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Malaysia's Top 100 Macro Shots from 2015

Malaysia's Top 100 Macro Shots from 2015
Malaysia has some of the most dazzling arthropod life. The Borneo rainforest is 140 million years old, making it one of the oldest rainforests in the world and home to countless species of macro photography subjects, many of which are still undescribed. In this post, I'll showcase 100 of the memorable shots from Malaysia that I've taken in 2015. Please enjoy this photo series. :)

I made 4 short photography trips to Malaysia in 2015, and they were all very fruitful! Some of the fauna are similar to that in Singapore, but each trip certainly brought me many lifers. Two of the trips were to the venue of the Borneo Bootcamp in Tawau, one was a night trip to Johor, and one to Fraser's Hill in Pahang.

Due to the sheer number of photographs taken, I've done my 2015 summary in individual posts separated by country. Do check out my other 2015 roundup posts as well:

    Hemiptera - True Bugs


    Lantern bug (Pyrops whiteheadi) - DSC_3952b
  1. Lantern bug (Pyrops whiteheadi) Buy this Photo
    One of the most brightly coloured lantern bugs of Borneo. It is relatively easy to spot P. whiteheadi when they are in season.

  2. Lantern bug (Pyrops sidereus) - DSC_3088
  3. Lantern bug (Pyrops sidereus) Buy this Photo
    Some of the lantern bugs have distinct host trees, and the chances of finding them would be much higher with an experienced guide.

  4. Lantern bug (Pyrops sultanus) - DSC_5646
  5. Lantern bug (Pyrops sultanus) Buy this Photo
    I had photographed this lantern bug before in previous years, so a different approach was taken this time round.

  6. Planthopper (Penthicodes sp.) - DSC_3540
  7. Planthopper (Penthicodes sp.) Buy this Photo
    Found this fulgorid planthopper off the trail, looks close to the one we see in Singapore but this was much darker, possibly faded.

  8. Net-winged planthopper (Nogodinidae) - DSC_4311
  9. Net-winged planthopper (Nogodinidae) Buy this Photo
    A bit of back-lighting to highlight the transparent wings.

  10. Pill-like planthopper (Hemisphaerius sp.) - DSC_4157
  11. Pill-like planthopper (Hemisphaerius sp.) Buy this Photo
    There were several of these pill-like planthoppers along the paths in Tawau, but this had the most colourful patterns!

  12. Eurybrachyid planthopper (Eurybrachyidae) - DSC_4250
  13. Eurybrachyid planthopper (Eurybrachyidae) Buy this Photo
    Lateral view reveals a bright red abdomen in this stunning planthopper.

  14. Giant shield bug (Tessaratomidae) - DSC_3224
  15. Giant shield bug (Tessaratomidae) Buy this Photo
    Some of the most colourful shield bugs could be found here in Borneo. We found one just outside the toilet.

  16. Giant shield bug nymph (Tessaratomidae) - DSC_3836
  17. Giant shield bug nymph (Tessaratomidae) Buy this Photo
    Another shield bug nymph at the bottom of the bridge and had us excited and queuing up!

  18. Giant shield bug (Tessaratomidae) - DSC_3842
  19. Giant shield bug (Tessaratomidae) Buy this Photo
    An adult shield bug was spotted behind the cabins, and we found it to be laying eggs! She had beautiful textures on her dorsal body with green metallic pits!

  20. Giant shield bug nymph (Tessaratomidae) - DSC_4885
  21. Giant shield bug nymph (Tessaratomidae) Buy this Photo
    While we took at break by the tree, this exotic little shield bug nymph had followed us all the way up! We brought it back down to where we found it near our cabins.

  22. Thread-legged assassin bug (Emesinae) - DSC_4398
  23. Thread-legged assassin bug (Emesinae) Buy this Photo
    Found a furry looking thread-legged assassin bug! Stunning looking creature and a definite pain to focus when it decides to move all the time.

  24. Masked hunter assassin bug (Reduviidae) - DSC_3898
  25. Masked hunter assassin bug (Reduviidae) Buy this Photo
    On the tree trunks, we found the masked hunter, an assassin bug that piles debris upon itself to conceal its shape.

