Journal Workshop

Borneo Bootcamp 2017 – Tawau Hills Park Day 4

19 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

Day 4: World’s (Once) Tallest Tropical Tree

On our last day in Tawau, we made our pilgrimage up to the world’s (once) tallest tropical tree. Well, it was still the world’s tallest until 2016 when researchers found several taller trees in Maliau Basin and Danum Valley.

  1. Good morning!

    This is my cabin, where I store all logistical items for the bootcamp. It is also where our beer is stashed in.

  2. Borneo Bootcamp 2017 - DSC_8469
  3. Borneo Bootcamp 2017

    Group photo with our favorite rhinoceros beetle first thing in the morning!

  4. Rhinoceros beetle (Chalcosoma moellenkampi) - DSC_8470
  5. Rhinoceros beetle (Chalcosoma moellenkampi)

    Asked everyone to pose like the rhinoceros beetle.

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  7. Rhinoceros beetle (Chalcosoma moellenkampi)

    Frog lady getting caught between the rhino’s horns.

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  9. Posing with the rhinoceros beetle

    Since it was the last day here, everyone took turns to pose with the beetle.

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  11. Still posing with the rhinoceros beetle

    Trying all the cute poses.

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  13. Towards the tallest tree!

    We started our hike up towards the tallest tree after breakfast.

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  15. Crabs? Where are you?

    Paul probably thinking of the crabs hiding in the stream below.

  16. Social big-jawed spider (Tetragnathidae) - DSC_8482
  17. Social big-jawed spider (Tetragnathidae)

    I have been documenting these “social” tetragnathids since 2015. It could be Orsinome cavernicola but the ID has yet to be confirmed.

  18. Social big-jawed spider (Tetragnathidae) - DSC_8477
  19. Social big-jawed spider (Tetragnathidae)

    Close up reveals the unique stabilimentum which looked like fireworks when out of focus.

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  21. Social big-jawed spider (Tetragnathidae)

    Trying to get our flash and diffusers in to shoot the webs. We carefully placed a light inside to highlight the silk!

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  23. Strangler fig

    Our usual pitstop at the strangler figs.

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  25. Strangler fig

    Paul and Pierre’s first visit here so we had a little chat about it while catching our breaths.

  26. Orb weaver spider (Eriovixia sp.) - DSC_8504
  27. Orb weaver spider (Eriovixia sp.)

    We didn’t take much macro photos on the way up, except for a few occasional sightings like this Eriovixia munching on her meal.

  28. Tiger beetle (Cylindera sp.) - DSC_8510
  29. Tiger beetle (Cylindera sp.)

    The tiger beetles here are beautiful! For more tiger beetles, check out Cicindelinae Checklist: Tiger Beetles.

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  31. Finally reached!

    First casualty. She actually reached before most of us and got tired of waiting for us. 😛

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  33. Amber and Pierre

    Still looking fresh!

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  35. Got Shot by Dr Hanyrol

    Goofing around. Perfect example of bad acting after I got a splot of blood on my shirt.

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  37. Leech Bite

    Well I got tagged, and it was a pretty big patch.

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  39. Laowa 12mm F/2.8

    World’s widest F/2.8 full frame lens used for our group photo with the tallest tree. Read my review here.

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  41. World’s tallest tropical tree (Shorea faguetiana)

    Customary for bootcamp participants to take a group photo here and then start the macro shooting during the descent.

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  43. World’s tallest tropical tree (Shorea faguetiana)

    Yep, looks tall alright!

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  45. Viewing gallery ©2017 Hanyrol H. Ahmad Sah

    This was the viewing gallery where hikers could take a break while staring at the tree.

  46. Velvet-ant-mimic checkered beetle (Tillicera sp.) - DSC_8522
  47. Velvet-ant-mimic checkered beetle (Tillicera sp.)

    We thought we saw some velvet ants, but they turned out to be checkered beetles which look amazingly similar to the cow-killers.

  48. Velvet-ant-mimic checkered beetle (Tillicera sp.) - DSC_8534
  49. Velvet-ant-mimic checkered beetle (Tillicera sp.)

    Lateral view of the awesome mimic.

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  51. Sampling for spiders

    Minsheng sampling the area for spiders using the “umbrella method”.

  52. Stick insect ootheca (Korinninae) - DSC_8565
  53. Stick insect ootheca (Korinninae)

    We found some interesting looking ootheca which appear to belong to stick insects. Not particularly exciting for those who suffer from Trypophobia.

