Where were you half a billion years ago?

Insects are everywhere and, as far as we humans are concerned, they always have been and always will be. We, as a species, have been around for about 200,000 years. The first members of the primates – the taxonomic order we belong to – emerged around 80 million years ago. And the first vertebrates to leave the sea…

August Observation @ Ecogarden, Science Centre Singapore

I was inspired by a post on Facebook to make my way down to our Science Centre Ecogarden after a heavy rain one Friday (22 August) to see what insects I might spot. It was in the evening just before 6pm and I headed straight to a row of potted plants right in front of…

The botak Lyssa zampa

Almost three years ago, I blogged about Lyssa zampa, the tropical swallowtail moth. I had forgotten about this post, until we suddenly started getting a flurry of comments in the last few days, reporting sightings from all over Singapore. Obviously, 2014 is a bumper season for this impressive lepidopteran, and it seems unnecessary to add…

Is it a Black Rustic?

My house seems to be a magnet for insects. Beetles, praying mantises, moths, dragonflies. This is on top of the usual ones that you might find. The latest was a black moth sighted on a pipe on the night of 22 January. It might look a bit like a cockroach from far because of the…

Plant of the Day

The current plant of the day in the Ecogarden has to be the Wild Cockscomb (Celosia argentea). Not only because of the beauty of its radiant pink blooms and its sweet scent that permeates the ‘Healing Plants” section of our garden; and not only because”virtually every part of this plant is useful to man,” as…

Today’s Mystery – Bamboo Twist

How did this bamboo leaf (right) get tied up so neatly? I know of several leaf-rolling insects and spiders; There is a range of caterpillars that roll up leaves as shelters to pupate in, crickets and spiders that hide inside rolled-up leaves, weaver ants that use their larvae’s silk to assemble their nests from whole…

How small can you get?

We are generally quite good at imagining what it might be like to be another person. We seem to think that we can imagine what it is like to be a dog, or a cat, or a hamster. We are probably pushing the limits when we try to imagine what a bee might experience in…

An hour with… the Rubber Pavilion

Individual Science Centre exhibits usually get no more than a few minutes of attention, but spending a whole hour near one can be interesting… Singapore has had rubber trees since 1881, and you can learn all about the history, cultivation, harvesting and processing of this versatile natural resource at the Rubber Centenary Monument in the…

Ants and their pheromones (Part 2)

Recently I blogged about my observation of ants’ behaviours when sprayed by a homemade ant repellent solution of vinegar and water. You can read the last blog here. The solution has been useful for me at home, so I have more or less been diligently using it. Apparently, it works best (at repelling the ants)…

Ants and their pheromones (Part 1)

Ants infestation is sometimes a problem in my house. I am sure many of you are nodding in agreement. If you can live with it, great. Normally I don’t really mind them crawling around under the dish drainer or towards the rubbish bin which we will dispose of by the end of the day. What I…

A revisit of the caterpillar

You might have read our blog posts sometimes in July about this caterpillar that appeared in our office. 1. I spy with my little eye… 2. Nature is everywhere indeed! Or you might have just seen the picture or video post on our “Science It” Facebook page. In the composition picture above, we showed the…

Nature is everywhere

I had an intriguing five minutes this morning. Like every morning, I was washing the dishes after breakfast when I noticed, out of the corner of my eye, a movement on the kitchen wall above the sink. Expecting the usual ant or small moth or fly, I had a closer look, but couldn’t find anything….

The broken wing

I am a big fan of anything that creeps or crawls. I spent a few years training and watching ants and honey bees, so obviously I like those. But I also enjoy picking up beetles, or play with spiders. When a fly or moth is trapped behind a window, I will show them the way…

The fly on the wall

The Science Centre offers some great opportunities to get in touch with nature. There are the obvious ones, like our monthly Nature Discovery Trails, or a visit to the Ecogarden. Then there are the more subtle ones, like watching the chicks hatch in the Discovery Zone. But the most memorable encounters with wildlife are the…

Insect Kingdom – A home encounter

When I first moved to my new place in May 2011, my husband and I discovered a tiny resident spider which kept re-appearing at our service yard. We thought it was amusing to have a resident spider and did not think too much about it. Before that, we also had not paid much attention to…