  26. Araneae - Spiders


    Funnel weaver spider (Agelenidae) - DSC_5848
  27. Funnel weaver spider (Agelenidae) Buy this Photo
    My first record for this family, appears to be quite common in certain parts of Fraser's Hill.

  28. St Andrew's cross spider (Argiope reinwardti) - DSC_5599
  29. St Andrew's cross spider (Argiope sp.) Buy this Photo
    Also from Fraser's Hill, this belongs to a unique group of Argiope with a sparse to hairless carapace.

  30. St Andrew's cross spider (Argiope doleschalli) - DSC_6029
  31. St Andrew's cross spider (Argiope sp.) Buy this Photo
    A much larger Argiope that Tan Ji found - check out the shiny carapace! The carapace of most other Argiope would be covered with silvery hairs.

  32. Wrap-around spider (Talthybia sp.) - DSC_5017
  33. Wrap-around spider (Talthybia sp.) Buy this Photo
    A magnificent specimen of a wrap-around spider right in front of the cabins in Tawau. The abdomen has a peculiar vertical protrusion.

  34. Big-headed bark spider (Caerostris sp.) - DSC_5046
  35. Big-headed bark spider (Caerostris sp.) Buy this Photo
    Spiders from this genus are always stunners, providing captivating portraits for us.

  36. Trashline orb web spider (Cyclosa sp.) - DSC_4161b
  37. Trashline orb web spider (Cyclosa sp.) Buy this Photo
    Mesmerizing stabilimentum on a Cyclosa, with what looks like a captured prey.

  38. Longhorn orb web spider (Macracantha arcuata) - DSC_3851
  39. Longhorn orb web spider (Macracantha arcuata) Buy this Photo
    Probably the longest horns on any spider in the region, the longhorn orb web spider is a common sight near to the cabins in Tawau.

  40. Long horned orb weaver (Macracantha arcuata) - DSC_4412
  41. Long horned orb weaver (Macracantha arcuata) Buy this Photo
    Wide angle view of a white morph of Macracantha, one of the craziest looking spiders around.

  42. Spiny orb web spider (Gasteracantha sp.) - DSC_4039
  43. Spiny orb web spider (Gasteracantha sp.) Buy this Photo
    Also found in front of where we stayed (lazy bums we are), this Gasteracantha has a stout, sclerotized abdomen.

  44. Lichen wandering spider (Acantheis sp.?) - DSC_5127
  45. Lichen wandering spider (Acantheis sp.) Buy this Photo
    One of my favorite ctenids ever! Excellent camouflage on a mossy tree trunk and probably overlooked by most others.

  46. Unknown spider web - DSC_4145b
  47. Unknown spider web Buy this Photo
    Possibly a tetragnathid, but have not been able to confirm the identity of this spider. It builds a horizontal orb web in constricted spaces, with a delightful array of stabilimentum.

  48. Black armored trapdoor spider (Liphistius malayanus) - DSC_6749
  49. Black armored trapdoor spider (Liphistius malayanus) Buy this Photo
    Resident of Fraser's Hill under ultraviolet. It is facing possible extinction due to poaching and collection. Surveys of the area have shown the sore absence of males and younger specimens. Given that the male does not travel far to find mates, the chances of procreation of this species is slim.

  50. Lynx spider (Hamadruas sp.) - DSC_3934
  51. Lynx spider (Hamadruas sp.) Buy this Photo
    A lovely new batch of spiderlings crowding around their mother.

  52. Fishing spider (Nilus sp.) - DSC_3815
  53. Fishing spider (Nilus sp.) Buy this Photo
    Found beside a river and very cooperative!

  54. Jumping spider (Salticidae) - DSC_3170
  55. Jumping spider (Salticidae) Buy this Photo
    Small and plain looking, but super cute and gave me the innocent doe-eyed look.

  56. Jumping spider (Epeus sp.) - DSC_3887
  57. Jumping spider (Epeus sp.) Buy this Photo
    Very common male Epeus with the "mohawk", known for the elaborate display of colours.

  58. Big-jawed jumping spider (Parabathippus sp.) - DSC_4936
  59. Big-jawed jumping spider (Parabathippus sp.) Buy this Photo
    Giant chelicerae makes me wonder if it can deal a painful bite?

