Categories
Species Guide: Urban Invertebrates

Millipedes and Centipedes

Millipede, Ulat gonggok

Millipedes have two pairs of legs per segment and move slowly. Millipedes protect themselves by coiling up and producing a yellowish poison.

Local name: Ulat gonggok, sepah bulan, mentibang

Ecological function: Decomposer

Level in food chain: Decomposer

Feeding behaviour: Detritivore

Microhabitat:  Usually found in rotting material

Centipede, Lipan

Centipedes have one pair of legs per segment. Centipedes have modified front legs that inject venom into their prey.

Local name: Lipan

Ecological function: Predators

Level in food chain: Secondary consumer 

Feeding behaviour: Carnivore

Microhabitat:  Usually found in rotting material

Categories
Species Guide: Urban Invertebrates

Snails


Giant African land snail, Siput babi
Achatina fulica

This invasive species is the largest snail in urban Malaysian gardens. Its shell can grow up to 15-20cm tall but relatively smaller in gardens. It has a brown, striped shell with tall spire. This snail feeds on decaying plant materials and fresh plant shoots.

Local name: Siput babi

Activity pattern: Nocturnal

Ecological function: Prey-predator relationship, detritivore

Level in food chain: Primary consumer

Feeding behaviour: Herbivore, detritivore

Food items: Leaves, dropped fruits, decaying tree trunks and branches; fresh vegetables

Microhabitat:  Hides in cool and wet environments like under rocks, flower pots, in crevices, in leaf litter under trees. Sometimes climbs and adheres to tree trunks at fairly high areas above ground.


Glossy garden snail
Sarika sp.

It has a very flat shell with flat spire. The shell is brown, glossy and has many whorls (spirals). The size of shell varies from 2 to 4 cm wide. It has worm-like appendages organ called the mantle lobe that extends from its main body and wiggles on the outer surface of the shell. Not much is known about the role of this mantle lobe but it is suspected to be useful for the snail to maintain a clean, healthy and glossy shell. Free vacuum service, am I right?

Local name: –

Activity pattern: Nocturnal

Ecological function: Prey-predator relationship, scavenger

Level in food chain: Primary and secondary consumer

Feeding behaviour: Omnivore, detritivore

Food items: Leaves, dropped fruits, decaying tree trunks and branches; fresh vegetables; dead animal meat

Microhabitat:  Hides in cool and wet environments like under rocks, flower pots, in crevices, in leaf litter under trees.


Asian tramp snail
Bradybaena similaris

It has semi-globular shell with flat spire. The shell is brown with occasional dark brown band at periphery. Shell size is around 1 to 2 cm wide. This snail is a hermaphrodite i.e. it has both male and female reproductive organs! During mating, one will stab the other with its love dart to inject hormones that encourage each other to mate and exchange genetic materials.

Local name: –

Activity pattern: Nocturnal

Ecological function: Predator, prey-predator relationship

Level in food chain: Primary and secondary consumer

Feeding behaviour: Omnivore

Food items: Fresh leaves, fungi, snail eggs

Microhabitat:  Hides in cool and wet environments like under rocks, flower pots, in crevices, in leaf litter under trees. Sometimes it climbs on low trees or shrubs, adhering to underside of leaves.


Bioluminescent garden snail
Quantula striata

The only bioluminescent land snail in the world. It has a special organ on its head that flashes a yellow-green light especially during juvenile stage. However, this phenomenon is rarely observed despite the snail being common in Malaysia. This snail has relatively flattish shell with somewhat tall spire. The shell is many whorled, dark to light brown at the top and whitish at the bottom. Size is around 3 to 5 cm wide.

Local name: –

Activity pattern: Nocturnal

Ecological function: Predator, prey-predator relationship

Level in food chain: Primary and secondary consumer

Feeding behaviour: Omnivore

Food items: Decaying plant materials like leaves, dropped fruits, decaying tree trunks and branches; snail eggs

Microhabitat: Hides in cool and wet environments like under rocks, flower pots, in crevices, in leaf litter under trees during the day. Sometimes climbs on low trees or shrubs, adhering to underside of leaves.

Barrackpore hive snail
Kaliella barrakporensis

It is a microsnail. It has a conical, high-spired shell. The shell is many whorled, glossy and brown in colour. The size of shell is up to 5 mm in height.

