A Closer Look
Some of the wild here inspires us to take a closer look around the farm. You don’t really notice it at first until you have all these creatures cross your path. The bio-diversity and ecology of this little farm become breathtaking the closer you look.
We invite you to zoom in with us past the tangible vegetables and fruits, the trees and beds, the ponds and pens, to explore the earth and its lacing partners, the critters and delightful creepy crawlies that really make this place what it is.
As we have reclaimed the farm to organic and continued to restore the soil, the land and the environment, we have noticed the animal population growing. This project – A Closer Look – is designed to capture the story of the creatures who come to the farm – the pests, the predators and the beneficial non-human life forms. A big web of life – this ecology and biodiversity is worthy of recording and tracking and is a fascinating legacy of nature between the trees.
A tropical context without synthetic chemicals certainly attracts a lot of life. As we plant more diverse foods and fruits, the earth explodes with beneficial bacterium and microorganisms, worms and bugs that continue the positive cycles of creating humus and healthier soil. The context brings life abundant and life attracts life.
And as time goes by, we see more butterflies, more dragonflies, more grasshoppers: a soft-shelled turtle, a possum or a crab. We see more lady beetles and more birds. Pollinating insects and mammals come along. They all want something and sometimes they want each other.
‘A Closer Look’ is a journey that will be updated as we go. If you wish to come along for the ride and see developments, new photographs or videos, share in discoveries please sign up. Maybe you can contribute your knowledge and help us learn more about the habitats and animals here as we catalogue them.
Sign up to join A Closer Look
Draco – flying dragon & friends
Draco is a genus of agamid lizards that are also known as flying lizards, flying dragons or gliding lizards. These lizards are capable of gliding flight; their ribs and their connecting membrane may be extended to create “wings” (patagia), the hindlimbs are flattened and wing-like in cross-section, and a flap on the neck (the gular flag) serves as a horizontal stabilizer and are sometimes used in warning to others. Draco are arboreal insectivores.
Golden Orb Weaver
Golden Orb - Friend of the farm
Many of these large orb-weavers (Nephila pilipes) have set up camp around the farm. They regulate pets and keep mites, mosquitoes flies and other small invaders at bay. They are magical to watch building their elaborate homes and traps. These large trappers are all female and their husbands are tiny (you can hardly see them). Once mating has taken place the husband is ceremoniously eaten – usually still alive! These spiders are harmless to humans but they are great huntresses. For more on this story see Nesta – A Spider Story
Long-horn & friends
The Long-Horn is a beetle from a big family. While they are considered with a frown for their wood-boring tendencies, never has such a strangely extraterrestrial 6 legger walker across our path. Truly majestic this one.
There are so many long-horn subspecies that it took a while to find. Thanks to the work of http://potokito.blogspot.com we think this is the one.
Long horn beetle (Batocera Sp.) was found here on the farm in February 2020.
These beetles are considered either a bio pest or on the other hand a collectors item. Eitherway their days are numbered as they are large and slow and easy to catch (if they are not taking one of their short flights).
Phylum : Arthropoda – Arthropods
Class : Insecta – Insects
Order : Coleoptera – Beetles
Suborder : Polyphaga – Water, Rove, Scarab, Longhorn, Leaf and Snout Beetles
Superfamily : Chrysomeloidea – Long-horned and Leaf Beetles
Family : Cerambycidae – Longhorned Beetles
Subfamily : Lamiinae
Genus : Batocera
Species : Batocera numitor (Newman, 1842)
Java Tree Shrew
Horsfield's Treeshrew (Tupaia javanica)
Endemic to Indonesia (Sumatera, Bali, Java primarily) this little guy has successfully evaded any detailed classification. Eating fruit and insects and moving fast through primary and forest as well as lightly wooded forest this cheeky character was discovered by Thomas Horsfield in 1882. a visitor to the farm, Guava is the prefered fruit of choice.© 2021
Butterflies & Moths
Butterflies & Moths
Emerging from the cocoon of caterpillar moths and butterflies are distinguished (in all but one cases) by the appearance of their antennas. Moth antennae can be quite varied in appearance but in particular lack the club end that butterflies have.
The divisions are named by this principle: “club-antennae” (Rhopalocera) or “varied-antennae” (Heterocera).
We have an extensive range of moths and butterflies around the farm echoing an extensive range of catterpillars.Bibasis sena, commonly known as the orange-tailed awlet
Bees & Wasps
Bees and wasps
Bees are among our favourite insects and we are housing some nests at the farm of the common Asian honey bee and a couple of stingless bees species. Wasps and bees come from the same family and while common bees are social (a super organism) there are both solitary and social wasps. We are still trying to discover all the species we have here and it can be difficult but we are making progress. Paper wasps, potter wasps and some bigger hornets all live happily around the farm but the favourite is a tiny paper wasp that looks like a little helicopter and lives inside the house.