  60. Jumping spider (Simaetha sp.) - DSC_3259
  61. Jumping spider (Simaetha sp.) Buy this Photo
    Purplish and tiny, this turned out to be a beetle-mimic jumping spider! It even has golden palps to mimic the mouth parts of beetles.

  62. Huntsman spider (Sparassidae) - DSC_5372
  63. Huntsman spider (Sparassidae) Buy this Photo
    Most colourful huntsman spider, ever. Found this huge beauty beside a river.

  64. Malaysian purple femur tarantula (Coremiocnemis hoggi) - DSC_5613
  65. Malaysian purple femur tarantula (Coremiocnemis hoggi) Buy this Photo
    Another resident of Fraser's Hill and named after Stephen Hogg, who now runs a guesthouse there. Do check out Stephen's Place and it's reviews if you plan to visit Fraser's Hill. For nature lovers only!

  66. Tarantula (Theraphosidae) - DSC_2943
  67. Tarantula (Theraphosidae) Buy this Photo
    We chased this tarantula around but it eventually disappeared into the leaf litter.

  68. Spiny comb-footed spider (Phoroncidia sp.) - DSC_5750
  69. Spiny comb-footed spider (Phoroncidia sp.) Buy this Photo
    One of my favorite theridiids with an exceptionally spiny and odd-shaped abdomen.

  70. Crab spider (Pharta sp.) - DSC_3257
  71. Crab spider (Epidius sp.) Buy this Photo
    The male of this crab spider has ridiculously long pedipalps, which could even be mistaken for its legs.

  72. Bird dung crab spider (Phrynarachne sp.) - DSC_4263
  73. Bird dung crab spider (Phrynarachne sp.) Buy this Photo
    An amazing bird dung mimic, it is able to weave its prey around itself to complement its camouflage.

  74. Ant-like sac spider (Utivarachna sp.) - DSC_2962
  75. Ant-like sac spider (Utivarachna sp.) Buy this Photo
    A pale coloured Utivarachna, notably larger than what we find in Singapore.

  76. Arachnids - Scorpions, Whipscorpions, Harvestmen, etc. (except spiders)


    Blue harvestman (Opiliones) - DSC_4466
  77. Harvestman (Opiliones) Buy this Photo
    Who would have imagined that a harvestman could be blue?

  78. Harvestman ultraviolet animation (Opiliones) - DSC_4349_uv
  79. Harvestman ultraviolet animation (Opiliones) Buy this Photo
    Here's how one looked like before and after exposure to ultraviolet.

  80. Whip scorpion (Thelyphonida) - DSC_3021
  81. Whip scorpion (Thelyphonida) Buy this Photo
    We saw a vinegaroon, or whip scorpion. Didn't disturb it, so we didn't smell like vinegar. :)

  82. Pseudoscorpion (Pseudoscorpionida) - DSC_4238
  83. Pseudoscorpion (Pseudoscorpionida) Buy this Photo
    The pseudoscorpion clings on very tightly, hoping to hitch a ride. It probably hasn't figured out that it was clinging onto a shield bug nymph... without wings...

  84. Giant black forest scorpion (Heterometrus sp.) - DSC_5272
  85. Giant black forest scorpion (Heterometrus sp.) Buy this Photo
    A giant black forest scorpion fluorescing brightly under ultraviolet.

  86. Tick (Ixodida) - DSC_6092
  87. Tick (Ixodida) Buy this Photo
    This tick was sucking the blood of Adam, so we made him sit still while we took close ups of it. :)

  88. Hymenoptera - Bees, Wasps, Ants


    Golden blue ant (Polyrhachis sp.) - DSC_3429
  89. Golden blue ant (Polyrhachis sp.) Buy this Photo
    These ants were brilliantly coloured with a metallic blue abdomen.

  90. Fish hook ant (Polyrhachis ypsilon) - DSC_3477
  91. Fish hook ant (Polyrhachis ypsilon) Buy this Photo
    Traced one of them that paused for a while, long enough to take some record shots.