Local name: –

Activity pattern: No data

Ecological function: No data

Level in food chain: No data

Feeding behaviour: No data

Food item: No data

Microhabitat: Often on low trees or shrubs, adhering to underside of leaves. Sometimes on rock and concrete walls in gardens.

Two-toned gullela snail

Huttonella bicolor

It has elongated, tall-spired shell with many whorls. Shell size is around 6 mm. Shell is translucent white when it is empty; soft body is orange-yellow. The opening of shell has many teeth-like structures. Sometimes prey on members of its own species. Some scientists suspect the distinctive teeth-like structures of its shell aperture is a barrier to prevent cannibals and other predators from eating the individual.

Local name: –

Activity pattern: No data

Ecological function: Predator, prey-predator relationship

Level in food chain: Tertiary consumer

Feeding behaviour: Carnivore

Food item: Usually small land snails like the miniature awlsnail; sometimes larger land snails too but is usually not fatal to such large prey

Microhabitat: Hides in cool and wet environments like under rocks, in leaf litter under trees during the day.

Miniature awlsnail

Subulina octona

It has elongated, high-spired shell with many whorls. Shell size is up to 3 cm. Shell is glossy, translucent brown to white when it is empty; soft body is yellow. The opening of shell is lack of teeth-like structures. Mature adults often retain their eggs within their shell. It is possibly to increase chances of survival for the young snails before they are deposited in the soil and hatched.

Local name: –

Activity pattern: Nocturnal

Ecological function: Prey-predator relationship, detritivore

Level in food chain: Primary consumer

Feeding behaviour: Detritivore

Food item: Decaying plant materials like leaves, dropped fruits, decaying tree trunks and branches

Microhabitat: Hides in cool and wet environments like under rocks, flower pots, in leaf litter under trees during the day.

Yellow-shelled semi-slug

Parmarion martensi

It has a small, yellowish, glossy shell on its back that can be partially covered with a fleshy mantle, making it look like it is carrying a backpack. Soft body is brown. It can reach up to 5 cm in length when animal is stretched out

Local name: –

Activity pattern: Nocturnal

Ecological function: Prey-predator relationship, detritivore

Level in food chain: Primary consumer

Feeding behaviour: Herbivore, detritivore

Food item: Decaying plant materials, flowers, dropped or ripened fruits

Microhabitat: Hides in cool and wet environments like under rocks, flower pots, in leaf litter under trees during the day.

Categories
Species Guide: Urban Invertebrates

Spiders


Spiders, Labah-labah

They have eight legs. Some make webs while others hunt by jumping or ambushing their prey. They are important for controlling insect populations.

Local name: Labah-labah

Ecological function: Bio-indicator, prey-predator relationship

Level in food chain: Secondary consumer

Feeding behaviour: Carnivore

Microhabitat:  Almost everywhere

Categories
Species Guide: Urban Invertebrates

True Bugs

Jewel bug (Chrysocoris stollii)


True bugs

They are mainly predators and herbivores. Their shells do not have a line in the middle. Many produce a stinky smell if disturbed.

Local name: –

Ecological function: Herbivore, predator

Level in food chain: Primary and secondary consumer

Feeding behaviour: Herbivore, carnivore

Microhabitat:  Near trees and shrubs

Categories
Species Guide: Urban Invertebrates

Beetles

Lady beetle (Epilachna indica)


Beetles, Kumbang

Beetles are an incredibly diverse group. The shell has a line in the middle where the wings open.

Local name: Kumbang

Ecological function: Pollinator, decomposer, scavenger, predator, predator-prey relationship

Level in food chain: Primary and secondary consumer

Feeding behaviour: Omnivore

Microhabitat:  Almost everywhere

Categories
Species Guide: Urban Invertebrates

Flies, Midges and Mosquitoes

Blowfly


Flies, Lalat

They usually have a round body and large eyes. They are important pollinators, decomposers and food items for insectivores.

Local name: Lalat

Ecological function: Pollinator, decomposer, scavenger

Level in food chain: Secondary consumer

Feeding behaviour: Coprophagous, necrophagous

Microhabitat: Near rotting material

Midges

They can be mistaken for mosquitoes, but they do not suck blood. Their hind legs are not larger than the front legs. Midges do not have a long needle like mouth-part. They are important pollinators.

