Coney island is a small island, spanning approximately 2km. It used to be much smaller, but land reclamation efforts beginning from 1975 had expanded the land area by almost 5-fold, to its’ current size (source). The natural state of the island was barely disturbed, in hopes of retaining the rustic feel of the island. Renovations to construct toilets and other amenities were done so with minimal disturbance and utilised environmentally friendly features such as toilets that flush with rainwater, solar-powered water pumps, and also recycled timber to construct bridges and benches. It was opened up to the general public in 2015. It was home to a large number of animals, birds, and plant species. Even the 2 native surviving species of Cycads which have lost their ‘homes’ in urban Singapore was relocated to Coney Island (source). Even when visitors complained of the sandfly infestation, NParks refused to intervene, mentioning that it was intentional that they left the place as ‘natural’ as it was (source). I personally feel that Coney Island is a place that they should refrain from unnecessary development, but still allow visitors to enter the island. Basic amenities such as bins, shelters, and toilets should continue to be maintained to allow visitors to have enjoyable visits, but I do not agree with allotment of land to build residential estates.
There haven’t been any studies done on the arthropods of Coney Island, neither can I provide the most reliable information. However, I am a frequent visitor of the island, with weekly visits last year and monthly visits this year. As I am armed with my camera with each visit, I pay close attention to the arthropod diversity on the island, and walk the same paths during each visit, approximately at the same time of the day for each visit. Hence, I do keep a record of the arthropod diversity through photographs (to the best of my ability) and through observations. As a disclaimer, I mainly focus on mantid diversity, but do make other observations too. As there have been absolutely no published study on local mantids, I can only rely on my own experiences and observations in Singapore, amounting to more than 5 years, to make statements and claims.
Ever since construction of residential estates began in early 2018 according to the land use plan (source), I have observed major changes in Coney Island. For the mantids, Odontomantis sp. and Tenodera sp. used to be the only two mantid species observed before construction began.
- Odontomantis sp. is found all over urban Singapore, despite having great ant mimicry due to their size and overall appearance, they are quick to react and run very quickly from threats
(Above: Odontomantis sp. 1st instar nymphs)
(Below: Odontomantis sp. adult female)