04 January 2015

Hornbill, caterpillars and mangrove tree at Pulau Ubin

Ripping caterpillar pupae off a Perepat mangrove tree.
We watched this Oriental pied hornbill's fascinating behaviour from Ubin Jetty.


The bird grabbed and ripped off the pupa.
Then hopped over to a broader branch. Where it proceeded to 'wipe' the pupa along the sides of the rough bark.
Here's a closer look. Many times, the bird dropped the pupa before it could it eat. Butter bill? Or were the pupae unsuitable for eating?
About half of this Perepat tree was without leaves. Were the leaves eaten by the caterpillars that eventually pupated?
I also saw caterpillars eating up almost all the leaves on the Perepat tree growing on Pulau Sekudu (a small island off Pulau Ubin near Chek Jawa) in Aug 2013.
A closer look at the caterpillars on Pulau Sekudu.
A closer look at the pupa and caterpillars on Pulau Sekudu in Jul 2013.
I still don't know what kind of caterpillar this is. Are these the same as the pupa that the hornbill was ripping off at Ubin Jetty?
The trees had regained their leaves when I next visited Pulau Sekudu in Jun 2014.
So much more to discover and learn about our mangroves and animals that depend on them!

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