  92. Wasp sharing a meal with ant - DSC_3413
  93. Wasp sharing a meal with ant Buy this Photo
    Another scene that attracted our attention! Gathering of 3 different predators, but the poor orthopteran was at the bottom of this food chain.

  94. Cuckoo wasp (Loboscelidia sp.) - DSC_3721
  95. Cuckoo wasp (Loboscelidia sp.) Buy this Photo
    Looks like a winged ant, but turned out to be a cuckoo wasp that is not often seen.

  96. Coleoptera - Beetles


    Rhino beetle (Dynastinae) - DSC_5397
  97. Rhino beetle (Dynastinae) Buy this Photo
    This rhino beetle flew to us near the cabin in Tawau, which gave us the opportunity to take some wide angle shots when we were checking out on the last day.

  98. Rhino beetle (Dynastinae) - DSC_5821
  99. Rhino beetle (Dynastinae) Buy this Photo
    This was attracted to our lights at Fraser's Hill, kept flying! Eyes illuminated with ultraviolet.

  100. Trilobite beetle larva (Platerodrilus sp.) - DSC_2938
  101. Trilobite beetle larva (Platerodrilus sp.) Buy this Photo
    This was found on several fallen logs in Tawau, probably a different species from those in Singapore.

  102. Trilobite beetle larva (Platerodrilus sp.) - DSC_6050
  103. Trilobite beetle larva (Platerodrilus sp.) Buy this Photo
    A lankier trilobite beetle larva, this can also be found in Singapore.

  104. Lizard beetle (Languriidae) - DSC_3184
  105. Lizard beetle (Languriidae) Buy this Photo
    A highly reflective lizard beetle.

  106. Rove beetle (Aleocharinae) - DSC_5077
  107. Rove beetle (Aleocharinae) Buy this Photo
    Couldn't figure out the shape until I saw the close ups, which revealed the flipped abdomen.

  108. Tiger beetle (Cicindelinae) - DSC_5193
  109. Tiger beetle (Cicindelinae) Buy this Photo
    Saw a few of these tiger beetles but only managed to shoot one successfully.

  110. Tiger beetle (Cylindera sp.) - DSC_5769
  111. Tiger beetle (Cylindera sp.) Buy this Photo
    One of the most stunning tiger beetles around!

  112. Leaf beetle (Chrysomelidae) - DSC_4982
  113. Leaf beetle (Chrysomelidae) Buy this Photo
    Common leaf beetle but with a metallic body.

  114. Jewel beetle (Endelus sp.) - DSC_5960
  115. Jewel beetle (Endelus sp.) Buy this Photo
    Super tiny but brilliant jewel beetle, unfortunately also a very skittish one. Saw one with golden head and thorax at an adjacent plant.

  116. Palm weevil (Cercidocerus sp.) - DSC_3156
  117. Palm weevil (Cercidocerus sp.) Buy this Photo
    A black weevil got Dennis really excited near the garden entrance, but it was this that got him going OMG OMG OMG OMG. I tend to imagine the antennae of this weevil to be window wipers! :)

  118. Weevils (Curculionidae) - DSC_3969
  119. Weevils (Curculionidae) Buy this Photo
    Mating pair of weevils with interesting disc-like texture when viewed up close.

  120. Orthoptera - Katydids, Grasshoppers, Crickets


    Katydid (Tettigoniidae) - DSC_2810
  121. Katydid (Tettigoniidae) Buy this Photo
    Looked like a muddy looking katydid from afar, but spotted a gradient of yellow-green-blue on the wing veins!

  122. Grasshopper (Caelifera) - DSC_2870
  123. Grasshopper (Caelifera) Buy this Photo
    Hypnotising eyes...

  124. Katydid (Tettigoniidae) - DSC_2924
  125. Katydid (Tettigoniidae) Buy this Photo
    Stunning katydid that flattens itself onto a leaf when threatened. It even looks a little bit dirty to complement the camouflage.

  126. Dead leaf grasshopper (Trigonopterygidae) - DSC_3666
  127. Dead leaf grasshopper (Trigonopterygidae) Buy this Photo
    We found at least 3 different colour morphs of this dead leaf grasshopper within a small area.

