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 Post subject: Borneo Dispatches #68: Phantasmagasmical Photo Phalanx!
PostPosted: April 3rd, 2013, 4:41 am 
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Joined: June 8th, 2010, 2:19 am
Posts: 3179
Location: Kuching, Sarawak (Borneo)
I haven't posted much in Q1 2013, mainly because I've been busy with life outside herping (remember that mysterious parallel universe?): visitors, work, then more visitors and yet more work...but in between it all, I (and my visitors) managed to take some snaps along the way, so here are a few more glimpses into the life and life forms of my favorite island in the rain.

Let's warm up with a few cute critters:

Terribly cute fruit bats in the roof of a pondok forest rain shelter. Walt Disney would have killed to hire this pair.
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Love Bugs
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Not one, but two Smooth Slug-eating Snakes (Asthenodipsas laevis)
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I love my hobby. I also love my uncle, a general physician of 37 years, who recently visited me. And I love the fact that he never travels without his well-stocked medkit, which was put to good use right after this little intermezzo with a particularly belligerent specimen of Gonyosoma oxycephalum These snakes have earned their reputation as fearless wielders of much attitude: they never run off the road when you find them - instead, they take a stand, assume the position and thumb their nose at you, hissing "Come get some, punk!" all the while...
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Kampong life
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Arachnids:
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A few of those Japanese soldiers who finished WWII in a Bornean head-house
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Borneo is home to a tenth (or was it one third?) of the worlds, 3600-some phasmid species...but which one is this? I've seen brown ones, green ones, yellow ones, even shiny blue ones, but never one like this.
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Drying pepper. Sarawak is the world's biggest producer of Piper nigrum
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We're not in Düsseldorf anymore...
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You better heed the warning. Everything on this poster (and a few more things) can and will be ninja'd and consumed by Long-tailed Macaques. And yes, they know how to open soda cans.
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Think you're scared of leeches? Wait until you meet this fellow. No photoshopping involved, just a whole foot worth of earthworm-eating Bornean Behemoth, crossing a country road in broad daylight. Attempts to ID this thing have failed so far - the leech most similar to this thing is the Giant Kinabalu Red which occurs a thousand miles north. New species? Why not! That's Borneo for you - weird and possibly new things under every rock. (I'll come back here once I've solved the mystery, but chances are slim - I didn't bring the monster home to pickle for posterity, ao all I have is photos, and those are no use for ID'ing most leeches)
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Crockerdyles! Luckily, this salty was behind a fence at the local croc farm.
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Sunbeam Snake (Xenopeltis unicolor, one of the most docile - and pretty - serpents around these parts.
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Plants - they're not just for the windowsill:
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Bamboo orchids (Arundina graminifolia)
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One of Borneo's hundreds of gingers (Etlingera sp.)
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What's for dinner? Roadkilled Python breitensteinii, that's what.
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A phew phungi
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Colugo, aka "Flying Lemur". Although Galeopterus variegatus has absolutely nothing to do with lemurs.
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Pill millipede
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Herping attire for the Southwestern Sarawak countryside, where roads are very dark and drivers very drunk. Looking like a dork beats getting run over any old day.
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Gonocephalus borneensis...I think.
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Two juveniles (G. borneensis and H. sapiens greatbritainensis)
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The biggest and mostest (on a single plant) Nepenthes rafflesiana pitchers I've ever laid eyes on.
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Neonate Boiga drapezii. Background story: this is the first snake my 14-year-old son ever roadcruised by himself: we were up at the Frog Pond in Kubah National Park and had left Hans at the hostel. He wasn't feeling well and wanted to sleep early. A few hours later he had a ahcnge of mind, took the car keys, and went for a spin outside the park, where he found the snake. After that, he drove back up to the Pond and surprised us with the snake in a bag and the words "Dad, don't scold me, please, I went out for a drive...but I brought you a snake!"
Guess that's what you get when you teach your underage kid to drive, just in case I break an ankle in the bush during our outings..
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Death's Head Moth (Acherontia sp.?)
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Hapless Italian biologist, trying to photograph Wallace's Flying Frog (Rhacophorus nigropalmatus). To get closer to the mystical beast, the poor man would later soil his boots and pants to an unspeakable degree, but the frog was always one hop ahead...
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Twoton junior, trying to get away from it all...
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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #68: Phantasmagasmical Photo Phalanx!
PostPosted: April 3rd, 2013, 5:34 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 4:07 pm
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Location: Hillsdale County, Michigan
Great all around post. Your bats are some kind of Short-nosed Fruit Bat, Cynopterus. They're tough to ID by photo and I don't have my Borneo/SE Asia references with me at the moment, so I'm not sure which species exactly it is.