Mosquitoes, Nyamuk

Their hind legs are larger than their front legs. Females will feed on blood when they need to lay eggs, but male mosquitoes do not suck blood and are useful pollinators. Mosquitos are important prey to many insectivores.

Local name:

Ecological function: Pollinators, decomposer, 

Level in food chain: Secondary consumer

Feeding behaviour: Carnivore, detritivore, nectivore, coprophagous

Microhabitat: Damp areas with a lot of shade

Local name: Nyamuk

Ecological function: Parasite, pollinator

Level in food chain: Secondary consumer

Feeding behaviour:  Nectivore, blood feeder

Microhabitat: Damp areas with a lot of shade

Categories
Species Guide: Urban Invertebrates

Bees, Wasps and Ants

Blue-banded bee (Amegilla cingulata)

Bees, Lebah

They usually have a hairy, round body and their legs are usually hidden when flying. They only sting when provoked.

Paper wasp

Wasps, Tebuan

The body is slender and narrow-waisted, with little to no hair. Their legs hang down when flying. They only sting when provoked.

Weaver ants (Oecophylla smaragdina)

Ants, Semut

They have a thin waist and are usually wingless, sometimes divided into smaller workers and larger soldiers. ‘Ant bites’ are usually the acidic stings of ants.

Local name: Lebah

Ecological function: pollinators

Level in food chain: primary consumer

Feeding behaviour: nectarivore

Microhabitat: sometimes live in colonies in hives

Local name: Tebuan

Ecological function: prey-predator relationship, pollinator

Level in food chain: secondary consumer

Feeding behaviour: nectarivore, carnivore

Microhabitat: sometimes live in colonies in grounds or in roof spaces

Local name: Semut

Ecological function: decomposer, scavenger

Level in food chain: primary and secondary consumer

Feeding behaviour: detritovore, omnivore

Microhabitat: almost everywhere

Categories
Species Guide: Urban Invertebrates

Dragonflies and Damselflies

Dragonflies, Pepatung

They have a thick and chunky abdomen. Their wings are unequal in size and are open at rest. Their large eyes are touching.

Damselflies, Pepatung jarum

They have a thin and narrow abdomen. Their wings are equal in size and are closed at rest. There is a gap between the eyes.

Local name: Pepatung

Ecological function: Prey-predator relationship

Level in food chain: Secondary consumer

Feeding behaviour: Carnivore

Microhabitat: Wet areas like ponds, drains, puddles and streams

Local name: Pepatung jarum

Ecological function: Prey-predator relationship

Level in food chain: Secondary consumer

Feeding behaviour: Carnivore

Microhabitat: Wet areas like ponds, drains, puddles and streams

Categories
Species Guide: Urban Invertebrates

Grasshoppers and Crickets

Grasshoppers, Belalang

They have short antennae and are active during the day. They “sing” by rubbing their hind legs against their wings.

Cricket, Cengkerik

They have long antennae and are active at night. They “sing” by rubbing their wings together.
A type of cricket known as mole crickets are called ‘sesorok’ in the Malay language.

Local name: Belalang

Ecological function: Herbivore

Level in food chain: Primary consumer

Feeding behaviour: Herbivore

Microhabitat: Usually on plants and grass

Local name: Cengkerik

Ecological function: Herbivore

Level in food chain: Primary consumer

Feeding behaviour: Herbivore

Microhabitat:  Usually on ground

Categories
Species Guide: Urban Invertebrates

Butterflies and Moths

Butterflies, Kupu-kupu

Commonly active in the daytime, they have club-shaped antennae and their wings are held upwards when at rest.

Local name: Kupu-kupu

Ecological function: pollinators, prey-predator relationship

Level in food chain: primary consumer

Feeding behaviour: herbivore (when caterpillar), nectarivore

Microhabitat: trees and shrubs where they can rest, flowering plants where they can feed

Moths, Rama-rama

Commonly active at night, they have antennae with various shapes and their wings are flat when at rest.

Local name: Rama-rama

Ecological function: pollinators , prey-predator relationship

Level in food chain: primary consumer

Feeding behaviour: herbivore (when caterpillar), nectarivore

Microhabitat: trees and shrubs where they can rest, flowering plants where they can feed.