Mostly nature and photojournalism of amateur standard.

By: Amir Ridhwan

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Monday, 17-Mar-2008 14:05 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Mating of Crab Spider

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I was having a bad stomach yesterday. I planned to go to Bukit Gasing but since I can only leave my house at around 5, I decided not to risk a big crowd there. So I went to a public park in Puchong, a place I used to frequent some time in 2006.

I didn't go to the park as often since I discovered Bukit Belacan. But since the construction in the park has spoilt the tranquility of the place, it is time to look for other places for spider hunt. My search brought me to many places within the Klang valley- Lembah Pangsun, Bukit Cerakah, Bukit Gasing, FRIM and Bukit Tabur. Although I found several interesting species there, still they lack the wow factor posses by my favourite hunting ground such as Bukit Belacan. There was no magical spot where you can just sit there for an hour and offload hundreds of frames. But yesterday, I experienced it again.

Well, it was not exactly by the hundreds but it might reach it if it were not due to the rain. The bush I scouted was abundant with several species of spiders- lynx, jumping and crab. There was also some hoverflies and mantis. Yet the biggest catch of all is to witness the mating of crab spiders in front of my eyes.

Saturday, 1-Mar-2008 12:10 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Liphistidae- Trapdoor Spiders

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Known to science as the most primitive spiders on earth Liphitius spiders can only be found in the South East Asia with many species known as endemic in several localities in Malaysia. There are 40 species in this genus, all bear the trademark of having closely clustered eyes.

Monday, 11-Feb-2008 07:02 Email | Share | | Bookmark

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There are 9 families of sub-order Mygalomorphae spiders in the South East Asia with 43 genera. The famous hairy tarantulas and the bird-eating spiders belong to this sub-order. The most common family is Theraposidae which consists of the tarantulas and other large hairy spiders. They were quite common a few decades ago until overdevelopment and poaching by exotic pet collectors brought their numbers down to an alarming stage. Most species are endemic, meaning they only colonize a specific region, often an individual hill or valley.

These large spiders are considered primitive and have several characteristics which set the apart from the "modern" spiders. None of the Mygalomorph weaves webs. They live in either an earthen burrow or hole on a tree. The fangs move inwards instead of towards each other like in modern spiders. Even the respitory system is different where they have 4 book lungs instead of 2. These are the arthropods that have survived millions of years without evolution but over the past few years have seen the twilight of their existance. They are at the verge of extinction, wrought upon them by proud Malaysians.

While we celebrate having the tallest building in the world, several species of Mygalomorph are awaiting execution of their millions of years of reign in the world. Reports from naturalist and scientists showed several species have been lost without being desribed, mainly due to collectors who poached the burrows and remove the inhabitants. Their habitat is getting smaller as more condominiums and mansion being built at hillsides.

On the other side of the world, there are the goliath tarantula which is the largest spider in the world. It roams the Amazon rain forest and occassionally eat bird chicks in their nest. There are the beautiful red knee tarantula which lives in the Mexican desert but was hunted to near extinction by collectors due to its striking appearence. The largest and perhaps rarest of Malaysian species is the Malayan Earth Tiger Cyriopagopus thorelli which I have yet to find. It was used to be abundant in the Cameron Highlands a few decades ago but not anymore.

If you notice these magnificent creatures near your place, please do not disturb them. You may want to photograph and study them but keep them in the wild as it is. Do not disclose their location to people who might take advantage by removing them for collecting or to make quick money. These creatures are our national treasure and protected by the Endangered Species Act but it is really up to us to make sure they survive for our descendants to view.

You can also view at my flickr:

Wednesday, 23-Jan-2008 18:09 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Thaipusam 2008

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This is my 2nd Thaipusam outing, this time with Hasnuddin from fototeacher. At first I feared that I might be able to make it as in KL it was not a public holiday. Fortunately the election is coming soon so it's for everyone to enjoy.











Monday, 7-Jan-2008 03:39 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Wedding in Bentong

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I attended my cousin's wedding in Bentong yesterday. Late I went to Sungai Chamang waterfall for about half-an-hour before it started raining. The waterfall is like nothing I've seen in the Klang Valley before. It was huge with several cascading stages. I manage to find some interesting macro subjects not far from it. There are a lot of Gasteracantha spiders but most of them are very small.

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