#12 Lower Pierce Reservoir

Lower Pierce Reservoir is a part of the Central Catchment Reserve in Singapore. It was initially cleared, but over the years, it has become a secondary forest.  I absolutely enjoyed the boardwalk, as it was silent- and I could listen to the beautiful sounds of the forest- the cicadas, chirping of the birds, and the occasional rustle of the monitor lizards. Starting at the Casuarina Entrance, we made our way through the Lower Pierce Nature trail to the fishing grounds, near the reservoir.

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Fig trees are an excellent source of food and shelter for many creatures such as ants, birds and squirrels. Whenever I look at a fig tree, I know it’s very important for the survival of a forest. Without it, many forms of life would not be able to survive. One surprising thing I learnt was that each species of fig is pollinated by a unique species of wasp. I read about it in the recent issue of Nature Society Singapore’s magazine.

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This was a Clouded Monitor Lizard (Varanus nebulosus)  that was foraging in the forest floor for food near the boardwalk.

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As we continued our walk, we reached the Bamboo Trail where we could get a glimpse of the reservoir.

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A stunning black, yellow and orange damselfly probably the Orange-striped Threadtail. I visited this blog and found out that it is a forest damselfly and is quite uncommon. The one I saw was the male, as the female has a white and brown marking. Just as written in the blog, it was easy to get close to and even if it flew away it returned to the same perch.

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I think this large butterfly that we saw flying high in the trees was the Palm King (Amathusia phidippus phidippus) which is supposed to be nocturnal and attracted to bright lights. I think the one we saw was attracted to the Sun!

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The Lower Pierce Reservoir:

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A beautiful flower and wasp:

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There were several Long-tailed Macaques that were near the reservoir:

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We also saw a Common Sun Skink, but it moved away from us so fast, I could only capture its lower body!

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A Cycad Blue (Chilades pandava pandava) resting among the leaves:

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This tree is known as the Cannonball Tree (Couroupita guianensis) and is native to the tropical forests South America, South Caribbean, India and Thailand. In India, it has been growing for the past 2 or 3 thousand years- and are usually grown near Shiva (  an Indian God) Temples as it is considered sacred. This is because the flower is said to resemble a sacred snake in the middle on a shiva lingam ( a symbol of Shiva). It is also grown in Buddhist temples. The flower was extremely unique with its multi colours- orange, pink and scarlet. They do not contain nectar, so attract many bees such as carpenter bees in the search of pollen. When the fruit of the tree falls when mature it cracks, causing the sound of a small explosion. No wonder its called the Cannonball tree! I learnt a lot while researching about this tree- It also has many medicinal properties, and contains many antiseptic and antibiotic properties.  It must have been grown in Singapore as a botanical curiosity  and for its medicinal properties. My father used to visit this tree to pick flowers for the temple when he was a child. He showed me how the flower represented the shiva lingam , and said it brought back many memories! What a wonderful tree this is.

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As my father showed me the flower, I squealed with excitement and told him to take his hand off the flower slowly. There was this spiny, red caterpillar which had a white layer in the middle. I have never seen something like that before! Digitalgate Tian from the Butterflies of Singapore and Malaysia facebook group said it was of the Tussock Moth:

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When we exited the park to the main road, we saw this gecko, which I think was the Spotted House Gecko (Gekko monarchus) on one of the trees.

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Lavanya Prakash

Blog- https://mynatureexperiences.wordpress.com/
Twitter- https://twitter.com/MyNatureExp
Facebook page- Mynatureexperiences
Email- mynatureexperiences(at)hotmail.com

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One thought on “#12 Lower Pierce Reservoir

  1. From post: “There was this spiny, red caterpillar which had a white layer in the middle. […] Digitalgate Tian from the Butterflies of Singapore and Malaysia facebook group said it was of the Tussock Moth”

    Indeed, your photo shows the caterpillar of Olene mendosa (synonym: Dasychira mendosa, Brown Tussock Moth). This moth is native to India, Taiwan, tropical SE Asia (including S’pore) & northern Australia (Queensland). It’s a common species here in S’pore.

    The adult is a small, dull greyish-brown moth with a wingspan of 3-4 cm — photos of a male. The thick hairy tufts along the caterpillar’s back are known as brushes — some people liken these to a row of teeth. Beware though that these brushes & other hairs on the caterpillar are known irritants that may cause rashes amongst sensitive individuals.

    More info & photos for Olene mendosa:
    * Siam Insect-Zoo & Museum
    * An exciting adventure with Olene mendosa (Brown Tussock Moth) — rearing the larva to adult stage
    * Moths of Borneo — detailed species profile

    This moth species has a wide range of host plants & the caterpillars are voracious eaters, feeding on leaves, flower buds, fruit buds & seeds. In S’pore, you can find the caterpillars in parks, forests & even mangroves.

    Some examples of its host plants include:
    * Fruit trees such as Syzygium aqueum (Jambu Air, Water Apple), Mangifera spp. (mangoes), Nephelium lappaceum (Rambutan);
    * Parkland & roadside plants like Syzygium myrtifolium (a small tree frequently planted close together as a hedge) & Tristellateia australasiae (Maiden’s Jealousy climber);
    * Forest giants such as Shorea spp. & Dipterocarpus spp.;
    * Mangrove trees like Bruguiera cylindrica (Bakau Putih, Black Mangrove) & Bruguiera gymnorhiza (Tumu, Orange Mangrove).

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