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 Combing the Dense undergrowth; Field reports from the Malaysian rainforest:

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LXDNG79
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PostSubject: Combing the Dense undergrowth; Field reports from the Malaysian rainforest:   10/19/2008, 2:28 am

Opening Log: 18th October 2008

I just went collecting last night in Hulu Langat; a highland forest just outside the Ampang suburb. Me and rafiqos (another SF member) were with 4 other guys looking for snakes. The drive up the mountain had a picturesque view of KL city center so you can imagine that its not very far out or remote. As you might have guessed we were always paced behind the snake nuts who pushed forward to cover more ground in search of their quarry. Residual drizzle from the last rain was still persistent by the time we set out on foot from the car so we had our hopes of likely chance encounters.

Unlike most other environments the undergrowth of the tropical rain forest is so dense that finding a burrow was a challenge even with a black light. Thing about Hets here is that they hardly ever get topside. They're usually found peering from their burrows which is often situated at the base of some sizable land mark such as a tree or large rock. The chance of finding them wandering around is quite uncommon unless they're searching for another more fruitful ambush hole or males who have sex on the brain

We manage to locate only 1 but we couldn't get at itcos we needed shovels that we didn't bring (genius). When it caught wind of it we retreated deep down... we didn't manage to extract him (until the gender is determined). Further up, we found many such burrows pelting the sides pf vertical run offs but we realized we wouldn't be able to tell if they were inhabited unless one was spy-hole peeping. On the way back down we checked the burrow again and he had his back to us. I guess he figured I lost my tweezers up river. Oh well Scorpion 1: Human 0. In any case we'll check the burrow again the next time we're in the area.

Compare this with the behavior of Hets in captivity. Most females bunker down in burrows and don't do laps around the enclosure perimeter as much as males do. Eating is also a domestic activity by preference. This also seems to corroborates with the lack of appetite seen in adult males in captivity. Towards their later years, males diminish their desire to plump-up on food; they seem to consume as mush as they need to achieve they're main objective in life. They're modus operandi also contrast to that of females in that, while females harbor perceptibly healthy appetites lurking in their burrows to the delight of many hobby enthusiast; males however are blundering roamers out on the prowl for the burrow of a potential mate, scrounging on the random hapless insect that crosses their paths. This is of course, at best, amounts to reliable generalizations apparent in most specimens. Similarly, based on my keeping experience, every individual i have successfully kept display rather unique personality traits but adhere fundamentally to these behavioral patterns.

Point to remember: Know the sex of your scorpion. If he's a male, don't worry about his seemingly selective palette considering that food is not what they're really after once they reach a certain age. You'd best be helping him find a mate. Male Heterometrus that become sexually repressed commit themselves to their burrows and cease to feed for months at a time, only eating every now and then to sustain the ability sit and wait once they're sure this is all they ever get to do in their tanks.

We had our eyes out looking for Lychas or any other local Buthid species but they completely eluded us. Not a single sign. I guess it was too much to expect them to be parked out on trunks of felled trees. Our bark peeling routine as equally fruitless. This might confirm the accounts that they're distribution is limited to the norther states Malaysia towards Thailand. It could also be an altitude factor which I don't think really corroborates with the general nature of most buthids from tropical environments. I would like anyone contributing to this post to help me out with this based on their experiences. Our failure to locate them in the wild is most likely due to our lack of understanding regarding their behavioral routine. I've never kept or found Buthus in the wild here in Malasysia. Rafiqos has had mucronatus, periodically and a 2nd instar Iso mac that died; both obtained through other means . Neither of us have ever seen Lychas scutillus: the apparently more common buthid species here. So again any help on this from anyone with 1st hand experience is immeasurably helpful to our efforts to achieve a deeper understanding of scorpions in the wild.

By the end of the night, the team's catch consisted of 2 claw-toed geckos, 3 gigazmo sized millipedes; the biggest one was almost as long as my fore-arm, a and a forest stream betta (fish).

This time we didn't get any pictures. Will post them on future field reports when I get my camera.

