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Malaysia, Fraser's Hill

Discussion in 'Field Trips (Natural Habitats)' started by moloch, Jul 7, 2010.

  1. moloch

    moloch Arachnoknight

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    My wife and I spent four nights at Fraser's Hill. This area is situated about 100 km to the north of Kuala Lumpur and is about 1500m in elevation. The temperature at Fraser's Hill is always pleasant and is a welcome relief after a few days in steamy KL. It often was misty with low clouds and occasional rain but it was not cold. I could walk quite comfortably in shorts and t-shirt into the night.

    Fraser's Hill is famous with birders for its amazing birds. Birding is a big deal here and there is an international bird race every June. The infrastructure is great with well-marked trails and often signs that indicated what was likely to be seen. The mountains in Malaysia are home to a number of birds that are more typical of the Himalayas further to the northwest. Birds like Sibias, Cutias and Laughing-thrush are here and sought after. Monkeys like such as the Macaques, Leaf-Monkeys and Siamang are frequent. Years ago, while I drove around looking for night birds, I found a Leopard Cat on the road. This is one of the smaller cats and is not much bigger than the domestic variety.

    Fraser's Hill is mostly forested. Here are habitat shots of the area:
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    There is plentiful hotel and bungalow accommodation here. This is a popular place on the weekends so advance bookings are a good idea.
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    We stayed here at Pekan Banglo:
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    The local mosque is something all visitors know about. The first call to prayer is at 5:15 each morning. For me, this was a call go get out and get into the forest before sunrise.
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    Most of the trailheads had signs and maps like this to help out with the birds that were likely:
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    We did not have a car here on this trip so I did lots of walking at night. This proved to be successful and I found a few snakes.

    A sad find was this gorgeous but DOR Blue Malaysian Coral Snake (Maticora bivirgata). It was killed around 1 pm, which was quite surprising since this is usually a nocturnal snake. This individual was huge and about 1.5m in length.
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    I found this Thai-Malayan Pit Viper (Popeia fucata) on the road on one of my night walks. I originally thought this to be a White-lipped Pit Viper but I was told on another site that the White-lipped is a lowland species whereas Popeia lives in the uplands.
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    This Variable Reed Snake (Calamaria lumbricoidea) was a challenge to photograph since it never stopped moving.
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    I found two of these tiny Malayan Mountain Reed Snakes (Macrocalamus lateralis) on the road.
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    This Southern Mountain Slug Snake (Pareas vertebralis) was active during a rainstorm one night.
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    Lizards were represented by a couple of skinks and a single dragon. I think the following are Blotched Forest Skinks (Sphaenomorphus praesignis). These were all found along road cuts and usually had burrows into the bank. One was found on a log.
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    I think that these are (Mabuya multifasciata) but I am not certain.
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    This little dragon was a bright green until I caught it and moved it off the road. It changed colours in just a few moments when it was stressed. I am not certain of its identity. Any ideas?
    [​IMG]


    Frogs were not plentiful but I did see a few. I need help with these since I don’t know their names.

    Frog 1:
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    Frog 2:
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    Frog 3:
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    Frog 4:
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    Toad 1
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    … more to come (butterflies, moths and other inverts)


    Regards,
    David
     
  2. Travis K

    Travis K TravIsGinger Old Timer

    Nice pics, I wish I could go to Asia. Maybe in the next few years?

    That Blue Malaysian Coral Snake 'was' spectacular. Was it a local who killed it?
     
  3. moloch

    moloch Arachnoknight

    Travis,

    I don't know whether it was intentional or not but it had been hit by a car.

    Regards,
    David
     
  4. zonbonzovi

    zonbonzovi Creeping beneath you Staff Member

    Great shots as usual, David. Any idea what the function of the red tail on Popeia fucata is?
     
  5. moloch

    moloch Arachnoknight

    zonbonzovi,
    I don't know the purpose of the red tail on the green pit vipers of Asia so have asked on the herp forums. I will post what I hear.

    I did not really try for bird photos on this trip but here is one of the few that I took of a lovely Silver-eared Mesia:
    [​IMG]

    Birding is Malaysia is excellent. On this trip, I was looking more for butterflies and herps so my list was not as long as before. Here is a link to a report that I produced the last time that I visited this area:
    http://www.camacdonald.com/birding/tripreports/Malaysia98.html


    Here are some of the inverts that I encountered.