  54. Stick insect ootheca (Korinninae) - DSC_8587
  55. Stick insect ootheca (Korinninae)

    Another interesting ootheca!

  56. Harvestman (Laniatores) - DSC_8590
  57. Harvestman (Laniatores)

    There were many of these spiny harvestmen and we found this that stood still enough for us.

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  59. Portable air-con

    I had a portable air-con. It made everyone envious in the tropical heat.

  60. Big-jawed spider (Leucauge sp.) - DSC_8603
  61. Big-jawed spider (Leucauge sp.)

    I pointed out this Leucauge to Chris and Pierre to practise back-lighting on.

  62. Big-jawed spider (Leucauge sp.) - DSC_8616b
  63. Big-jawed spider (Leucauge sp.)

    Pretty happy with the result that highlighted the trichobothria! This picture is going to be on the back-cover of Borneo Spiders: A Photographic Field Guide.

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  65. Flat-backed millipede (Polydesmida)

    Don showing us a flat-backed millipede that he was photographing.

  66. Comb-footed spider (Nihonhimea sp.) - DSC_8628
  67. Comb-footed spider (Nihonhimea sp.)

    These comb-footed spiders build large cob webs with a dried leaf in the middle of its web.

  68. Firefly beetles (Lampyridae) - DSC_8637
  69. Firefly beetles (Lampyridae)

    Found a porn scene on the way down the trail! Would have looked more exciting at night with the blinking abdomens I guess.

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  71. Pierre in action

    After the climb, most of us were happy to stand around while waiting to shoot.

  72. Barklouse (Psocoptera) - DSC_8669
  73. Barklouse (Psocoptera)

    This is a very interesting barklouse that looks as if it has a moustache.

  74. Barklouse (Psocoptera) - DSC_8674
  75. Barklouse (Psocoptera)

    The wings are also shiny and opaque, which leads us to wonder if they are sclerotised?

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  77. Queuing up

    Yep we queue up to take photos while taking a break and chatting behind.

  78. Spiny comb-footed spider (Phoroncidia sp.) - DSC_8690
  79. Spiny comb-footed spider (Phoroncidia sp.)

    Found a beautiful female Phoroncidia before heading back to lunch!

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  81. Lunch with Coconuts!

    Refreshingly cold coconuts with lunch!

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  83. Appetising Lunch

    This leech must’ve followed someone to our lunch table. Was it Amber?

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  85. Mushrooms (Fungi) ©2017 Hanyrol H. Ahmad Sah

    Hanyrol was trying out some back-lighting techniques on these fungi.

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  87. Mushrooms (Fungi) ©2017 Hanyrol H. Ahmad Sah

    This turned out particularly well!

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  89. Scenery shots

    The afternoon was spent exploring across the bridge and taking pictures of the park.

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  91. Tawau fresh water crab (Thelphusula tawauensis) ©2017 Paul Ng

    Paul was feverishly trying to find freshwater crabs in this trip and wasn’t disappointed.

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  93. Paul’s Leech Bites

    Of course, they came at a tiny price. Not stopping crab boy from jumping into the streams again!

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  95. Next to the aviary

    Been here several times, but the aviary was never open.

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  97. Dragon snake (Xenodermus javanicus) ©2017 Hanyrol H. Ahmad Sah

    Hanyrol’s wide angle shot of the dragon snake!

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  99. Dragon snake (Xenodermus javanicus) ©2017 Hanyrol H. Ahmad Sah

    My turn to struggle with the silly cctv setup.

  100. Dragon snake (Xenodermus javanicus) - DSC_8721
  101. Dragon snake (Xenodermus javanicus)

    My quirky fisheye attempt on the dragon snake.

  102. minsheng-DSC_2921
  103. Lighting assistant

    Everything looked black through the view-finder, so Hanyrol tried to add some light to the scene.

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  105. Dragon snake (Xenodermus javanicus) ©2017 Paul Ng

    Paul had a unique take on the beautiful snake, opting to light up from the sides to highlight the dragon-like scales.

  106. Whip scorpion (Thelyphonida) - DSC_8819
  107. Whip scorpion (Thelyphonida)

    Amber found this tiny little whip scorpion on the tree trunk.

  108. Resin? - DSC_8824
  109. Resin?

    Odd looking stuff on a tree. Some kind of resin?

  110. Nursery web spider (Dendrolycosa sp.) - DSC_8828
  111. Nursery web spider (Dendrolycosa sp.)

    Amber also found this Dendrolycosa clutching onto her egg sac.

  112. Nursery web spider (Dendrolycosa sp.) - DSC_8845
  113. Nursery web spider (Dendrolycosa sp.)

    Close up on the mother’s eyes!