Peace out.
LXDNG79

P.S. Feel free to share your experiences of scorpion hunting in densely forested tropical regions.
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Mr. Mordax
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PostSubject: Re: Combing the Dense undergrowth; Field reports from the Malaysian rainforest:   10/19/2008, 2:57 am

Very interesting read! Unfortunately my only experience hunting forest scorpions is in the less-dense temperate forests of Oregon -- quite contrasting to your experience.

Best of luck on your next attempt.

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PostSubject: Re: Combing the Dense undergrowth; Field reports from the Malaysian rainforest:   10/19/2008, 7:33 am

would "pitfall traps" (i think there called that) be worth a try???
set them up sometime during the day, let them do their job over night, and have a look in the morning... you may just end up with some lizards and stuff but it may be worth having a go...
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PostSubject: Re: Combing the Dense undergrowth; Field reports from the Malaysian rainforest:   10/19/2008, 12:20 pm

I've known some people to become frustrated with pitfalls when all they find the next morning is one very fat spider.

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PostSubject: Re: Combing the Dense undergrowth; Field reports from the Malaysian rainforest:   10/19/2008, 1:22 pm

hehehehe
well it worked for me!! in the neibours garden! (nobody was living there at the time)
i got LOADS of slowworms, lizards, frogs, toads ect. even a tiny grass snake (like 20cm).
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PostSubject: Re: Combing the Dense undergrowth; Field reports from the Malaysian rainforest:   10/19/2008, 1:27 pm

cool! I tryed a pitt fall at the local forest and caught A bunch of shrews. aggressive little buggers.
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PostSubject: Re: Combing the Dense undergrowth; Field reports from the Malaysian rainforest:   10/19/2008, 1:29 pm

lol... moles are worse!
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~Abyss~
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PostSubject: Re: Combing the Dense undergrowth; Field reports from the Malaysian rainforest:   10/19/2008, 4:54 pm

pit traps have worked in my experiance just log where you put them down
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LXDNG79
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PostSubject: Re: Combing the Dense undergrowth; Field reports from the Malaysian rainforest:   10/20/2008, 12:55 pm

well I think the problem with pit traps in Malaysia include

1. As mentioned above they become target for other predatory animals in a rainforest where the fauna could range from anything between giant army ants to civets which like meerkats and mongoose would find a all you can eat buffet of inverts. Nevermind the fact that we also have tigers and elephants; hmmm they become a real nuisance when they fall into your pit-traps lol.

2. the terrain here is rarely ever flat which makes it tough for gravity to assist in its functional design. I'm sure there are creative ways to overcome to this. But couldn't think of any then and I'm trying my best top think any now... wait... no sorry brain jam.
tongue

3. Herping expeditions here are a matter of sneak in quietly and get out before sunrise to avoid getting spotted, caught or hassled. They could also be tampered with by them by village folk i.e. no1 add humans to that list (absolute nuisance). Leaving anything anywhere in Malaysia be deeply forested jungle or shopping mall over an extended period of time is well not good idea unless you can live with having to never see them ever again.

But really, thnx for that suggestion. They may work if I'm if going on an over night trip but I might have to check on them every houror so..... Thanks.

I was just tellin Mike if any of you guys come down here try and look me up I bring you on big hunt to big jungle. My 3 room apartment is small but a i don't mind a couple of fellas staying a couple of nights if they're on a tight budget but they have to inform me in advance and if you don't crashing on a couch or a mattress in the living room. Word

Peace out Alex

On the verge of collapse from exhaustion
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PostSubject: Re: Combing the Dense undergrowth; Field reports from the Malaysian rainforest:   10/21/2008, 8:24 am

An exceedingly interesting read LX. If I may add another point.

4. It's been raining very heavily past month or so(on a daily basis). Pit fall traps would start flooding up in less than an hour with the amount of water flowing down the side of the hill.

But really, we could try this once the weather clears up a little.

Note to self : Need to bring a small SHOVEL next time around.scratch
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