Monday, January 25, 2010

Hunting spot: Taman Bandar, Puchong

Taman Bandar is located in Bandar Puteri in Puchong, or somewhere around that. The most direct route if you are coming from LDP southbound, just take the left exit at Tractors Malaysia at the signboard saying Kampung Puchong. If you miss that, you’ll come to the junction that splits to Putrajaya and to Shah Alam. After the turn, take another turn to the left and you will come across a traffic light facing a pump up grocery store name Puteri Mart. Take left. After 30 meters you will find the park on your right, just before a huge badminton complex.

Map to Taman Bandar

It is a decent public park with a small playground and streams flowing greywater on both sides. Some people fish there although I don’t think I have the stomach to consume anything bred inside the murky water. Walk straight upon entering and you will find hibiscus, bamboo, bakong and some other plants which are good habitat for insects and spiders. You arrival might be greeted by dragonflies and damselflies which are quite abundant throughout the park.

I have been frequenting this park since 2006, ever since I got my macro lens. There are plenty of spiders here from many families such as Thomisidae (crab), Tetragnathidae (big jaw), Salticidae (jumping), Oxyopidae (lynx), Araneidae (orb weaver) and Sparassidae (huntsman). Usually it won’t take you long to find one if you look closely at the shrubs for webs or silk trails. At the further end of the park is a patch of hibiscus isolated in a small field which houses plenty of spiders, mantis and dormant mosquitoes.

Big-jaw spider, Tetragnathidae

Mangrove jumper Ligurra latidens, Salticidae

I noticed that the frequency of finding certain kinds of hunting spiders here varies according to the time of the day. Morning usually means plenty of encounters with jumping spiders including the ant mimic genera Agorius and Myrmarachne. The latter is very easily distinguished by the ridiculously extended jaws which makes it looks like an ant carrying something. There are also the larger salticid like Ligurra which preys on other spiders, often seen invading the nests of crab spiders or any spider retreat they can find. Along the jogging trails are patches of purple plants where several kinds of jumping spiders can be easily found since their camouflage does not work well with that colour.

Female lynx spider guarding egg sac, Oxyopidae

Afternoon is when the lynx spider takes over. At the hibiscus patch I mentioned earlier, you can see them almost everywhere. At one time I counted 12 of them in visual range from the point I was standing. Lynx spiders need to be approached carefully as their eye sight is pretty keen albeit the small eyes. If you are lucky, you can trace a mature male (the one with big black pedipalps resembling boxing gloves) moving to court a female. There is quite a variety of lynx spiders here and I reckon at least 3 distinct species. This was also the place where I encountered my first lynx spider.

Crab spiders can be found both morning and afternoon although they are the most cryptic compared to the others. At least 8 different species of crab spider can be found in this park- 4 of them white or whitish yellow, 2 brown and 2 green. Because they hardly move around and they camouflage will with whatever they are sitting on, very careful observation is needed to locate one. The body length of adult females is usually between 6-10mm while the males are usually about 3mm and mostly have 2 shades of brown.

Female crab spider, Thomisidae

Other day time orb weavers are present from sunrise to sunset. At the bamboo patch you can find some Argiope and other araneidaes. There are also plenty of Tetragnatha near the water edge and occasionally you might find some Opadometa having their webs beneath the big trees.

An unidentified spider, maybe a Clubionidae

Ant mimmick spider Myrmarachne sp., Salticidae

For those who are also interested in finding insects, you need no help in finding dragonflies and damselflies as they are all over especially at the side bordering the badminton complex. Other interesting insects you might be able to find are hoverfly, mantis, butterfly, ladybird, phasmid and grasshopper. Just look for the greens and you’ll be on the right track.

Crab spider, Thomisidae

Towards the end of 2009 there has been a steady decline in the number and variety of arthropods that can be found in this park. There is a construction works being carried out just not far from the park which I suppose contributed to the situation. Since the park is not far from housing areas, fogging activities within the surrounding area might also have a strong impact on the fauna population. One hope we have is its rather close proximity to the Ayer Hitam forest reserve where new individuals might migrate to the park to replenish the decimated population.

Hazard: Some mosquito.
Families encountered: Salticidae, Thomisidae, Tetragnathidae, Araneidae, Pholcidae, Sparassidae, Clubionidae, Oxyopidae, Lycosidae, Uloboridae.
Other remarks: Not advisable to go during weird hours such as noon. I have encountered a bunch of people gambling discretely and doing some weird stuff.

1 comment:

  1. A really big thanks to you sir.
    Really appreciate for your advice.
    i did agreed with your opinion.
    for some reason right now,i can't put my my 110% on my photography.1 of the reason was,i need to find a mentor.
    and hope you can continue to provide me some useful tips on macro and street photography.