Singapore Rhododendron: Bees, a lizard and a bird

The Singapore or Straits Rhododendron (Melastona malabathricum) is a common weedy shrub that is found all over Singapore. The fruits are sought after by at least 8 species of birds LINK. The seeds are tiny and numerous and pass off with the birds’ faeces, usually some distance away from the fruit source.

The flowers are pollinated by bees, the most prominent being the Carpenter Bees LINK. The fruits are commonly taken by the Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker (Dicaeum cruentatum) that spread the seeds far and wide LINK.

I have retained a plant in my garden for some years now. It was most likely brought in by a Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker. I love to hear and see the colourful Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker flying to the tree for the fruits. I also love to see the large carpenter bees visiting the flowers.

A mistletoe (Scurrula sp.) has established on its branches LINK. This will attract its own complement of fauna, making the plant richer in biodiversity.

M malabathricum fl-HalictidBee [wyc] - 1

A few hours in the evening monitoring my Singapore Rhododendron showed the presence of the big Black Carpenter Bee (Xylocopa latipes) and the Halictid Bee or Sweat Bee (Anthophora zonata) (above). The latter was soon gobbled up by Male Changeable Lizard (Calotes versicolor). The video clip also caught the male Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker visiting for the fruits.

YC Wee
3rd October 2107

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