Indonesian Borneo

Borneo

Camp Tuanan, Central Kalimantan, Indonesia

Eudocima sp.

Eudocima sp.


October 2014 I embarked on an adventure like no other. I boarded a plane in Philadelphia, PA and landed in Borneo to head into the remote depths of peatland forest as a volunteer research assistant for the Rutgers University Primatology Lab.

I had the privilege of working with both foreign and domestic researchers and local assistants to find, follow, and collect data on orangutans that lived in the research forest. 

At a remote field station where there is limited electricity, food options, beverage options, and minimal connection to the outside world, it helps to have a hobby.

Of course as an entomologist, mine was to find, watch, and if possible photograph the little lives that leaped and flew and scurried around camp and the forest.

Indonesia consistently makes the lists as one of the most biodiverse places in the earth. I was prepared to come across some ridiculously awesome critters. The peat swamp forest of Central Kalimantan, Borneo did not disappoint! Here I present a collection of some of the entomological highlights. 
 


Food In The Forest

Common Bottle Blue Butterflies ( Graphium sarpedon ) suck up nutrients from moist soil. 

Common Bottle Blue Butterflies (Graphium sarpedon) suck up nutrients from moist soil. 

A bee gathers nutrients from the research camp laundry line.

A bee gathers nutrients from the research camp laundry line.

Is it an ant?

Is it an ant?

Those big shiny eyes reveal the true identity of this hungry predator...

An ant mimicking jumping spider ( Agorious sp.)  snacks on a freshly caught meal of springtail.

An ant mimicking jumping spider (Agorious sp.) snacks on a freshly caught meal of springtail.


Masters of Deception

Many walking stick insects [Phasmatodea] avoid being eaten through camouflaging as twigs that have lichen on them.



Walking stick insects [Phasmatodea] avoid
being eaten by avoiding being seen as a meal in the first place.

They will not only camouflage to look like dead leaves or branches but will often even have what looks like lichen or moss on their exoskeleton.




A walking stick insect [Phasmatodea] sits unmoving in the dark of night.

A walking stick insect [Phasmatodea] sits unmoving in the dark of night.
A female and male pair of long horned beetles are right at home on the lichenous bark of a dead tree.

A female and male pair of long horned beetles are right at home on the lichenous bark of a dead tree.

 

Prowling Predators

 

Raspy crickets [Gryllacrididae] take a different approach to protecting themselves. They puff themselves up into a threat display to present themselves as big and threatening.

 
Indicated by its spectacular coloration, it is likely that this katydid ( Scambophyllum sp. ) is predacious. 

Indicated by its spectacular coloration, it is likely that this katydid (Scambophyllum sp.) is predacious. 


Purple eyes, cyan and red palps?!
What an unusual combination.

 
To defend her home, the tarantula threatens intruders with her fearsome fangs.

To defend her home, the tarantula threatens intruders with her fearsome fangs.

 

Spiders are everywhere in a forest. Ranging from underground burrows to webs high up in the canopy.

The Long Horned Orb Weaver ( Macracantha arcuata)  builds webs at all heights

The Long Horned Orb Weaver (Macracantha arcuata) builds webs at all heights

20150319 Borneo betancourt red spider.jpeg

We conclude the gallery with the tail end of a trilobite beetle [Platerodrilus sp.] . The females of this unusual beetle group retain this juvenile form for their entire life.

We conclude the gallery with the tail end of a trilobite beetle [Platerodrilus sp.] . The females of this unusual beetle group retain this juvenile form for their entire life.