The Web's Only Official All-Scorpion Forum!


 
HomePortalCalendarFAQSearchRegisterMemberlistUsergroupsLog in
ChatBox

Share | 
 

 Mulu & Lambir Salticid Collecting Expedition

View previous topic View next topic Go down 
AuthorMessage
LXDNG79
Tityus
avatar

Number of posts : 605
Age : 38
Location : Borneo, Sarawak, Malaysia
Registration date : 2008-10-16

PostSubject: Mulu & Lambir Salticid Collecting Expedition    4/14/2012, 1:00 pm

Hello my Friends... it’s been awhile since my last post. Been busy with various things but I just got back from 5-week Field Expedition with Professor Wayne Maddison to collect Jumping Spiders (Salticidae) in Mulu and Lambir National Park, as well as a few other sites in Sarawak.

Sometime in Jan 2012, nature photographer Chien Lee informed me of Professor Wayne Maddison from the University of British Columbia (UBC), Department of Zoology and Botany, coming down to Borneo to do a survey on the species diversity of Jumping Spiders (Salticidae), and asked if I would be interested to work as a field assistant. I jumped on the chance to get my hands ‘dirty’ in some real field-work learning experience.

The trip has been a successful and productive one, amounting to expanding the previous species list for the family Salticidae from under 100 to around 170. Many are described species that are new to Borneo while others are quite likely new species and even genera. A chronicled account of the expedition can be found in Wayne Maddison’s blog post: -
http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/expeditions/2012/04/03/spiders-in-borneo-mulu-wrap-up/

To avoid being repetitive, I won’t be posting much about the Salticids we have found during this trip, and other things that Wayne may have covered by in his blog; though I must say that this expedition has given me an enthralling introduction to this amazing group of spiders. This post will be a condensed account of my experience on this extraordinary journey and feature towards the end, some of the other non-Salticid critters that we encountered along the way.

Mulu National Park
Before this trip, I was one of many locals who have never been to this World Heritage Site. I can now say for sure that being there and seeing it in the flesh is a world of difference from the pictures in books and online brochures.

Since we were there for field-work, we had little opportunity for typical tourist activities. Instead we had the priviledge of experiencing Mulu off the beaten path.

A Day in a Life
This is the Research Station were we set up shop and used as our base of operations.

Early in the morning we’d suit-up and hike to a designated sample site; each of us sampled from a different microhabitat (ground, trunk and foliage) for 40 minutes and then rotate assignments for consecutive 50 meter blocks.

We would do a morning session, have a lunch break and an afternoon session before heading back to base to process, preserve and label the specimens.

The Tropical Rainforest
Here are examples of the lowland Alluvial forests we spent a lot of time collecting in. Many had massive trees which towered many meters above us with branches and leaves blocked out the sun and shrouded its understory to the forest floor in a shadowy gloom.

Some sites were scattered with limestone monoliths that resembled overgrown ancient cities. Everywhere, the forest floor was covered in layers upon layers dead leaves, tangled roots and brooding fungi; crawling with all manners of many-legged invertebrates.

In disparate light gaps, ferns, and various scrub vegetation jostle for space and purchase. This continuance of vast jungle is only occasionally broken by channels of shallow slow-flowing streams.

However, it is from the Canopy Walk that the majesty of the Tropical Rainforest is truly put in perspective; an immense complex of branches, vines, lianas and foliage; twisting amongst each other in a timeless race for sunlight.

Together, they weave an intricate multi-dimensional space for all manners of plant and animal life to occupy.


Camp 1 Excursion
Many of the sites we collected at were within 2 to 3 kilometres from our base. To sample in areas of higher elevation we made a 4-day excursion to Camp 1; roughly 6 kilometres and a good 3-hour hike from Park HQ. The journey took us by Paku Waterfall and across a few stone-bed streams.

Camp 1 had basic amenities and no electricity; hence the clandestine nature of our night routine. The one bit of luxury that Camp 1 did have was a nice cold fast-flowing stream to bathe in after a long day of collecting.

