The dry strip of sand just above the high line of shredded Ulva at the mangrove's edge of Chek Jawa offers a fine hunting ground for many terrestrial arthropods. Sharing the fine white grains with tiny crabs, beachhoppers, isopods and mudskippers are members of largely landlocked orders who thrive on the peripheries of inward habitats. The most visible prowlers are hunters – mottled brown wolf spiders that clamber over crumbling jetsam of dark twigs and bright calyxes; keen-eyed tiger beetles with iridescent elytra that sparkle like jewels in the midday sun as they take off from a rapid dash; and dogged ants with trap-jaw mandibles ready to spring shut at a hairtrigger. In random synchrony, they scour the surface seeking nourishment from fresh bodies who in turn scavenge on still flesh.
A few wasps were also pottering about, the most prominent being a dozen or so large (about an inch-long) creatures with broad abdomens of powder blue and humongous eyes in jadeite green. Individuals were hovering and landing at select sites on the sand; some would commence digging only to be buzzed off by another. A number of small holes were already evident and were probably being filled with the living remains of the small flies on which this digger and its kin feed their grubs. Tagged as Bembix sp., the wasps are members of a large family, Sphecidae, with some 8,000 species of solitary hymenopterans that focus on specific prey. Some specialise on cockroaches, others take butterflies, there are weevil-hunters and cricket catchers. Like its similarly-clad cousin across the ocean, this Asian species remains unidentified, but both are avowed foes of Dipterans, to whom they bear more than a passing resemblance head-on. From the boardwalk, one can only wonder, would it not be nice to be born within sight of the sea and bearing a footprint so small that no sign remains of used cradle and empty crèche when one emerges to feel the laden air and taste the flavours of feet daubed in damp quartz? And thence to live by the tempo of virgin wings that power a hawk of minuscule fury? Wouldn't it be so, even if deep down your heart is blue and black from beatings of soft words that sting worse than hard jibes?