    I found this trilobite beetle (Lycidae, I think) along a trail before sunrise. It had two spots phosphorescent spots on the abdomen. I saw two green "lights" moving around on the forest floor and found then found this amazing creature.
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    I was lucky to see the following spider one night. It apparently is a rare and primitive trap-door with strange abdominal plates. I saw legs beneath a rock so teased it with a stem of grass. It did not take long for it to charge into the open.
    Possibly Liphistius malayanus (thanks Zoltan!). Here is a link to more info about it:
    http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2005/4/2/nation/10577174&sec=nation
    [​IMG]
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    I found several tarantulas but I could not convince any of them to come out into the open for better photos:
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    One of the odd jewel spiders.
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    An odd looking harvestman:
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    This huge Rhinoceros Beetle visited a street light one night. I only saw this single horned male but several unhorned females.
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    I discovered that some ways of holding this beetle were not a good as others. Many years ago, I let one walk on my arm. It suddenly clamped down with its grappling-hook toes and I had many little puncture wounds that were bleeding. On this visit, I held it at the articulation of the head and thorax but ended up with an impaled thumb when the beetle suddenly elevated its head.
    [​IMG]


    ... a huge Dung Beetle:
    [​IMG]


    Regards,
    David
     
  6. Travis K

    Travis K TravIsGinger Old Timer

    Again nice pics, you obviously earned them with blood and no doubt so sweat too. That trilobite beetle is spectacular, what would you say the length was on it? LOL, It looks like a mix of at least three different inverts all wrapped up in one.
     
  7. syndicate

    syndicate Arachnoemperor Old Timer

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    Awesome photos!
    I wouldn't be surprised if that tarantula in the burrow is a Coremiocnemis species..Looks like shes holding an eggsack to!
    Thanks for sharing!
    -Chris
     
  8. Philth

    Philth N.Y.H.C. Arachnosupporter

    Very cool ! thanks for sharing. Now I want a Pit viper !:wall: haha

    Later, Tom
     
  9. tarcan

    tarcan Arachnoking Old Timer

    that white opilione is very cool!

    thanks for sharing

    Martin
     
  10. I really need to move back to China and find a Liphistius species NOW. Amazing photos, it looks absolutely massive. I think I never found any because I never went on night trips. Did you see any mammals there? Have you moved into Malaysia now or are you just visiting? Thanks for sharing! Post like this will hold me over until my next adventure. :D
     
  11. moloch

    moloch Arachnoknight

    Thanks, all.

    zonbonzovi,
    I was told elsewhere that the coloured tail of these viper is used as a lure to attract frogs or other animals within stricking range.

    syndicate,
    Too bad that the tarantula would not come out of its burrow. I would like to have seen it in the open.

    Maarten,
    That was a holiday. I live here in Australia.

    Regards,
    David
     
  12. moloch

    moloch Arachnoknight

    I found an Atlas Moth (Attacas atlas) one night. What an incredible moth! It was huge and you can get an idea of the size by looking at the pavers where it is standing.
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    Lyssa zampa were abundant at the moment. They are uraniids but are nocturnal unlike those that I have seen here in Australia and Peru.
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    Arctiids were common. I quite like this Snouted Tiger (Peridrome orbicularis?):
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    Vamuna remelana -- another arctiid
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    Cyana malayensis -- arctiid
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    Barsine flavodiscalis -- arctiid
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    Some moths had very oddly shaped wings:
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    This moth looked much like a Lycaenid butterfly. I think that it is Tasta micacaeta.
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    Urapteroides sp
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    These Noctuiids were feeding on crushed figs.
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    Geometrids?
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    Sphinx Moths were numerous.
    Ambulyx obliterata?
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    ?Cechenena lineosa?
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  13. moloch

    moloch Arachnoknight

    Fraser's Hill is a popular place with the lep photographers. Diversity and numbers of butterflies are high. The most spectacular species that I observed was the Rajah Brooke's Birdwing. These are huge swallowtails with black and glistening green wings and with patches of red on their bodies. They are a gorgeous in flight. Unfortunately, I only saw them flying over but they will stop to puddle at times.

    Here are some of the others that I encountered:

    Black-tipped Archduke (Lexias dirtea) -- male and female. These have dark clubs on their antennae.
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    Archduke (Lexias pardalis) -- similar to the above species but with yellow clubs on their antennae.
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    Common Earl (Tanaecia julii) -- Brown butterflies with blue-edged lower wings seems to be a common pattern in Malaysia.
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    Blue Admiral (Rhinopalpa polynice) -- resembled Mourning Cloaks in form, size and behaviour.
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    Commander (Moduza procris) -- in flight, a little like Sister or Admiral Butterflies in the mountains of southern California.
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    Redspot Duke (Dophla evelina) -- big, powerful Nymphalids.
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    Branded Yeoman (Paduca fasciata)
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    Map-wing (Cyrestis maenalis) -- one of several species found in Malaysia.
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    Dark Blue Jungle Glory (Thaumantis klugius) -- these are Asian members of the morpho tribe. They behave a little like Owl Butterflies and are crepuscular.
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    Malay Tailed Judy (Abisara savitri) -- a metalmark
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    Spotted Sawtooth (Prioneris thestylis) -- a large and beautiful pierid.
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    Redbase Jezabel (Delias pasithoe) -- another beautiful pierid. This was a common species but they tended to remain high in the canopy.
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    Orange Emigrant (Catopsilia scylla)
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    Lesser Gull (Cepora nadina)
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    Psyche (Leptosia nina)
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    Danaidae were also common. One of my favourites was the huge Tree Nymph whose wings seemed to be too large for the body. They just floated along effortlessly with hardly a wingbeat.
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    Yellow Glassy Tiger (Parantica aspasia)
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    Chocolate Tiger (Parantica agleoides)
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    Great Helen (Papilio iswara)
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    Common Bluebottle (Graphium sarpedon)
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    The Quaker (Neopithecops zalmora)
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  14. moloch