Throughout our forays for Jumping Spiders in Mulu, we often come across other fascinating denizens of the rainforests. Here’s a Common Rat Snake (Elaphe flavolineata) we spotted in the early morning near Park HQ. This fellow gave me a ‘kiss’ on the forehead, but other than that, he wasn’t so bad.

Another snake was one I knew too well; a welcome sight nonetheless. This one made perch on the branches of a tree near a boardwalk and was reported to have resided there for weeks. Other herps that I managed to snap sporadically: a baby Agamid and a Trunk-dwelling Frog. The outhouse toilet at Camp 1 on one occasion came with a questionably desirable bathroom companion: a large Scutigeramorpha munching on a good-sized Sparassid.

Often mistaken for tarantulas, Sparassids are apparently the most common spider in these parts, frequently parking themselves on the wooden hand-rails of the park trails at night.


As for scorpions; gaps in many a wooden structure, typically played host to the ever abundant Liocheles australasiae. Last but not least, I found one arboreal dwelling of Heterometrus longimanus.

Though I had hoped to find the undescribed species of Buthid that Chien Lee had photographed, it has eluded me. No doubt I will return to try again someday. During our time at Mulu, I feel most fortunate to have made friends with so many awesome people; Syria the ‘golden guide,’ mighty Andyson; our porter to Camp 1, Bian, Jeremy and other members of the park staff that spared no expense in making our stay a pleasant and memorable one.

All in all, it has Mulu has been a truly unforgettable experience. I would like to thank Professor Wayne Maddison, Edyta Piacek for giving me the opportunity to “cut my teeth” on some genuine field-work experience and to Chien Lee for his recommendation and encouraging support. You guys rocked my world! Cheers and best regards

To be continued... Lambir Hills National Park
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Scorpion19981000
Administrator
avatar

Number of posts : 1895
Age : 19
Location : Cortland, New York
Registration date : 2011-07-03

PostSubject: Re: Mulu & Lambir Salticid Collecting Expedition    4/14/2012, 6:49 pm

That is awesome, simply awesome. The Heteropoda boei looks stunning. It's interesting that the H. longimanus is living an arboreal lifestyle.

_________________
"Life is a gamble. You can get hurt, but people die in plane crashes, lose their arms and legs in car accidents; people die every day. Same with fighters: some die, some get hurt, some go on. You just don’t let yourself believe it will happen to you."
-Muhammad Ali

My Youtube Channel.
My inverts:
 
Back to top Go down
View user profile http://www.scorpionforum.darkbb.com
LXDNG79
Tityus
avatar

Number of posts : 605
Age : 38
Location : Borneo, Sarawak, Malaysia
Registration date : 2008-10-16

PostSubject: Re: Mulu & Lambir Salticid Collecting Expedition    4/15/2012, 12:08 am

Part 2 Lambir National Park
After 17 days in Mulu, we flew to Miri and took a half-an hour drive from the city to our secondary collecting site in Lambir Hills National Park. Being largely on the slopes of Bukit Pantu and Bukit Lambir, the area experienced more drain-offs resulting in much drier forest from some of Mulu’s intermittently flooded alluvial lowlands.


One thing apparent to us in Mulu was a noticeable scarcity of ground dwelling Salticids which was attributed to exceedingly wet conditions. The dry fluffy leaf-litter seemed promising for bumping up our sample size of ground-dwellers.

The trees and vegetation here were also somewhat dissimilar many regards. Palms and other plants with large wide leaves more abundant here. The tree trunks had flakier bark as opposed to being moss-laden as they typically were in Mulu.

These different conditions indicated a comparably difference in the Salticid fauna, which was confirmed by the numbers and types of species found here in comparison to our samples in Mulu. Many foliage dwelling species that were less common in Mulu were more abundant here and vice versa.