  114. Jumping spider (Salticidae) - DSC_8858
  115. Jumping spider (Salticidae)

    While hunting for the elusive Zanna lanternbug, I found this large salticid.

  116. Jumping spider (Salticidae) - DSC_8864
  117. Jumping spider (Salticidae)

    Very tame fella!

  118. Lynx spider (Hamataliwa sp.) - DSC_8894
  119. Lynx spider (Hamataliwa sp.)

    There was also this super tiny male lynx spider.

  120. Lynx spider (Hamataliwa sp.) - DSC_8896
  121. Lynx spider (Hamataliwa sp.)

    Intriguing eye-lash tufts!

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  123. Amber

    Amber was happy to share many subjects with the rest of us.

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  125. Getting ready for photo-sharing

    On our final evening in Tawau, all participants shared about some of their favorite photos taken during the bootcamp.

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  127. Photo sharing session

    We also had a chance to see what subjects that we might have missed out.

  128. Planthopper nymph (Fulgoroidea) - DSC_8900
  129. Planthopper nymph (Fulgoroidea)

    We ventured into the botanic gardens for our last night in Tawau. Would have wanted to visit on every night but the rain stopped us. This planthopper nymph had the typical waxy tails.

  130. Katydid (Tettigoniidae) - DSC_8908
  131. Katydid (Tettigoniidae)

    A huge katydid which appeared black to the naked eye, but showed hues of blue.

  132. Katydid (Tettigoniidae) - DSC_8909
  133. Katydid (Tettigoniidae)

    Getting closer!

  134. Big Katydid
  135. Big Katydid ©2017 Tom Astle

    Tom had a wider shot of it in a better pose!

  136. Harvestman (Opiliones) - DSC_8915b
  137. Harvestman (Opiliones)

    There were lots of harvestmen scampering around. This had a forked spike.

  138. Huntsman spider (Pandercetes sp.) - DSC_8933
  139. Huntsman spider (Pandercetes sp.)

    Very common Pandercetes on a tree trunk.

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  141. Planthopper (Fulgoridae) ©2017 Paul Ng

    Paul found this cleverly camouflaged planthopper hiding within the lichen.

  142. Stick insect with mites (Phasmatodea) - DSC_8939
  143. Stick insect with mites (Phasmatodea)

    We saw many stick insects, but the sizes varied so much that it was difficult to keep the entire body within a single frame.

  144. Stick insect with mites (Phasmatodea) - DSC_8936
  145. Stick insect with mites (Phasmatodea)

    Looking up close to the bunch of mites on the stick insect.

  146. Comb-footed spider (Theridion sp.) - DSC_8955
  147. Comb-footed spider (Theridion sp.)

    Brilliantly coloured Theridion guarding her egg sac. It’s abdomen has a clown face when viewed from behind.

  148. Froghopper (Cercopidae) - DSC_8960
  149. Froghopper (Cercopidae)

    This beautiful froghopper was hiding within some loose bark.

  150. Giraffe big-jawed spider (Dolichognatha sp.) - DSC_8964
  151. Giraffe big-jawed spider (Dolichognatha sp.)

    One of my biggest regrets on this trip was losing this giraffe spider. Although out of focus, you could probably see the ridiculously long chelicerae and elongated cephalothorax. Bizarre, but not as bizarre as the assassin spiders from Madagascar which I will be chasing after in 2018.

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  153. Darkling beetle (Tenebrionidae) ©2017 Pierre Escoubas

    One of the “oil-spill” darkling beetles found on tree trunks.

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  155. Tom in action

    Not sure what Tom was shooting?

  156. Resting Cryptic Moth
  157. Resting Cryptic Moth ©2017 Tom Astle

    Tom found this cryptic moth resting on the leaf litter.

  158. Mossy stick insect (Phasmatodea) - DSC_8969
  159. Mossy stick insect (Phasmatodea)

    This sexy moss stick insect was found near to the botanic garden entrance.

  160. Mossy stick insect (Phasmatodea) - DSC_8972
  161. Mossy stick insect (Phasmatodea)

    Lateral view. Highly cryptic creature!

  162. Mossy stick insect (Phasmatodea) - DSC_8976
  163. Mossy stick insect (Phasmatodea)

    Close up on its head reveals a tiny mite.

  164. Mossy stick insect (Phasmatodea) - DSC_8987
  165. Mossy stick insect (Phasmatodea)

    Lateral view of its head.