    moloch Arachnoknight

    Here are a few shots from Kuala Lumpur. KL is a big, modern city that appears to be booming. There is so much building underway. My wife and I stayed at Hotel Istana right in the city centre and I would highly recommend it. It is easy to walk at from there to see the various sights such as the amazing Petronas Towers (or KLCC building).
    [​IMG]
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    There was a park at the base of the towers and I wandered over here since it was about the only patch of green in the city centre. I saw a few birds and about 15 species of butterflies in the gardens.
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    Shining Starling:
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    I found a board and "flipped" this to find a frog and toad:
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    Dragonflies:
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    To my tastes, Malay food is the best of all. It is so much better than the western food that we normally eat. This was Nasi Lemak, what I ate for breakfast on most days:
    [​IMG]


    Regards,
    David
     
  15. Crysta

    Crysta Arachnoprince Old Timer

    wow that food looks awesome. I cant wait to learn how to cook that delicious stuff..mmm

    haha aside from food....
    you lucky lucky person! great photos, great animals, great travelling experience...man what more can you ask for? well more reptiles
    ... hehe

    How long did you stay? is it safe there? Like walking around at night or do you need a guide? oh wow..how I wouldnt mind going there someday. Hehe, especially where you found all the reptiles. Did you have someone walking with you at night or did you go alone? must be easy to find the trails then
    .... ahh so dreamy. hehe
     
  16. moloch

    moloch Arachnoknight

    Thanks, Crysta.

    Malaysia is a very safe country so there is no issue at all about walking around in the city or up in the mountains. The biggest danger at Fraser's Hill would be slipping and falling on the muddy trails. The trails were well sign-posted so there was no concern about getting lost. I always went out alone at night. My wife enjoys the morning walks but not walks along trails with lots of leeches, especially at night. I often had bloody ankles from their bites.
    [​IMG]


    I love to cook and I often prepare Malaysian food. Do you have an oriental grocery store near you? I can usually find all of the ingredients that I need right here in Wollongong. Malay food is of course spicy and quite hot but is so tasty. Often, they use belacan, a smelly shrimp paste, in their dishes. It may smell obnoxious but it adds a distinctive taste to their food.

    I had either beef rendang or chicken rendang daily. These are dry curries. Have a look on the web and you will see plenty of recipes.


    I finally recognized the mass on which this butterfly was sitting. It was feeding on the juices of a road killed tarantula. Tarantula burrows were common along the road banks and this one must have ventured out onto the road and in front of a car.
    [​IMG]

    Regards,
    David
     
  17. Crysta

    Crysta Arachnoprince Old Timer

    Oh wow thanks for all the info! this is certainly added to my places to visit, it seems amazing, thank you for the great info. Aahah I hate leaches... are the misquitos bad there? i am horrible with them...

    thanks
    Crysta
     
  18. moloch

    moloch Arachnoknight

    Crysta,

    Mosquitoes were not too bad on this trip. I have been to Taman Negara and seen lots in earlier years but on this trip there were only a few.

    The leeches were annoying but they don't seem to leave an itchy bite like those here in Australia. Their anticoagulant was very effective, though, so a bite would bleed for several hours. I usually felt nothing from the leech but eventually would realize that my sock was "wet". Rinsing them out in the evenings was rather gross.

    Malaysia is a long way from Canada. If you decide to visit someday, make certain to stop in Sabah as well. Sabah is one of two Malaysian states on Borneo. This wonderful place is Mt. Kinabalu, the highest mountain in southeast Asia. It is about 13500' but flat-topped and surrounded by steep slopes/cliffs. The climb to the top is an overnight-er with a stop in a dorm at 9000'. The guides get you up at about 4am for the final ascent to the summit. It is important to be there at sunrise since clouds build up quickly and obscure the views of the lowlands and the coast. Pitcher Plants and a host of rhododendrons grow in these mountain forests. My photos are from April 1990 (special year, right?).
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    fantastic Lantern Fly (Fulgorid):
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    Regards,
    David
     
  19. Crysta

    Crysta Arachnoprince Old Timer

    oh wow i'd need to consider this! amazing! .. :) thanks so much!
    btw that last picture is beautiful and I love the old film style of it :D
    Crysta