September 2013: Tropical carpenter bee (Xylocopa latipe). This solitary bee is one of the worlds largest bees. they are often seen frequenting flowers and revisiting favoured perches
October 2013: Leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis). This beautiful animal was photographed on one of the camera traps in the BEFTA plots. These small cats are fairly common in the plantations where they feed on a variety of prey including rats. This individual heard the click of the camera a moment before and is responding to the unusual noise by putting its back up!
November 2013: Dung beetles of the genus Catharsius sp., these large nocturnal tunnellers are often the dominant species of dung beetle in terms of biomass and are important ecosystem service providers contributing to soil fertility and hydrological processes and to the reduction pests and diseases through dung removal. for more information see Eleanor Slade and Darren Mann’s a photo guide on their dung beetle work at BEFTA.
December 2013: Yellow Assassin Bug (Cosmolestes picticeps). This predatory species, of than family Reduviidae, is important in the biological control of herbivore pests within the plantation. Though only 1.5cm in length these brightly coloured bugs are conspicuous fly above the plantation understory.
January 2014: Bird’s Nest Fern (Asplenium nidus). These epiphytic ferns are a high canopy species within Southeast Asian forests, but are abundant in oil palm plantations where the microclimate is similar to the upper forest canopy. These ferns provide a valuable habitat for a diverse invertebrate community for more information see work carried out by Cambridge Insect Ecology Group.
February 2014: Clearwing Gem (Libellago hyalina). These little dragonflies are often seen resting on vegetation in the plantations over rapidly flowing water. We are currently developing some dragonfly identification guides which will be available under the resources page soon.
March 2014: Native to Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore, (Black-eyed Litter Frog) Leptobrachium nigrops is usually found in forest, but we’ve come across it in two of the BEFTA plots so far. They have skinny arms and legs – leptobrachium = lepto (slender) + brachium (arm) – and a giant head compared to the rest of their body.
April 2014: Red Junglefowl (Gallus gallus). Another picture from Naim’s camera traps, these beautiful birds are ancestors to domestic chickens. They are opportunistic and omnivorous feeders and able to use a verity of habitats – and are often seen in managed landscapes such as rubber and oil palm plantations.
May 2014: Neurothemis fluctuans sometimes called the Red Grasshawk. Males of these are medium sized dragonflies are brownish-red with a clear tip of the wings, females are lighter brown. As the name suggests the intensity of the colour is variable and changes with age. Making use of the ditches along the roads these dragonflies are found in abundance in the plantation.
June 2014: Tiger Barb (Puntius tetrazona during the last field season, we managed to find an afternoon to have a look at the fish in the plantation streams and ditches, finding around 20 species in a couple hours of surveing, including many species common to the aquarium trade such as this beautiful barb.
July 2014: Triangle Keelback (Xenochrophis trianguligerus) common in lowland forest this adaptable snake also survives well in managed habitats such as rice paddies and oil palm plantations. Feeding primarily on frogs, tadpoles and frogspawn they are usually found near fresh water and are good swimmers. This one photographed by Dave Kurz while he was on a nocturnal frog-transect.
August 2014: Callidulid moths. These day-flying moths, of the family Callidulidae, are seen skulking in the undergrowth within the plantations. There seem to be two morphologically different species at the BEFTA sites, the other with similar markings but more angular hind wings. At dusk these moths can be seen congregating around nectar rich plants along the roadside.
September 2014: Black-winged Kite (Elanus caeruleus). These small birds of prey are regularly seen hovering over the young palms in the replanted areas. The addition of perches provides roosts from which the birds can hunt rats, contributing to biocontrol within the plantation.