Other than the account of the elusive Clouded Leopard occupying these forests, the presence of large animals was virtually absent. The insect life however, was rich and this meant plenty of food for the hunters of insects like spiders and their kin. Though I didn’t manage to find Chien Lee’s undescribed buthid of Mulu, I was nonetheless rewarded with a comparable find. I’ve never found any scorpion of the family Buthidae in Borneo until now. While brushing off the flaky barks off trees in Lambir, Wayne found this.

Though I’m still not sure what it is, the descriptions seem to match Lychas lourenci which not known from Borneo. Though I managed to get this specimen to feed, it didn’t survive so I preserved it for identification. More importantly, finding them has provided new insights to where local buthids were more likely to be found. For the longest time, searching for them was like shooting in the dark because I had no idea where to look. This find renewed me with a better likelihood of finding them and affirmed for me at least that they are out there.


Of the many newly reported and possible new species and genera of Salticids that we found, one stands out as being the most important find. Before this expedition, only 2 specimens of the subfamily Hisponinae were ever found outside Africa. During this expedition, at least 3 were found here in South East Asia. Among them, a species most likely new to science,

If anything, being given the opportunity to participate in this project has informed me more of how much of our planets’ biodiversity remains unstudied. While most of the world including myself still finds awe in seeing a more obvious fauna, it should be known to more people that often the smallest creatures that reside right under our noses are truly no less remarkable and are just as fascinating.

To Wayne Maddison and Edyta Piascik, Thanks for bringing me on this journey with you.

Cheers and may the force be with you

Wayne Paul Maddison is a professor and Canada Research Chair at the Dept of Zoology and Botany at University of British Columbia, and Scientific Co-Director of the Beaty Biodiversity Museum. His contributions to phylogenetic theory as co-founder the Tree of Life Web Project, and program designer of the MacClade and Mesquite open-source phylogeny software. His research centres on the phylogeny, biodiversity, and evolution of jumping spiders (Salticidae), of which he has discovered new species and genera.

Edyta Piascik is Wayne’s Masters Student in Evolutionary Biology at UBC. Her research project upon which this expedition was based is aimed at studying Comparative Analyses of Adaptive Radiation between New World and Old World Salticids.
Back to top Go down
View user profile
**GS**
Leiurus
avatar

Number of posts : 2629
Age : 35
Location : facebook.com/ScorpionArchives
Registration date : 2010-09-06

PostSubject: Re: Mulu & Lambir Salticid Collecting Expedition    5/7/2012, 12:53 am

An excellent report of an interesting expedition!

Thanks for sharing and putting this up Alex Very Happy
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Shakudo
Tityus
avatar

Number of posts : 870
Age : 32
Location : Tiel, The Netherlands.
Registration date : 2013-01-20

PostSubject: Re: Mulu & Lambir Salticid Collecting Expedition    2/7/2013, 9:29 am

Really loved reading this, felt like a trip to another world.
Back to top Go down
View user profile
LXDNG79
Tityus
avatar

Number of posts : 605
Age : 38
Location : Borneo, Sarawak, Malaysia
Registration date : 2008-10-16

PostSubject: Re: Mulu & Lambir Salticid Collecting Expedition    2/8/2013, 5:13 am

Shakudo wrote:
Really loved reading this, felt like a trip to another world.
Very Happy Thanks!!!!

Cheers and may the force be with you!
Back to top Go down
View user profile
Sponsored content




PostSubject: Re: Mulu & Lambir Salticid Collecting Expedition    

Back to top Go down
 
Mulu & Lambir Salticid Collecting Expedition
View previous topic View next topic Back to top 
Page 1 of 1
 Similar topics
-
» Wanted - Personnel, a second expedition vehicle required, etc.
» Self Collecting Florida Bark scorps
» Snow Leopard Expedition - Russia, Siberia & Kazakhstan - July 2013
» Designing and Building an Expedition Vehicle Part 2
» Expedition / Camper 110

Permissions in this forum:You cannot reply to topics in this forum
The Web's Only Official All-Scorpion Forum! :: The Communal Burrow :: Hike & Hunt Reports-
Jump to: