Journal Workshop

Borneo Bootcamp 2017 – Tawau Hills Park Day 3

18 July 2017

Borneo Bootcamp 2017 Daily Journal

Tawau Hills: Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4

Danum Valley: Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3

Tawau Hills Park Day 3: All Bugs Upsized

We experienced a bit of a slowdown due to the rain on day 2, but day 3 was filled with exceptional finds from giant beetles to lantern bugs to tarantulas and even spiders new to science!

  1. Morning crowd

    Day 3 started with a little smiley gathering in front of my cabin.

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  3. Rhinoceros beetle (Chalcosoma moellenkampi) ©2017 Pierre Escoubas

    The giant rhinoceros beetle was found attracted to our cabin lights the night before and we brought it back out. Pierre took this shot with his Nikon 300mm F/4 VR, handheld.

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  5. Time for ridiculous wide angle macro!

    I stacked 9 extension tubes and 2 Raynox close up filters with my Tamron 90mm, paired with a no-brand cctv lens. It naturally attracted a lot of attention. I no longer use this setup, but it was certainly memorable (for everyone else) each time I took it out. I will be writing a separate article on this setup soon — subscribe to the mailing list to be notified when it is published!

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  7. Close up on the rhino

    I used 4x Nikon SB-R200 mounted on the new FotoPro DMM-903s flash bracket to get sufficient light onto the subject. Thanks to Tom for this pic!

  8. Rhinoceros beetle (Chalcosoma moellenkampi) - DSC_7787ig
  9. Rhinoceros beetle (Chalcosoma moellenkampi)

    Here’s the result! Image quality isn’t great, but the unique bug’s-eye-view perspective more than made up for it!

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  11. Where the Pyrops sidereus used to hang out

    We searched some of the host trees for lantern bugs while gathering for a group photo.

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  13. Self Portrait Time!

    Everyone got distracted while waiting for the camera to be setup, so we started taking individual photos.

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  15. Wefie!

    And of course there were the countless wefies.

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  17. Test shot

    I wanted a group shot on the suspension bridge and did some test shots, but it took too long and we weren’t sure if the bridge could take our weight!

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  19. Traditional Group Photo

    Back to our traditional group photo! Emma went out for an early hike and missed this, but we dragged Jeff in while he was walking by.

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  21. Take your shot!

    Everyone turned to shoot in Dr. Hanyrol’s direction!

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  23. Outside Botanic Gardens

    We were back at the Botanic Gardens again, and we found Tom getting comfortable on the ground.

  24. Jumping spider (Parabathippus sp.) - DSC_7798
  25. Jumping spider (Parabathippus sp.)

    This is a common jumping spider in this area, characterised by the elongated chelicerae with inward dentition.

  26. Jumping spider (Bavia sp.) - DSC_7804
  27. Jumping spider (Bavia sp.)

    Probably a juvenile, but an interesting looking species!

  28. Ant-mimic jumping spider (Myrmarachne sp.) - DSC_7811
  29. Ant-mimic jumping spider (Myrmarachne sp.)

    We found lots of ant-mimic jumping spiders as well. I missed quite a lot and only took record shots of some of them.

  30. Mayfly (Ephemeroptera) - DSC_7823
  31. Mayfly (Ephemeroptera)

    I used to document many of the mayflies in the area, but only took some record shots this time round.

  32. Ant-mimic caterpillar (Homodes sp.) - DSC_7830
  33. Ant-mimic caterpillar (Homodes sp.)

    We found this lovely ant-mimic caterpillar just next to the trail. The appendages may look like ant legs from afar.

  34. Ant-mimic caterpillar (Homodes sp.) - DSC_7842
  35. Ant-mimic caterpillar (Homodes sp.)

    View of its head with its multiple pseudo-legs.

  36. Jumping spider (Ligurra sp.) - DSC_7846
  37. Jumping spider (cf. Ligurra sp.)

    I had originally placed this jumping spider wrongly under Simaetha in earlier posts.

  38. Jumping spider (Ligurra sp.) - DSC_7854
  39. Jumping spider (Ligurra sp.)

    View of its face!

  40. Flat-backed millipede (Polydesmida) - MOV_5537
  41. Flat-backed millipede (Polydesmida)

    We found this brilliant red flat-backed millipede crawling about on the ground. The leg movements were mesmerising!

  42. Flat-backed millipede (Polydesmida) - DSC_7879
  43. Flat-backed millipede (Polydesmida)

    Close up on the millipede. Such vibrant colours!

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  45. Shooting the flat-backed millipedes (Polydesmida)

    The millipede crawled up a dead tree where we spotted another millipede, but it was completely white.

  46. White flat-backed millipede (Polydesmida) - DSC_7884
  47. White flat-backed millipede (Polydesmida)

    White millipede?? At first, we thought that it was just a discarded moult…

  48. Flat-backed millipede (Polydesmida) - nicky-MOV_5542
  49. White flat-backed millipede (Polydesmida)

    Then it started to crawl around!

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  51. Shooting the flat-backed millipede

    We spent quite a lot of time with this pair of millipedes.

  52. Jumping spider (Epeus sp.) - DSC_7892
  53. Jumping spider (Epeus sp.)

    This Epeus is probably the most common salticid in the region!

  54. Jumping spider (Epeus sp.) - DSC_7889
  55. Jumping spider (Epeus sp.)

    This is a female. The male would have a “mohawk hairstyle”.

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  57. Dr. Come-to-Brunei-Hanyrol

    Absolutely no idea what she was shooting. Anyone has any clue??

  58. Boxer mantis nymph (Mantodea) - DSC_7917
  59. Boxer mantis nymph (Mantodea)

    Further down the path, there were screams of excitement when this tiny boxer mantis nymph was spotted.

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  61. Dori shooting the boxer mantis

    We called many participants who were way in front to come back and photograph this little beauty.

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  63. Plucking leeches

    Casually plucking ants and leeches off Minsheng’s back. Common stuff for him. 😉

  64. Fish-hook ant (Polyrhachis sp.) - DSC_7932
  65. Fish-hook ant (Polyrhachis sp.)

    The fish hook ant plunged its head into Minsheng’s back. Why??

  66. Planthopper nymph (Fulgoroidea) - DSC_7935
  67. Planthopper nymph (Fulgoroidea)

    Leaf-footed planthopper nymph, wonder what the adult looks like?

  68. Trashline orb weaver (Cyclosa sp.) - DSC_7944
  69. Trashline orb weaver (Cyclosa sp.)

    Trashline orb weaver at the tip of its trashline. This orb weaver decorates its web with a line of debris, and sits camouflaged within the line of debris.

  70. Big-jawed spider (Mesida sp.) - DSC_7954
  71. Big-jawed spider (Mesida sp.)

    Looks like a juvenile Mesida, with two dark posterior spots on its abdomen.

  72. Feather-legged spider (Hyptiotes sp.) - DSC_7960
  73. Feather-legged spider (Hyptiotes sp.)

    Inconspicuous looking tiny spider, but this genus of uloborids have little to no records in the oriental region.

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  75. Weevil (Curculionidae) ©2017 Pierre Escoubas

    Pierre took a lovely shot of this weevil.

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  77. Dr Waiting

    Hanyrol was often ahead of us in the trails. Here’s her waiting for us to catch up.

  78. Spiny orb weaver (Gasteracantha sp.) - DSC_7981
  79. Spiny orb weaver (Gasteracantha sp.)

    Possibly a sub-male Gasteracantha. Spiders in this genus are sexually dimorphic, and it is very difficult to identify the male without locating it together with the female.

  80. Barklice (Psocoptera) - DSC_7986
  81. Barklice (Psocoptera)

    Some colourful barklice were gathered on a tree trunk.

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  83. Messy queue

    Gathering around Chris to wait for our turns.

