There were plenty of insects by the trail from Venus Drive all the way to Bukit Timah but also a healthy holiday crowd of strollers to make their documentation a wee dodgy. The clearing that runs parallel to the golf course and its outcast host of shacks is rich in edge species, from fencehugging lizards to delicate blue butterflies. On the tall grasses and sensitive mimosa fringing the path between the forest and the feeder road there are day-flying moths, skippers, dragonflies, bees and fat-bodied flies.
Down from the tree tops, monkey droppings on the track to Rifle Range Road drew the sips of cruising nymphs. A girthal expansion of the track served as a pow-wow for striped flutterers, an insect so addicted to the lightness of air that it seems to regard a brief perch as too unbearable a moment of heaviness. The disproportionately long wings makes the animal appear squat but they offer a high loading that lifts the dragonfly into the air with an ease more akin to the lazy winging of butterflies. The waspish base stripes and dark wingtip markings serve as if to ward off midair collisions between the massed assembly as they hover like stiff yoyos suspended by celestial strings and dart about in search of in-flight meals.
On a tattered Dillenia leaf just before the expressway, a crab spider with a happy face on its centimetre-long abdomen lurked and permitted a single shot before perfoming a geronimo into the shrubbery. Further down on the Durian Loop, a pair of procreating micropezids, stockinged legs outstretched in ecstasy, defied my efforts to keep them in firm focus. I have not seen fireflies locally, though they are known to occur in spots undefiled by the fluorescent light of night. But there are other beetles to illuminate our path by day. The most frequently-seen species of tiger beetle typically haunts sandy clearings, scampering with fearsome speed and hugely protective of their personal space. Another species gets by without wings. This third discovery flitted before us, a glowing flicker of fairy blue that spiralled onto a wayside bush. It turned out to be a Cicindelid half the size of its commoner cousin and with double the iridescence. Beauty it may be, but outsized eyes and mandibles lined with rows of ripping teeth promises a fast and fatal end to slower crawlers that fail to escape its feasting fancy.