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #68: Phantasmagasmical Photo Phalanx!
PostPosted: April 3rd, 2013, 6:02 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 8:23 am
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Location: Unicoi, TN
Another great one, Hans.
The creatures are special, but I especially love the insight pics of the landscape, the people, the habitat, culture, etc.

I'm glad you got 7 boys in that shot. I was told in a neighboring country that an even number in the pic was more than bad luck, one would die.

I guess in Borneo, it's not always good to be the "head of the house!"


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #68: Phantasmagasmical Photo Phalanx!
PostPosted: April 3rd, 2013, 8:39 am 
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Joined: June 11th, 2010, 10:19 am
Posts: 356
Location: Jyväskylä, Finland
Nice stuff, Hans. I agree with Bill above that it's nice to see photos of culture and landscapes.
The photo of the drying peppercorns reminded me how amazing the fresh dried peppers taste in S.E. Asia. Really want some squid fried with pepper now.

Also good to see people putting roadkill to good use.


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #68: Phantasmagasmical Photo Phalanx!
PostPosted: April 3rd, 2013, 10:20 am 
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Joined: November 23rd, 2011, 8:26 am
Posts: 372
Location: London, United Kingdom
Been waiting a while for this!

I laughed when I saw you taking a hook to the Gonyosoma - but then I saw the bites! Are they really that aggressive????? Encounters of this species by some friends and myself (in Thailand) have never included bites or much aggression at all. Indeed, the four footer I found recently was completely placid.

Anyway, another great post. Maybe this year will be time for a trip up to Kinabalu for some diversity?


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #68: Phantasmagasmical Photo Phalanx!
PostPosted: April 3rd, 2013, 4:26 pm 
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Joined: June 8th, 2010, 2:19 am
Posts: 3179
Location: Kuching, Sarawak (Borneo)
Thanks for the comments, guys!

Curtis, thanks for the ID. Please let me know if you find out more!

Quote:
I'm glad you got 7 boys in that shot. I was told in a neighboring country that an even number in the pic was more than bad luck, one would die.

That sounds like Thailand. Do I get a prize?

Quote:
I guess in Borneo, it's not always good to be the "head of the house!"

Excellent! I'll work that into my guided tours!

Rupert, I won't have time for Kinabalu this year (too many other trips already lined up), but definitely next year.


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #68: Phantasmagasmical Photo Phalanx!
PostPosted: April 3rd, 2013, 6:59 pm 
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Joined: June 9th, 2010, 9:57 pm
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Location: Ohio, then Arizona, now South Australia
Er, hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I count 8 lads in the pic :shock:

Good stuff as usual Hans. Like Bill, I also loved the pics of scenery and people. :thumb: That stick insect looks like a long, streaky "bird poop" mimic - the larva of the Giant Swallowtail in the U.S. is a beautiful example of that.

BillMcGighan wrote:
Another great one, Hans.
The creatures are special, but I especially love the insight pics of the landscape, the people, the habitat, culture, etc.

I'm glad you got 7 boys in that shot. I was told in a neighboring country that an even number in the pic was more than bad luck, one would die. "


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #68: Phantasmagasmical Photo Phalanx!
PostPosted: April 3rd, 2013, 7:49 pm 
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Joined: November 23rd, 2011, 8:26 am
Posts: 372
Location: London, United Kingdom
Hans Breuer (twoton) wrote:
Rupert, I won't have time for Kinabalu this year (too many other trips already lined up), but definitely next year.

