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The big and the beautiful

Posted by Tom - Nature Live host on Oct 12, 2012 4:39:17 PM
Tom is blogging on behalf of Tom Carpenter...

 

There are a lot of insects and other invertebrates in a tropical rainforest. All of them are beautiful in their own ways, but some have that wow factor. They come in all different shapes and sizes, from those barely the size of a full stop on this page, to those as large as the palm of my hand. Here are some photos of some of the more impressive invertebrates that we have encountered in Borneo.

 

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The magnificent male rhinoceros beetle

 

Many of the bigger insects we have seen come to the lights of the dining halls, both here at Maliau but also in Danum. This Rhinoceros beetle is a member of the Scarabaeoidea, the dung beetles and chafers. This magnificent male flew rather haphazardly into the dining hall at Maliau and crashed into the wall. It uses those large horns to grapple with other males to get the best spots for attracting a mate. Another frequent visitor to the dining halls of Maliau and Danum is the Lyssa moth. Its wingspan is about 20 cm.

 

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The moth is Lyssa zampa (Uraniidae)

 

This bizarre but beautiful creature is a member of the Family Fulgoridae, in the Order Hemiptera, the true bugs. It has a long nose, big eyes and is a beautiful green colour. Generally, Hemiptera feed on plants.

 

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A Folgorid bug

 

We have seen a couple of different types of millipedes. The first picture is of one I found on the road in Danum one morning on my way to breakfast. This one was as long as my foot!

 

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Millipede found on the road at Danum

 

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Pill millipede found at SAFE

 

The second is of one we found in one of our SAFE plots. This one can roll up into an almost perfect ball.

 

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Flat backed (Polydesmida) millipede

 

The third is a Polydesmid millipede and has a flat back. If you rub this one it smells like almonds due to a cyanide like poison it exudes from its back. One not to be licked!

 

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Camponotus gigas ants fighting over a cricket

 

This photos shows two members of one of the largest species of ants in the world, Camponotus gigas, fighting over a cricket. These ants are everywhere in the forest and quite happily wander over us and our equipment in search of food. They might look intimidating, but they are not aggressive and run away if you try and touch them.

 

I hope this gives a flavour of some of the more charismatic invertebrates of Borneo.

 

Dan Carpenter

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