  128. Grasshopper nymph (Caelifera) - DSC_4698
  129. Grasshopper nymph (Caelifera) Buy this Photo
    A small little grasshopper hopped onto the lamp post, and looked surprisingly like a little toy!

  130. Grasshopper (Caelifera) - DSC_5376
  131. Grasshopper (Caelifera) Buy this Photo
    Apparently quite common and colourful, but often missed out as it resembles many of the common grasshoppers.

  132. Monkey grasshopper (Erucius sp.) - DSC_5697
  133. Monkey grasshopper (Erucius sp.) Buy this Photo
    Something that is not uncommon in Malaysia, but have not seen them in Singapore yet.

  134. Katydid (Tettigoniidae) - DSC_3648
  135. Katydid (Tettigoniidae) Buy this Photo
    Katydid nymph with some fancy colours.

  136. Moss katydid (Tettigoniidae) - DSC_5505
  137. Moss katydid (Tettigoniidae) Buy this Photo
    Camouflaged moss katydid, really amazing critter!

  138. Katydid (Tettigoniidae) - DSC_5261
  139. Katydid (Tettigoniidae) Buy this Photo
    First time seeing such prominent spermatophores on a katydid.

  140. Katydid (Tettigoniidae) - DSC_5372
  141. Katydid (Tettigoniidae) Buy this Photo
    From a distance, this looked like a random plain picture. Have you found the katydid yet? View a close up of the katydid.

  142. Katydid (Tettigoniidae) - DSC_4638
  143. Katydid (close to Olcinia sp. - ID suggested by Piotr Naskrecki) Buy this Photo
    Kept confusing it between a katydid and stick insect. Very broad head for a katydid. Incredibly cryptic details!

  144. Mantodea - Mantises


    Hood mantis (Rhombodera valida) - DSC_6358
  145. Hood mantis (Rhombodera valida) Buy this Photo
    A regal looking hooded mantis from Fraser's Hill, shot with a fisheye lens.

  146. Dead leaf mantis (Deroplatys sp.) - DSC_3678
  147. Dead leaf mantis (Deroplatys sp.) Buy this Photo
    A green morph of the dead leaf mantis. Mimicking a different not-so-dead leaf?

  148. Dead leaf mantis (Deroplatys sp.) - DSC_4259
  149. Dead leaf mantis (Deroplatys sp.) Buy this Photo
    This dead leaf mantis was hanging out on our clothes lines... I could even try doing some back-lit shots!

  150. Bark mantis (Mantodea) - DSC_5474
  151. Bark mantis (Mantodea) Buy this Photo
    Adult bark mantis found at our doorstep.

  152. Mantis (Pachymantis sp.?) - DSC_4011
  153. Mantis (Pachymantis sp.?) Buy this Photo
    Looks similar to a Pachymantis. The forelegs were yellow and blue on the outside, and red on the inside!

  154. Bark horned mantis (Ceratocrania sp.) - DSC_4091
  155. Bark horned mantis (Ceratocrania sp.) Buy this Photo
    Sadly, a dying horned mantis that had a radially twisted cone head!

  156. Phasmatodea - Stick Insects


    Stick insect (Phasmatodea) - DSC_5417
  157. Stick insect (Phasmatodea) Buy this Photo
    An exaggerated wide angle perspective of a superbly camouflaged stick insect.

  158. Stick insects (Phasmatodea) - DSC_3549
  159. Stick insects (Phasmatodea) Buy this Photo
    A beautiful pair of mating stick insects!

  160. Stick insect (Phasmatodea) - DSC_3920
  161. Stick insect (Haaniella sp.) Buy this Photo
    A big fat stick, and it is just a nymph with undeveloped wings!

  162. Knob necked stick insect (Calvisia sp.?) - DSC_4535
  163. Knob necked stick insect (Calvisia sp.?) Buy this Photo
    One of the most colourful stick insects that I have ever seen!

  164. Lepidoptera - Butterflies, Moths


    Five bar swordtail (Graphium antiphates) - DSC_3654
  165. Five bar swordtail (Graphium antiphates) Buy this Photo
    I rarely shoot butterflies, but saw a sleeping five bar swordtail and couldn't resist!