  166. Mossy stick insect (Phasmatodea) - DSC_9012
  167. Mossy stick insect (Phasmatodea)

    I stabalised the leaf that the stick insect was on so that everyone could attempt some UV shots of it. The fluorescence was brilliant!

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  169. Sac spider (Clubionidae) ©2017 Pierre Escoubas

    Great back-lighting attempt by Pierre!

  170. Lizard beetle (Languriidae) - DSC_8993
  171. Lizard beetle (Languriidae)

    Difficult to light evenly due to the reflective surface, but we found ways to have the entire body lighted up.

  172. Horned blue darkling beetle (Toxicum sp.) - DSC_9037
  173. Horned blue darkling beetle (Toxicum sp.)

    The participants found this wonderful blue darkling beetle with two horns!

  174. Horned blue darkling beetle (Toxicum sp.) - DSC_9027
  175. Horned blue darkling beetle (Toxicum sp.)

    View of the horns. Dori had a shot of this in preflight and with back-lighting, but I have not gotten to see it yet. I could still remember the screams when she took the shot.

  176. Wasp With Spider Prey
  177. Wasp With Spider Prey ©2017 Tom Astle

    Tom found this fantastic scene of a spider wasp preparing to dismember a spider. The spider appears to be a sub-male Talthybia.

  178. Orb weaver spider (Eriovixia sp.) - DSC_9040
  179. Orb weaver spider (Eriovixia sp.)

    These orb weavers are highly polymorphic. I’ve rarely gotten them identified to species with certainty.

  180. Comb-footed spider (Meotipa sp.) - DSC_9053
  181. Comb-footed spider (Meotipa sp.)

    Tiny little comb-footed spider with “knobs” on its abdomen.

  182. Upstairs Downstairs
  183. Upstairs Downstairs ©2017 Tom Astle

    Two very interesting cockroaches in a single frame!

  184. Giant shield bug (Pygoplatys lunatus) - DSC_9066
  185. Giant shield bug (Pygoplatys lunatus)

    One of the many giant shield bugs from this trip. For more giant shield bugs, check out Pentatomoidea Checklist: Shield Bugs & Stink Bugs.

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  187. Darkling beetle (Tenebrionidae) ©2017 Pierre Escoubas

    Another darkling beetle by Pierre. This one has a bronze-like appearance.

  188. Big-jawed spider (Leucauge sp.) - DSC_9072
  189. Big-jawed spider (Leucauge sp.)

    This stunning Leucauge was found high above our heads.

  190. Wrap-around orb weaver (Talthybia sp.) - DSC_9104
  191. Wrap-around orb weaver (Talthybia sp.)

    Also high above our heads was this wrap-around spider. Most others did not recognise it when it was on its web.

  192. Scorpion-tailed spider (Arachnura sp.) - DSC_9108
  193. Scorpion-tailed spider (Arachnura sp.)

    The scorpion-tailed spider was still at the same location.

  194. Blue-Eyed Stick Insect Portrait
  195. Blue-Eyed Stick Insect Portrait ©2017 Tom Astle

    Tom spotted this delicate little stick insect with blue eyes!

  196. Longhorn beetle (Euthyastus binotatus) - DSC_9111
  197. Longhorn beetle (Euthyastus binotatus)

    Dull looking longhorn beetle, but still worth documenting. For more longhorn beetles, check out Cerambycidae Checklist: Longhorn Beetles.

  198. Comb-footed spider (Meotipa sp.) - DSC_9122
  199. Comb-footed spider (Meotipa sp.)

    Close up of another Meotipa.

  200. pierre-22290042_2062509237312946_4778554624943750385_o
  201. Stick insect (Phasmatodea) ©2017 Pierre Escoubas

    Many participants got super excited with the large spiny stick insects around.

  202. tom-20819023_10203458327375355_3942145556139706410_o
  203. Brush-footed trapdoor spider (Barychelidae) ©2017 Tom Astle

    An excellent find! Not too easy to see these mygalomorphs roaming around outside its burrow.

  204. Crab spider (Epidius sp.) - DSC_9125
  205. Crab spider (Epidius sp.)

    Again, the crab spider that is new to science. First time seeing one with her egg sac! This was the last subject in the botanic gardens before we were chased out and the rain started pouring in again.

Tawau Segment Concluded!

Day 4 in Tawau was definitely eventful, despite spending bulk of the morning hiking uphill. Most participants were particularly excited with the finds at night in the botanic gardens, so it was a pity that we could not spend more nights in there. Nevertheless, we were all looking forward to the next few days in Danum Valley!

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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