How long do you plan on living in Borneo?


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #68: Phantasmagasmical Photo Phalanx!
PostPosted: April 3rd, 2013, 8:14 pm 
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Joined: June 29th, 2012, 5:08 pm
Posts: 48
Location: Lexington, Kentucky
Very nice variety. I appreciated seeing the countryside and the odd spineless creatures, especially the leech - disgusting things. What was your child doing on that sheer cliff?


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #68: Phantasmagasmical Photo Phalanx!
PostPosted: April 3rd, 2013, 11:51 pm 
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Joined: June 8th, 2010, 2:19 am
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Location: Kuching, Sarawak (Borneo)
natrix wrote:
What was your child doing on that sheer cliff?

What he does there every Sunday - sports climbing (bolted limestone routes at the Batman Wall in Bau)

Rupert, I plan on living here full time until the kids are in college; another six years. After that, I'll live in Taiwan during the summers and here in the winters.


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #68: Phantasmagasmical Photo Phalanx!
PostPosted: April 4th, 2013, 3:48 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 8:23 am
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Location: Unicoi, TN
Hans
Quote:
That sounds like Thailand. Do I get a prize?

You win; Thailand and Vietnam.
I don't recall this one being in Roger Axtell's handy "Do's and Taboos Around the World"

John
Quote:
Er, hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I count 8 lads in the pic
You're right, John. :lol: Didn't see that little face in the upper right. I was told that the last one to join the group was the one that was doomed!


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #68: Phantasmagasmical Photo Phalanx!
PostPosted: April 4th, 2013, 8:27 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 10:14 pm
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Location: San Antonio, TX
Wow. Thanks for all the habitat shots.

That first spider doesn't look real, and that was going to be my only comment until you posted the Xenopeltis. I don't know why, but they are simply one of the coolest snakes in the world. The ones I found were always DOR. :cry:


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #68: Phantasmagasmical Photo Phalanx!
PostPosted: April 9th, 2013, 3:29 am 
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Joined: June 8th, 2010, 2:19 am
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Location: Kuching, Sarawak (Borneo)
Thanks again, all! Any ID on the love bugs?


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #68: Phantasmagasmical Photo Phalanx!
PostPosted: April 9th, 2013, 6:39 am 
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Joined: June 8th, 2010, 9:06 am
Posts: 740
Location: Montana
Hans,

Excellent post... again. The habitat and cultural shots are superb - they take the reader/viewer along for the ride. For the animal shots, I especially dig the spiders, the WTF-huge leach, the wicked Gonyosoma, and the Sunbeam snake. That is one monster of a Nepenthes, too. Nothing like the little buggers I have at home! Speaking of, any chance of you doing an off-topic Nepenthes-only post from Borneo (and anywhere else you've seen them)?

-Cole


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #68: Phantasmagasmical Photo Phalanx!
PostPosted: April 13th, 2013, 4:11 pm 
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Joined: May 11th, 2012, 4:50 pm
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Wow, tremendous pics, thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #68: Phantasmagasmical Photo Phalanx!
PostPosted: April 14th, 2013, 7:17 pm 
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I love the Xenopeltis. I've tried to keep them but haven't been able to keep them going for long. You live in a pretty corner of the world no doubt. Thanks for sharing it.


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #68: Phantasmagasmical Photo Phalanx!
PostPosted: April 16th, 2013, 9:50 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 6:45 am
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Location: One of the boys from Illinois
Painted arachnids. Skulls in a basket. Bats in the belfry and flying lemurs.

How the hell do I get on this ride?

:thumb:


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 Post subject: Re: Borneo Dispatches #68: Phantasmagasmical Photo Phalanx!
PostPosted: April 16th, 2013, 4:39 pm 
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Joined: June 8th, 2010, 2:19 am
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Location: Kuching, Sarawak (Borneo)
Mike Pingleton wrote:
How the hell do I get on this ride?

Air Asia is your friend. Only ten bucks one-way from KL to my house :-)


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