Friday, January 29, 2010

Singapore Bug List

In response to queries from some readers regarding the types of bugs (macroinvertebrates) found in Singapore's fresh waters, I have compiled a quick list of the bugs I have encountered.

I have broadly classified our fresh water bodies into 3 types:

1. Ponds
Figure: A very stagnant pond next to Sungei Ulu Pandan

Figure: Turbid pond in the forest near Dover MRT station. (Sorry folks, if you intend to visit this one, forget it as the whole area is now under construction.)

Bugs present:
  1. Leeches! And big ones too! These are whoppers compared to the tiny terrestrial ones commonly encountered in Malaysian jungles. I was told that they are Buffalo Leeches (unverified).

    There are also tiny ones (fingernail sized).
  2. Dragonfly
  3. Damselfly
  4. Water stick insect
  5. Mayfly
  6. Pond skater
  7. Chironomid ("Bloodworm")
  8. Sludge worm
  9. Beetle
NO Caddisfly!

Unsurprisingly, when the dissolved oxygen (DO) level drops low (say below 2-3mg/L), the ponds become infested with leeches which crowd out the friendly bugs e.g. Mayflies.

2. Streams

Figure: Ngee Ann Stream riffles surrounded by secondary forest then. If you want to visit this wonderful stream, do it soon because the adjacent land is cleared and under construction (yawn, what else is new?). Who knows when the stream will be paved over to make way for yet another condominium?

Figure: Binjai Stream. A good old clear stream PROVIDED rains do not wash sediments into it.

Figure: Tributary into Sungei Pandan. This is a good example of a canal that looks like a natural stream.

Bugs present:
  1. Snail (lots of them in the tributary leading to Sg Pandan)
  2. Collembola
  3. Dragonfly
  4. Damselfly
  5. Eel
  6. Shrimp
  7. Crab (Binjai Stream. Yes, this stream is clean and natural enough to find crabs.)
NO Mayfly! NO Caddisfly!

3. Freshwater reservoir

Figure: MacRitchie Reservoir. Fully exposed to the sky.
Bugs present:

  1. Mayfly

  2. Dragonfly

  3. Damselfly

  4. Chironomid

  5. Shrimp

  6. Snail

  7. Lentil Shrimp

  8. Caddisfly
NO Leech!

Disclaimer: Haha, this is definitely not a complete list. All the above bugs are based on my experience in those waters.

Strangely, NO Plecoptera (Stonefly) and Megaloptera have been found so far in Singapore waters! These 2 orderse are supposed to be really common in other countries e.g. USA, UK.

Acknowledgement: Many thanks to Esther for introducing me to the world of water bugs! I am still learning lots more from her.

One last comment:
Forget about finding bugs in artificial fish ponds with little or no natural substrate - e.g. below


Grace said...

on the last point:
sometimes planners forget that not all water bodies are created equal. ;)

The Singapore Writing Homemaker said...

I like this blog. Thanks for sharing about this topic as my young children simply love to learn about bugs.