  166. Fairy longhorn moth (Nemophora sp.) - DSC_4100
  167. Fairy longhorn moth (Nemophora sp.) Buy this Photo
    Found a beautiful cross-eyed fairy longhorn moth. We were afraid to spook it off and took quite a while to shoot it from a distance, before approaching closer.

  168. Diptera - Flies


    Robberfly (Asilidae) preying on Long-legged fly (Dolichopodidae) - DSC_5978
  169. Robberfly (Asilidae) preying on Long-legged fly (Dolichopodidae) Buy this Photo
    Found near the waterfall at Fraser's Hill.

  170. Mass mating crane flies (Tipulidae) - DSC_4016
  171. Mass mating crane flies (Tipulidae) Buy this Photo
    Usually ignored, but this scene actually consists of SEVEN pairs of mating crane flies. (or more?!)

  172. Other Insects and Worms


    Black armored cockroach (Catara rugosicollis) - DSC_2977
  173. Black armored cockroach (Catara rugosicollis) Buy this Photo
    The ones in Singapore gave off an odd scent when they felt threatened. Luckily this one didn't give off any scent.

  174. Flat-backed Millipede (Platyrhacidae) - DSC_4769
  175. Flat-backed Millipede (Platyrhacidae) Buy this Photo
    Wide angle view of a flat-backed millipede. Many thought it looked like the spine of some monster.

  176. Barklice (Psocoptera) - DSC_6073
  177. Barklice (Psocoptera) Buy this Photo
    A fresh batch of hatchlings under a leaf, really cute littel jellybeans!

  178. Dobsonfly (Corydalinae) - DSC_4459
  179. Dobsonfly (Corydalinae) Buy this Photo
    Back at the cabins, we found that a dobsonfly was still on the light trap! It didn't stay for long, but I was fortunate enough to get some shots.

  180. Tiger leeches (Hirudinea) - DSC_5179
  181. Tiger leeches (Hirudinea) Buy this Photo
    They found each other. One of us had over 10 leeches sucking blood off him in a night. Don't go after me please...

  182. Amphibia & Reptilia - Frogs, Lizards, Snakes


    Giant river toad (Phrynoidis juxtasper) - DSC_5020
  183. Giant river toad (Phrynoidis juxtasper) Buy this Photo
    Some of the toads by the river were huge, spanning 20cm in length.

  184. File-eared tree frog (Polypedates otilophus) - DSC_2807
  185. File-eared tree frog (Polypedates otilophus) Buy this Photo
    Just chilling. Tree frogs have some of the cutest poses on branches.

  186. Dragon snake (Xenodermus javanicus) - DSC_4489
  187. Dragon snake (Xenodermus javanicus) Buy this Photo
    On the way to our night trail, Tom spotted a very rare dragon snake.

  188. Harlequin flying frog (Rhacophorus pardalis) - DSC_4665
  189. Harlequin flying frog (Rhacophorus pardalis) Buy this Photo
    We had fun lighting it up like a bulb, with Kerry holding my torch behind the frog.

  190. Malayan horned frog (Megophrys nasuta) - DSC_6119
  191. Malayan horned frog (Megophrys nasuta) Buy this Photo
    A wide angle close up view of one of the most exotic looking frogs in this region.

  192. Gecko (Gekkota) - DSC_5671
  193. Gecko (Gekkota) Buy this Photo
    Somehow this gecko found Adam's hands. Didn't let him dislodge the gecko til everyone got shots!

  194. Siamese peninsula pit viper (Popeia fucata) - DSC_6679
  195. Siamese peninsula pit viper (Popeia fucata) Buy this Photo
    This pit viper was found above our heads while we were searching for spiders. It appeared almost ready to lunge towards us.

  196. Skink (Scincidae) - DSC_5736
  197. Skink (Scincidae) Buy this Photo
    A curious view with a little smile.

  198. Great anglehead lizard (Gonocephalus grandis) - DSC_5711
  199. Great anglehead lizard (Gonocephalus grandis) Buy this Photo
    A majestic great anglehead lizard sleeping on a branch at night, allowing everyone to take turns to shoot it.

If you've enjoyed this series, do check out my other 2015 roundups: If you have any questions, please post in the comments below or contact me at nicky@bay.to.


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