Polyspora axillaris 大頭茶
In bloom and afterwards.
26 Oct 2013, HK Island east.
Leaf-footed Bug Pseudomictis distinctus, on leaves of their favourite food plant, the white jade orchid tree (Michelia x alba).
Top: adult female; Bottom: mating pair with a nearby nymph
[Coreidae, Coreinae, Mictini]
3-25 Aug 2013, HK Island east.
Calotes versicolor in the dusk
Photos taken on 7 Aug 2013, Hong Kong Island east.
Adult total body length estimated 40 cm. This is a medium sized insectivore lizard belonging to the family Agamidae, common in Hong Kong throughout the territory.
These lizards love sun basking, are often found on walls and shrubs everywhere enjoying the noon sun, prefer open lands and dry shrublands to dense forests, and are often quite bold (in my experience) - they would often allow me within 3 feet and stare back at me for a good long while, before fleeing.
They are normally able to change their body patterns and colours up to an extent, in response to environmental variations. During breeding season in spring, the heads and upper bodies of sexually mature males will turn a brilliant shade of red. Their gular folds also turn red with a patch of inky black in courtship display.
This species is widely distributed from southern Iran eastwards to southern China, and southwards to Indonesia.
Günther’s Frog (Hylarana guentheri) [Family Ranidae]
Photos taken on 8 Aug 2013, Shing Mun, Hong Kong.
~8 cm long, sitting on a giant taro leaf on a swelteringly hot day.
This species is found in SE China, HK, Taiwan, Macau, and Vietnam.
Some awkward shots of a Gold Button daisy under an unforgiving sun… (Acmella paniculata, Asteraceae)
Photos taken on 8 Aug 2013, Shing Mun, Hong Kong.
This is an annual herb up to 30 cm tall that grows in fields, wastelands, and forest margins. Historically it has been used as an anesthetic, often for toothaches, in Thailand, China and India. The flower heads and leaves are chewed in treatment. The plant is reportedly also used to treat fever and rheumatism.
Species distribution: SE Asia (incl India, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, HK) (via efloras Flora of China)
Hippotion rosetta [Sphingidae]
Photographed on 11 Aug 2013, Hong Kong Island east.
Wingspan ~66 mm. This individual was found as a final instar larva on Hedyotis corymbosa, a roadside weed in Hong Kong.
General species info: distributed in Indo-Australian tropics incl China, Japan, Taiwan, Borneo, Thailand, and the Philippines. It has also colonized Hawaii. Reported larval food plants include plants of Rubiaceae family such as Borreriasp, Morinda sp, and Pentas sp.
Sea Lettuce / Fanflower (Scaevola taccada) 草海桐 [Goodeniaceae]
Photos taken on 30 Jul 2013, Big Wave Bay, southern Hong Kong Island.
A large shrub to be found throughout coastal areas of SE Asia, the Philippines, Indonesia, northern Australia, east Africa and more. Often a pioneering plant species on new sandbanks, it is well adapted to coastal environment - high salt tolerance, preference for sandy soil, fruit that can float in seawater, easily propagated from stem cuttings.
In HK it is often found growing together with the Screwpine tree (Pandanus sp.), another common coastal plant which produces bright orange edible fruit that resemble a pineapple.
Black Hover Wasp (Eustenogaster nigra) 黑真狹腹胡蜂 [Vespidae:Stenogastrinae]
Photograhed on 8 Aug 2013, Shing Mun, Hong Kong.
This is the only hover wasp (family Vespidae, subfamily Stenogastrinae) so far recorded in Hong Kong. This species was first identified in 2006 from specimens collected in northern Vietnam by Saito, Nguyen, Carpenter and Kojima. Till 2009 the species has been recorded only in Thailand, northern Vietnam, HK, Yanping (Fujian), and possibly Yunnan.
A relatively large hover wasp, E. nigra males have a body length of 18-20mm while females range from 19-21.5mm. This species is known to overwinter on the nest and males have been reported to overwinter with virgin females in envelope nests, mating upon emergence after winter dormancy. Colonies are usually founded by a solitary fertilized female and colony size is usually well under 10, as the sexually mature daughters leave the nest to start new colonies of their own. The nests found in HK rarely contain more than 4 individuals.
Hover wasps of the subfamily Stenogastrinae share a slender physique with a petiole that is often as long or longer than all other abdominal segments put together. This is an important physical adaptation that plays a vital role in egg-laying in females as they are able to ventrally bend their gastrum so far to touch the end of their abdomens to their mandibles, to collect a viscid abdominal substance into her mouth, and then to grasp the egg emerging. (For a more specific description of the oviposition behavior in stages please read here)
“A new Eustenoga[s]ter species (Hymenoptera, Vespidae, Stenogastrinae), the first hover wasp known to overwinter on the nest”, by Saito, Nguyen, Carpenter, and Kojima, dated 2006
“Notes on the biology and nests of a hover wasp Eustenogaster nigra (Vespidae:Stenogastrinae) in Hong Kong”, by Christophe Barthelemy, via HK Entomological Society
“Egg Deposition in the Genus Parischnogaster (Hymenoptera: Stenogastrinae)”, by S. Turillazzi