Nymph instar of a planthopper, sitting tight on the stem of a Wikstroemia indica.
Species belong to superfamily Fulgoroidea (蠟蟬總科)
This would seem to belong to the family Ricaniidae and may even be a Ricania sp. (possibly R. speculum 八點廣翅蠟蟬) but I can’t find sources to verify that.
The planthopper nymph produces wax from specified abdominal glands - which forms the fluffy white feathery ‘tails’ you see in the picture above.
In the nymphs of other species found in SE Asia, the wax may form a radiating bunch of half-transparent, glassy-looking, rigid filaments that have been described as looking like 'optical fibers’.
The waxy structure is theorized to provide concealment, and some Taiwanese sites I saw have described it as camouflage (allowing the nymph to resemble the hairy pappus in plant seeds, like that of the dandelion).
Another theory I’ve heard is that it allows the nymph to look bigger than it is to intimidate and discourage would-be predators like jumping spiders, but I think the former theory’s more likely.
Ant-mimic jumping spider,Myrmarachne sp., possibly M. magna.
19 Jul 2012, HK Island east.
This is in all probability a female, because it was guarding an egg sac inside a rolled-up leaf… there were about twenty young spiderlings. And they had just had their first moulting (I’ve still got the moulted skins).
Adult size: 8~10 mm. (A bit hard to measure something that moves along at that speed)
Distribution: Hong Kong, Taiwan.
Sorry for the background - it’s my hand. *cough* I’d wanted to photo it against something light and my hand is the easiest thing to handle around.
above:Nearly mature Dysodia rajah caterpillar on Melastoma sanguineum, getting out of its old leaf roll on its way to make a new one (because it ate up the last one). A moth of the Thyrididae (leaf moth) family.
below: Torenia fournieri flowers, small herb by roadside.
Distributed throughout SE Asia from Nepal to the Philippines. Native to Hong Kong.
Woody climber that may grow up to 4 m with adequate support. Plentiful in the countryside. Flowering in April to October. Flowers are claw-shaped, have two layers of yellowish-green petals, and hang pendulous like miniature lanterns. They also give a mild fragrance that is strongest in the early morning.
In other countries (e.g. Thailand) this is apparently cultivated for ornamental purposes and shade as a vine along sidewalks. In Hainan (island in SE China), the leaves are used for brewing liquor (hence the Chinese alternative nickname - 酒餅葉 Liquor-wafer Leaf).
awful pictures are unspeakably awful because it was night and I had only my cellphone and was in a hurry.
But this was a delightful surprise - I came across this tiny rest garden on the corner of a street in Sheung Wan (west end of HK Island) this evening when I was trying to find a MTR station, and saw to my amazement this tree fern. Used as ornament in this tiny strip of flower bed right beside the pavement.
I couldn’t believe my eyes either. But it was there. I have no idea who planned the garden that way and who planted that fern and how long ago. But it was there. Along with some other common ferns like Pteris semipinnata and Selaginella uncinata planted around its base. I have to assume some random government official planned to convert this garden into a sort of educational botany corner for unappreciative citizens, but then just left the project as it was and didn’t bother much with maintenance. There were some other herbs used in traditional Chinese medicine, with informational boards erected beside their pots and boxes, further inside that tiny squeeze of a garden, overgrown with weeds a metre high.
The tree fern is possibly Alsophila spinulosa (what it said on the label)
Queen Street Rest Garden, Sheung Wan, 13 Apr 2013.