  84. Giant shield bug (Pygoplatys sp.) - DSC_7991
  85. Giant shield bug (Pygoplatys sp.)

    On our way out, we found a giant shield bug in its final moments of moulting. For more giant shield bugs, check out Pentatomoidea Checklist: Shield Bugs & Stink Bugs.

  86. Giant shield bug (Pygoplatys sp.) - DSC_7995
  87. Giant shield bug (Pygoplatys sp.)

    Excellent subject for back-lighting to create an x-ray effect.

  88. Giant shield bug (Pygoplatys sp.) - DSC_8002
  89. Giant shield bug (Pygoplatys sp.)

    Within a few minutes, the giant shield bug had emerged completely from its shedded skin.

  90. Lantern bug (Pyrops whiteheadi) - DSC_8017
  91. Lantern bug (Pyrops whiteheadi)

    Final subject before leaving the botanic gardens for lunch! Had some time and took out my custom cctv setup to create an exaggerated perspective of this lantern bug! Thanks to Chris for holding my flash for me. Again, I will be writing a separate article on this setup soon — subscribe to the mailing list to be notified when it is published! For more lantern bugs, check out Fulgoridae Checklist: Lantern Bugs.

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  93. Lunch Time

    Lunch was fantastic. They even had papadums! Hanyrol doing some ballet dance behind?

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  95. Lunch Dishes

    Really enjoyed the food this year. No complaints at all!

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  97. Post-Processing Techniques

    It started to rain in the afternoon, so the night lesson was pushed forward. Not such a great idea as the rain hitting on the roofs drowned my voice out! We covered basic exposure masking and stacking techniques, which are what I use over 90% of the time.

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  99. Backlighting and UV Photography

    The second segment of the lessons for day 3 covered advanced techniques including backlighting and ultraviolet photography.

  100. Dead leaf grasshopper (Caelifera) - DSC_8024_uv
  101. Dead leaf grasshopper (Caelifera)

    While waiting for the rain to stop, we had lots of time with some subjects around the cabins to practise with and did some demonstrations for ultraviolet photography.

  102. Giant shield bug nymph (Tessaratomidae) - DSC_8030
  103. Giant shield bug nymph (Tessaratomidae)

    I also had the opportunity to demonstrate back-lighting with this giant shield bug nymph.

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  105. Dinner Time

    Everyone had a good rest and the rain seemed to have stopped!

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  107. Cicada

    Well, this cicada was asking to be photographed!

  108. Butterfly - DSC_8045
  109. Butterfly

    As we trooped out, this butterfly was puddling in front of the cabins.

  110. Darkling beetle (Plamius pici) - DSC_8047
  111. Darkling beetle (Plamius pici)

    There was still a light drizzle, but we crossed the suspension bridge and found this stunning tenebrionid. There have been very few known records of this species in the world, so I’m really glad that we had a chance to document it! For more darkling beetles, check out Tenebrionidae Checklist: Darkling Beetles.

  112. Darkling beetle (Plamius pici) - DSC_8063
  113. Darkling beetle (Plamius pici)

    Anterior view. I also taught the participants some techniques to ensure that the entire beetle elytra is lighted up for such angles.

  114. Comb-footed spider (Theridiidae) - DSC_8065
  115. Comb-footed spider (Theridiidae)

    I found this little come-footed spider in the foliage — probably a Nihonhimea?

  116. Comb-footed spider (Theridiidae) - DSC_8079
  117. Comb-footed spider (Theridiidae)

    Typical eye arrangement of Theridiidae.

  118. Huntsman spider (Heteropoda sp.) - DSC_8082
  119. Huntsman spider (Heteropoda sp.)

    One of the many huntsman spiders in the leaf litter.

  120. Wasp infected by cordyceps fungus - DSC_8083
  121. Wasp infected by cordyceps fungus

    This wasp was infected by cordyceps fungus which had already grown out of its body. You can probably tell that it was wet everywhere!

