Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Eco Field trip #3: Adinandra Belukar

I didn't post my 2nd field trip to Sungei Buloh cos din took that many pictures that time. Well, this is a definitely must post trip, cos it was such an eye opener!

Adinandra belukar, from my practical handout, is basically a secondary forest with degraded soil. Soils are highly acidic and nutrient poor. Our study is done today in the forest along Kent Ridge Road.

We learnt about some of the keystone plants of the Adinandra belukar, like the tiup tiup, simpoh air (I finally know its name!) and tembusu. My TA Lainie was telling us that the fruit bats feed on the fruits of the tiup tiup. Theres bat droppings everywhere!

bat shit
Bat shit

Tempusu (Fagraea fragrans) is probably one of the easier identifiable trees around as its trunk possesses deeply fissured bark. Flowers are fragrant and cream-colored. On the other hand, the tiup tiup tree has branches of alternate leaves with young tip leaves being reddish in color. It also have small, white rounded fruits growing on the branches.

Tempusu Fagraea fragrans
Fissured bark
Tempusu Fagraea fragrans

Tempusu Fagraea fragrans
Alternate leaves of tiup tiup

On the grass patch, I noticed many spider webs. I read about these spiders before somewhere, but somehow it slipped my mind. Anyone know?

And then we started bashing into the forest, down the slope. Must be interesting for most of the girls who have never been to army. Especially for Denise I guess who grab a big tree branch as a walking stick for support. Reminds me of Gandalf in LOTR somehow ;p

A hazardous climb down

We went to search for a suitable transect site to do our study and decided on a nice one with little cobwebs and rather accessible (at least that what I feel). But apparently, there were some dead falling trees around but the group was careful, well they had to be. Chopchop finished everything and we were out just as rain started pouring.

Some stuff Jinghui spotted:

Some blue berries (anyone can ID it?) and cicada larvae moults. The moult is sitting in my plastic container now.

Web decorations or stabilimenta taken by jingui. Probably made by the St Andrew's Cross Spiders of the genus Argiope. There are many theories behind it, some say it is used to stablised the web (hence the name stabilimenta), to make the web visible to larger animals to prevent them bumping into the web or even to attract prey by reflecting UV light. From wiki.

Pitcher plants were the surprise of the day, as we saw so many of them around!

pitcher plant
Growing right in the middle of the trail, a healthy looking pitcher plant

pitcher plant
Closeup of the modified drip tips

Nepenthes gracilis
Some more nice photogenic pitchers

Lainie pointed out more tiny pitchers growing on the grass field!
Nepenthes gracilis
Tiny pitchers

A fun-filled and enjoyable day today. As always with the fun-loving denise and kai-qin and the aspiring bryophyte enthusiast jinghui. And of cos my TA who always give us a free rein to explore.


fengrun said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
fengrun said...

Think those webs are built by grass spiders

Siyang said...

What an appropriate name :D

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