an even larger grasshopper with glassy eyes. It must have been injured because it was hobbling around on only one hindleg. Its right hindleg is missing.

I spotted this black moth flying around from quite some distance away. Luckily for me it took a rest on a low-lying leaf and gave me a chance to take a photo of it. It has a nice blue-white halo pattern with some damage on its left wing. I'm not sure that it's a moth, I only assume it is not a butterfly since it spreads its wings open when resting.

I love egrets. They have beautiful, long wingspans and fly so elegantly. Unlike smaller birds like swallows which have to flutter their wings like mad in order to stay in the air, egrets flap their wings slowly and gracefully. Their landing approach resemble that of an aeroplane, gliding in slow with wings fully outstretched.

Here is one (I think a common egret) that landed on a grass patch near Biopolis. It had a few other companions. Since egrets are migratory birds one can only guess how far away their eventual destination was.

Sometimes after the rain you can hear toads croaking in a grassfield, but I didn't catch this one by sound. I was walking home one night and this toad hopped out of my path into the safety of a grass patch. It then stayed very still and very quiet - it didn't even flinch when I fired the flash at it from a few centimetres away.

And finally this quick lizard was scurrying to safety towards a tree when I caught a shot of it. These lizards are quite common to the area. I wonder why it has a dark-coloured throat though, other lizards appear to have a lighter coloured throat.


ah said...

I think that spider is deadly poisonous. One bite and your eyes disappear into your kidneys.

Lim Leng Hiong said...

Coincidentally I woke up with a sore back just a few nights back.

Could it be...

Nah, it's just one of those monkeys with spears.

Monkeys with spears?