  122. Big-jawed spider (Tetragnathidae) - DSC_8110
  123. Big-jawed spider (Tetragnathidae)

    I also found this little tetragnathid with a “王” character on its abdomen. Most of the others were not interested in these spiders though. 😛

  124. minsheng-P7180553
  125. Mock Viper ©2017 Khoo Min Sheng

    I didn’t get to see this, but quite a few participants managed to get some good shots of this mock viper.

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  127. Paul shooting a snake

    Which snake was this? The mock viper?

  128. Huntsman spider (Heteropoda sp.) - DSC_8135
  129. Huntsman spider (Heteropoda sp.)

    There were also several huntsman spiders in the foliage. This one appears to have regrown legs 3 and 4.

  130. Tarantula (Theraphosidae) - DSC_8174
  131. Tarantula (Theraphosidae)

    One of the most memorable finds of the night was this arboreal tarantula with a dull shade of blue and orange hairs. It did not have a burrow, but lined silk beneath bits of crawler plants.

  132. Tarantula (Theraphosidae) - DSC_8146
  133. Tarantula (Theraphosidae)

    Closer view of the tarantula.

  134. Tarantula (Theraphosidae) - DSC_8242
  135. Tarantula (Theraphosidae)

    Its long hairs made this tarantula an excellent subject for back-lighting.

  136. Spiny orb weaver (Gasteracantha sp.) - DSC_8148
  137. Spiny orb weaver (Gasteracantha sp.)

    Dori spotted this spiny orb weaver on the same tree as the tarantula.

  138. Wandering spider (Ctenus sp.) - DSC_8160
  139. Wandering spider (Ctenus sp.)

    Also on the same tree was this wandering spider, just 30cm away from the tarantula’s home.

  140. Wandering spider (Ctenus sp.) - DSC_8170
  141. Wandering spider (Ctenus sp.)

    Close up on her face.

  142. Trashline orb weaver (Cyclosa sp.) - DSC_8163
  143. Trashline orb weaver (Cyclosa sp.)

    We have not left the tree. 😛 This was found on the other side of the same tree!

  144. Planthopper eggs (Fulgoridae?) - DSC_8167
  145. Planthopper eggs (Fulgoridae?)

    Higher up on the tree, we found some interesting looking eggs which probably belong to the Fulgoridae family.

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  147. Favorite tree

    No surprise that many of us were huddled around the same few trees!

  148. Tarantula (Theraphosidae) - DSC_8207
  149. Tarantula (Theraphosidae)

    We moved to another tree just a few meters away and another tarantula was spotted and preying on a caterpillar.

  150. Huntsman spider (Heteropoda sp.) - DSC_8205
  151. Huntsman spider (Heteropoda sp.)

    This tree was full of life as well, with this tiny horned Heteropoda which I’ve seen a couple of times before in Tawau. I later found that this species could very well be new to science.

  152. Huntsman spider (Heteropoda sp.) - DSC_8217
  153. Huntsman spider (Heteropoda sp.)

    It was busy capturing prey and wasn’t really bothered when I went in for the close-up.

  154. Lace sheet spider (Psechrus sp.) - DSC_8223
  155. Lace sheet spider (Psechrus sp.)

    Yes, still at tree number 2. =D It had an obvious lace-sheet web around the tree trunk.

  156. Lace sheet spider (Psechrus sp.) - DSC_8392
  157. Lace sheet spider (Psechrus sp.)

    Wider view of the lace sheet web.

  158. Moth - DSC_8254
  159. Moth

    Beautiful moth, forgot who found this though!

  160. Moss mantis (Haania sp.) - DSC_8277
  161. Moss mantis (Haania sp.)

    We moved to another tree just a few meters away from the first two trees, and Emma spotted this moss mantis!

  162. Moss mantis (Haania sp.) - DSC_8272
  163. Moss mantis (Haania sp.)

    Lateral view shows the jagged outline of the mantis, making it extremely cryptic and difficult to spot.

  164. Mayfly (Ephemeroptera) - DSC_8315
  165. Mayfly (Ephemeroptera)

    There were several mayflies next to the stream.

