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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Mountain Horned Dragons (Acanthosaura)

They are insectivorous which means they depend on insect as their primary diet. As it tolerates being handled fairly well it is considered to be charming and popularly kept as exotic pets in some countries. It also has a reputation of becoming docile and calm once acclimatised to its surroundings.

Normally preferring to dwell high on trees, this specimen I encountered seem to have chosen a more adventurous path.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Spiny Spider - Gasteracantha Fornicata

An unusual looking spider with a hard outer shell that is colourful with yellow horizontal stripes on a deep brown almost black background. I believe most people are not aware that a spider can look like that.

It was a challenged to photograph it as it has a tendency to turn the underside up.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Golden Tortoise Beetle (Metiona Bivittata)

From the family of Chrysomelidae, it is a captivating beetle with a shiny metallic gold shell, this beetle can change color from gold to shades of brown within a short period of time if under stress or when it dies.

From what I read, the gold color is caused by a thin layer of moisture between the shell and the body and by squeezing this layers, it is able to have this color variation.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Green Crested Lizard (Bronchocela cristatella)

An interesting bright green lizard capable of changing color, becoming a shade of darker brown when threatened.
Can be found in forests as well as parks and rural areas and only easily spotted once off its camouflage environment.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Gomphidae - Gomphidictinus perakensis

A large dragonfly and by looking at the way it take flight a strong flyer too. There are 15 odonate families in Penisular Malaysia and Gomphidae forms the second largest family with 35 species. I found this beautiful specimen at a foothill near a running stream.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Skippers (Taractrocera Archias Quinta)

Skippers look like moths but are actually butterflies, compare with the normal butterflies we often see, they have bigger eyes with thicker thorax and small short wings.
The example shown is a species found in Malaysia.

Skippers get their name due to their “skipping” flight, darting or skipping from place to place.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Cereal Leaf Beetle (Oulema melanopus)

Native to Europe and Asia and has been a serious pest of cereal crops for certain areas of Europe for many years.

Adult beetles are approximately 5 mm long and have metallic looking, bluish black heads and wing covers with the thorax and legs in a rust-red color.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Angle-wing Katydid (Tettigoniids)

Tettigoniids are different from grasshoppers, the length of their filamentous antennae, may exceed their own body length, while grasshoppers' antennae are shorter.

The family Tettigoniidae, also known as katydids or bush crickets, contains more than 6,400 species. They are also known as long-horned grasshoppers, although they are more closely related to crickets than to grasshoppers.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Asiatic Oak Weevil (Cyrtepictomus castaneus)

With a long snout, elbowed antennae and a body shape of a snail, it stands out amongst other insect.

This is my first encounter with this species of insect.
Belonging to the family of true weewils, it has more than 40,000 species worldwide.Touching it will make it play dead.

Generally considered as a pest it has made its way to America and has been listed as an invasive species.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Brief winter visit to Ottawa, Canada

Welcome news was received that I will be attending a training session in Ottawa for a few days. This will be my first time making my way to this part of the world and I look forward to it. The journey will take more than 24 hours including transits in Hong Kong and Toronto.
With a time difference of 13 hours between Kuala Lumpur and Ottawa, it is literally the other side of the world, morning over there and night here. It played havoc with my biological clock and the weather difference was a big challenge and I never did aclimatised to the Canadian winter, developing a persistent cough in no time which went away on returning home. The excessive use of heaters indoors while there I believe also caused some of the problems I had, the humidy was too low and my body was not accustomed to these drastic fluctuations.
Yes, it was really cold outside with temperature of -14⁰C at times and when you include wind chill factor it was almost unbearable for me. But never the less, I intend not to miss touring Ottawa when I get the opportunity.
This opportunity presented itself on my last day in Canada, cocooned in my brand new winter gears I brave the outdoors and step out of my warm and comfortable Hotel to join a walking tour booked in advance, as it turned out, I was the sole visitor taking this organised tour on this day. As implied the walking tour will proceed rain or shine regardless of the number of people and true enough this was honoured by my guide Craig MacDonald of, I highly recommend this guided tour if you have limited time and do not want to splurge on expenses. Craig is a very knowlegeble and capable guide and I am convinced he has a geniune interest in doing this part time job of his.

Parliament Hill home of the Parliament of Canada.

Rideau Canal

Opened in 1832 initially as a precaution in case of war with the United States and is still in use today as a recreational waterway. Ironically, no further military engagements took place between Canada and the United States after it was built.

Terry Fox Statue the meeting point for the walking tour.

Spark street one of Ottawa’s heritage streets.

Ottawa River

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Tiger Moth

A Tiger Moth, also called the Day-Flying Moth as they are active during the day, has about 11,000 species found all over the world belonging to the Arctiidae family of moths.

The specimen shown is one of the many species of Tiger moth.
They usually have bright colours as warning to predators that they are toxic.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Geometrid Moth (Dysphania Glaucescen)

Going by the common name of Geometrid moth in the order of Lepidoptera with the family name of Geomitridae, I find this particular species most interesting with its attractive colour and markings.
Members of this Order of moths consist of a large number of diverse families.
It is also a good subject for photography as during rest, this moth holds its wings in a flat plane, perpendicular to their body, even when disturbed it remains still and inactive.

A detailed study of the particular moth is found in the following site:

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Medan’s layer cake

Medan’s “kue lapis legit” as they are locally called is something of a must buy if you are leaving Medan for home. It has gone to the stage where every time I make a trip there, buying a box or two on the way back becomes customary. Through the years I have also seen this rather unique cake of Medan evolved into having more variety of flavors available.

In fact it has become so successful that there is a street (Jalan Mojopahit) in Medan that is lined full of cake houses selling these layer cakes.
In one of the cake house we frequent, we can see how the cakes are made through a glass panel. The cakes are baked in industrial size ovens where after each layer is baked a new layer is added on till sufficient layers are accumulated, a rather long tedious repetitive process.

I have counted a total of between 14 to 16 layers for each cake depending on each individual cake house. Once the final layer is baked, it is taken out of the oven and cut to standard size measuring 20 x 20 cm each.
Next they are packed into its own box, here is where you will see the packing of the cakes being make into an exact science, design for easy carrying and efficient storage till it arrives at its destination to be opened.

If you did not make it to Jalan Mojopahit to shop for these unique cakes Medan has to offer for whatever reason, do not despair as they are still available at the airport albeit slightly more expensive. Do try out different cake shops, there is a difference in texture and taste.