Posts Tagged ‘Sabah’

Danum Valley, Sabah, Borneo – 21/27 July 2013

Posted on: November 16th, 2013 by lesday | No Comments

In July 2013, I made my second visit to Danum Valley, a well known Reserve in the Malaysian Province of Sabah. I had previously visited the place in 2010, and that had been a very successful and enjoyable one, so I was really looking forward to visiting the area again.

As before, our group stayed at the Scientists Research Centre, which is on the opposite side of the reserve to the exclusive tourist hotel. The accomodation is more than satisfactory, and the presence of researchers there, who are always happy to give their expertise, is an added bonus.

Unfortunately, Borneo appears to be suffering from the same butterfly drought as Peninsular Thailand and Malaysia, and numbers seen were less than during my previous visit. However, we did see enough to keep ouselves pleasantly occupied throughout our visit.

Our first butterfly was one that allowed me to correct an omission from my previous trips to Sabah, we came across a reasonably willing model of the nominate form of Rajah Brooke’s Birdwing, Trogonoptera brookiana brookiana. However, even though this species regularly rested, it was always several metres up, so the angle of shot is not a good as I would have hoped.

Trogonoptera brookiana brookiana - Rajah Brooke's Birdwing

Trogonoptera brookiana brookiana – Rajah Brooke’s Birdwing

Flying around the same tree was a new species for me, Atrophaneura nox noctis (Blue Batwing), a female, which is considerbly larger than the male.

Atrophaneura nox noctis - Blue Batwing

Atrophaneura nox noctis – Blue Batwing

There are a large number of forest trails to walk along, and last time they had proved to be a wealth of species. This time, however, they were rather disappointing.

Charaxwes solon echo - Black Rajah

Charaxwes solon echo – Black Rajah

Polyure schreiber malayicus - Blue Nawab

Polyure schreiber malayicus – Blue Nawab

Pandita sinope sinope - The Colonel

Pandita sinope sinope – The Colonel

Arhopala similis - Druce's Oakblue

Arhopala similis – Druce’s Oakblue

With a paucity of butterflies, two of us went searching for Dragonflies, and in this we were not disappointed, finding many species, some of which are still to be described scientifically.

Prodasineura flamella

Prodasineura flamella

Euphaea subcostalis

Euphaea subcostalis

Unlike Maliau Basin, larger animals can be found here, and we were lucky that several wild Orang-Utans were present this time. These are notĀ  rescued individuals released back into the wild, but truly wild ones. Also, pygmy elephants were also in the area, but not in the same numbers as seen previously, they were elsewhere. This is a highly endangered subspecies of the Asian Elephant, which some scientists consider may be a seperate species entirely.



Pygmy Elephant

Pygmy Elephant

We came across other fauna, and overall, had a great time in a truly beautiful area. I strongly recommend a stay at the Centre, the rooms are comfortable and the food is good, and you do not have to ‘rough it’!

Lantern Bug - Pyrops whiteheadi

Lantern Bug – Pyrops whiteheadi

Huge 'Bird-Eating Spider' - Phoringochilus everetti

Huge ‘Bird-Eating Spider’ – Phoringochilus everetti


Maliau Basin, Sabah, Borneo – 21-29 June 2011

Posted on: July 31st, 2011 by lesday | No Comments


At the end of June, I was fortunate to join a group from Malaysia and Singapore on a 9 day visit to the Maliau Basin. This is better known as Sabah’s Lost World. It was first discovered, by accident in 1947, and only first partially explored in 1988. It is still only 50% explored.

Access to the site is very strictly controlled, and getting there is not for the frail. It is a 5 hour journey from Tawau by 4X4 vehicle, and after only 1 hour the road stops, to be replaced by rutted, pot-holed track, not perfect if travelling with a broken collar bone and two broken ribs, as I was.

The main restcamp is spacious and comfortable, with a separate dining room and rest area, away from the rooms. There is also a small library and scientists working area. The satellite treking camps are less well appointed. In the morning, you are awoken by the sound of gibbons calling as well as various birdsongs, including several species of hornbills.

As a group, because this was a first time for all of us, we stayed arround the main camp, except for a single day trip to the Agathis Camp. Also, owing to a motorcycle accident the week before, I was not able to walk far into the jungle. However, the other members of the group were, so I know I missed some great rarities such as Graphium empedovana empodovana, Drina coweni, Sinthusa privata, Drupadia cindi and the Glorious Begum (Agatasa calydonia mahasthama).

Nevertheless, some lovely species did find their way into my camera. Pick of the bunch was Drina mariae, a Bornean endemic, described as a great rarity. There is a very similar species also to be found in Borneo, but we were fortunate that one member of the group managed an upperside shot which confirmed its identity.

Underside of Drina mariae

Although the Island belongs to the same faunal area as West (Mainland) Malaysia and Southern Peninsular Thailand (known as Sundaland or Neomalaya), and it shares many species with the Peninsular, it does have many species unique to it, and many of the shared species are found as different subspecies. We did come across several otherĀ  species endemic to Borneo. The majority of these were to be found in the Rainforest or on its borders.

In total, we came across 132 species of butterfly and managed to photograph all but 19 of them. Most of the unphotographed species were those found commonly on the mainland, though it was a great pity that the few specimens that we saw of the nominate form of the Rajah Brooke’s Birdwing (Trogonoptera brookiana brookiana) never settled to allow a photo.

Charaxes jalysus triphonia

Idea stolli virgo

Ancema blanka blanka

Idmon latifascia

Prioneris cornelia

However, butterflies were not the only insects we photographed. The forests of Borneo are full of the oddest insects you could wish to think of.

At night, when the lights were switched on, you did not know where to look next, so many different insects were attracted to them. These included Moths, Cicadas, Beetles and Praying Mantids.

This was a wonderful exploratory trip, and I, for one, have every intention of returning, hopefully to investigate further into this remarkable place.

Moth - Cossidae: Xyleutes mineus

Moth - Lassiocampidae: Trabala viridana

Moth - Limacodidae: Parasa pastoralis

Moth - Saturnidae: Actias maenas

Dead Leaf Mantis - Deroplatys dessicata

Stick Insect - ID unknown, can anyone help?

Violin Beetle - Mormolyce castelnaudi

Stag Beetle - ID uncertain

Longhorn Beetle - Glenea dimidiata dimidiata f. oudetera

Fulgoridae - Lantern Bug - Pyrops whiteheadi