  166. Jumping spider (Salticidae) - DSC_8320
  167. Jumping spider (Salticidae)

    I’m really poor at identifying salticids but here it is anyway! 🙂

  168. Ant-like sac spider (Medmassa sp.) - DSC_8322
  169. Ant-like sac spider (Medmassa sp.)

    This corinnid builds sacs on tree trunks where it hides under. The sacs are typically highly camouflaged and almost impossible to detect until you see the spider running into the sac.

  170. Bagworm moth larva (Psychidae) - DSC_8332
  171. Bagworm moth larva (Psychidae)

    Interestingly, we also found bagworms in this area with a little log cabin. To find out more about these micro-architects, check out 5 Mysterious Structures from the World’s Smallest Architects.

  172. Planthopper nymph (Flatidae) - DSC_8339
  173. Planthopper nymph (Flatidae)

    Chris was busy shooting this handsome flatid nymph.

  174. Planthopper nymph (Flatidae) - DSC_8348
  175. Planthopper nymph (Flatidae)

    There’s something alluring about these fluffy legs!

  176. Huntsman spider (Sinopoda sp.) - DSC_8354
  177. Huntsman spider (Sinopoda sp.)

    Finally a new genus to my photo collection, and a mature female carrying an egg sac!

  178. Huntsman spider (Sinopoda sp.) - DSC_8360
  179. Huntsman spider (Sinopoda sp.)

    Sinopoda is almost impossible to differentiate from Heteropoda from photos alone…

  180. Moss mantis (Haania sp.) - DSC_8378
  181. Moss mantis (Haania sp.)

    I couldn’t resist, and returned to take more shots of the moss mantis. 🙂

  182. Moss mantis (Haania sp.) - DSC_8387
  183. Moss mantis (Haania sp.)

    Such beautiful camouflage!

  184. Nursery web spider (Pisauridae) - DSC_8395
  185. Nursery web spider (Pisauridae)

    This male pisaurid was spotted in the foliage and missing a few legs. Possibly a Sphedanus.

  186. amber-File-1-8-17,-15-06-24
  187. Amber at work

    Amber found many subjects and shared all her finds graciously with all of us.

  188. Jumping spider (Brettus sp.) - DSC_8415
  189. Jumping spider (Brettus sp.)

    Here’s one of the most significant finds of the night by Amber — a Brettus that’s new to science!

  190. Jumping spider (Brettus sp.) - DSC_8419
  191. Jumping spider (Brettus sp.)

    Typical eye arrangement of Brettus.

  192. Jumping spider (Brettus sp.) - DSC_8432
  193. Jumping spider (Brettus sp.)

    Also characteristic to this genus are the hair fringes on legs I and II.

  194. Pseudoscorpion capturing giant shield bug (Tessaratomidae) - DSC_8442
  195. Pseudoscorpion capturing giant shield bug (Tessaratomidae)

    On our way back, we saw this giant shield bug nymph that got caught by a pseudoscorpion hiding in the crevice. Unfortunately I could not get a good shot with the pincers but you can still see a hint of the pincer in this photo. Looks like this pseudoscorpion had also dragged an ant in as well!

  196. amber-File-1-8-17,-15-03-31
  197. Pierre’s mothies

    As we approached our cabins, Pierre picked up a pair of beautiful moths!

  198. Moth wing - DSC_8444
  199. Moth wing

    Final close-up of the night of one of the moths. 🙂

Day 3 Concluded!

It was another wet day, but we had a fruitful morning and with the rain stopping after dinner, it was a perfect macro adventure with many crazy finds!

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Borneo Bootcamp 2017 Daily Journal

Tawau Hills: Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4

Danum Valley: Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3




Hi my name is Nicky Bay. I am a macro photographer, instructor and book author, travelling the world to document the vast micro biodiversity that nature has to offer. Follow my updates and discover with me the incredible beauty and science behind our planet's micro creatures!

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