Sep 28, 2008

Platycerium - Pokok Tanduk Rusa - Gold Fish Tail Plant

This post showcases a Platycerium plant from the fern species in the Polypod family, locally known as "Pokok Tanduk Rusa" or Deer's Horn (or Staghorn Fern) plant. In addition, Chinese called this plant as 金鱼尾巴厂 or Gold Fish Tail Plant.

This special plant is an air-plant, i.e. it does grow on the ground and it the wild, it can only be found on top of high trees. It squat on tree but it's not a parasitic plant. The interesting thing about this Platycerium sporophytes (adult plants) is that it have tufted roots growing from a short rhizome that bears two types of fronds, basal and fertile fronds. Basal fronds are sterile, shield or kidney shaped and laminate against the tree and protect the fern's roots from damage and desiccation.

In some Platycerium species the top margin of these fronds forms an open crown of lobes and thereby catches falling forest litter and water. Fertile fronds bear spores on their undersurface, are dichotomous or antler shaped (deer's horn) and jut out or hang from the rhizome (gold fish tail).

Water droplets dangling on the Deer's Horn (pokok tanduk rusa) plant.

See the tail? Gold Fish Tail plant. From Deer's Horn is grow into Gold Fish Tail.

Fresh Deer's Horn off-shoot emerging from the plant cluster.

* Platycerium - Staghorn Fern

Staghorn Fern | Platycerium | Tanduk Rusa | Gold Fish Tail Plant

Sep 20, 2008

White Spider Lily - Hymenocallis Caroliniana

Hymenocallis means "beautiful membrane" which refers to the the corona that connects the stalks of the stamens for a portion of their length. This is a large spectacular flower that is exciting to find unexpectedly.

Similar Species: There are several species in other areas which may be distinguished by minor details, some by range. Shinners Spring Spiderlily, perhaps better known as Texan Spider Lily (Hymenocallis liriosme has a distinct yellow center). Alligator Lily (Hymenocallis palmeri) is found in southern Florida and has a yellow center. Crinum Lily has purplish/violet flower. Higanbana Lycoris radiata is the Red Spider Lily.

Photo of tropical White Spider Lily - Hymenocallis Caroliniana

Sep 18, 2008

Black Blister Beetle | Nemognatha Photo

Below are photos of tropical black blister beetle (Nemognatha), I think. On closer look, it purplish.

Boy, the subject of photo is a tough and mobile creature. It was extremely difficult to take close up shot when it just won't stop moving. For a macro shot, the subject must be still.

So what I did was to put it on a stick and let the beetle crawl from one end to the other. I positioned my lens at the end of the stick, hoping that the beetle will slow down to make a U-turn so that I can take the shot. Yup, the trick works.

Black beetle turning at a dead-end

It's Beetle Shit! Caught on camera. Zoom and see the things coming out from its end.

Actual size of the black purplish beetle. No bigger than my nail.

DID YOU KNOW: The photo above show a beetle crawling on my fingers. It's actually not. I pinched down it's legs using my left hand to keep it steady and my right for taking the shot.

For more hi-resolution tropical beetle, check out my Flickr Gallery Beetle

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Sep 15, 2008

Tropical Wild Mushroom, Fungi, Series 7

This is the 7th series on photos of tropical mushrooms (fungi).

The mushrooms grow on a burned log.

Life among the burned.

Fungi colony.

Close up shot.

Related topics:
* Tropical Wild Mushroom, Fungi, Series 1
* Tropical Wild Mushroom, Fungi, Series 2
* Tiny mushroom - Toad stool - Fungi, Series 3
* Tropical Wild Mushroom, Fungi, Series 4
* Tropical Wild Mushroom, Fungi, Series 5
* Tropical Wild Mushroom, Fungi, Series 6

* More pictures on Tropical Wild Mushroom - Gallery#1
* More pictures on Tropical Wild Mushroom - Gallery#2

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Sep 11, 2008

Common Huntsman Spider - Series #2

Below is a photo collection of tropical Malaysian Common Huntsman spiders (Heteropoda sp.). Huntsmen do not build webs but forage for food - mostly insects and other invertebrates.

The photos are of a female Huntsman with a pouch (egg sac) full of little offspring (tiny baby spiders huh).

#1. Spider offspring dashing out from their mother's pouch

#2. Spider offspring dashing out from their mother's pouch

#3. Notice the tiny little spider (almost colourless) dangling on it's mother leg

#4. Little spider scramble to spin some tiny web.

About Huntsman Spider

Huntsman spiders are large, long-legged spiders, measuring up to 15 cm across the legs. They are mostly grey to brown, sometimes with banded legs. Many huntsman spiders, especially Delena (the flattest), and including Isopeda, Isopedella and Holconia, have rather flattened bodies adapted for living in narrow spaces under loose bark or rock crevices. This is aided by their legs which, instead of bending vertically in relation to the body, have the joints twisted so that they spread out forwards and laterally in crab-like fashion ("giant crab spiders"). Both Brown (Heteropoda) and Badge (Neosparassus) Huntsman spiders have less flattened bodies.

In general, Huntsman spiders are not regarded as dangerous, and can be considered beneficial because they feed on insects .

Related Posts:
* Wasp spider of Borneo - Argiope bruennichi (added Nov 18, 2008)
* Tropical spider - Series #1

Related Links:
* Factsheets on Huntsman Spiders

SEO: Arthropoda - Arachnida - Spider families (Araneae)

Sep 3, 2008

Tropical Luminous Bug

Photo of a tiny tropical luminous beetle. Notice the glittering colour on the lower part of the beetle shell ?

Luminous beetle hiding under a leave.

Sep 2, 2008

Photo of Sematan Palm Beach Resort

These are photos of Palm Beach, Sematan about one and half hours drive from Kuching. Not the Palm Beach at Florida.

At the background are the Talang Talang Islands.

A shelter next to the Palm Beach Sematan.

Jetty near Sematan Bazaar Waterfront.

Zoom: Jetty near Sematan Bazaar Waterfront.

Kites flying at Sematan Palm Beach Resort.

About Sematan Bazaar

Sematan is an old seaside pasar (market) on a rivermouth harbour. Traders from the Malay Peninsula, the Straits and Kalimantan have been coming here for a long, long time. To this day, boats laden with merchandise round the corner of Borneo and fetch up at the jetty in Sematan.

The pasar has a number of sundry goods and coffee shops where seafood is high on the menu. Look any way you like and you’ll see the sea, or the darkling flank of Gunung Pueh protecting the village!

Gunung Pueh, with winding paths (smugglers’ paths perhaps?) through the forest, its rocks, streams and waterfalls, is one Sematan’s hidden attractions. So is a Selakau longhouse tucked into a quiet valley nearby.

And then – the South China sea!

The shallow waters make Sematan a safe swimming beach. But beware of Jelly Fish ! Marine turtles nest safely in the sanctuary of Talang-talang islets; some occasionally lay their eggs on the long white beaches, devoid of human footprints, that stretch from Sematan all the way to Tanjung Datus, the westernmost cape of Borneo. Fishermen put out daily, out into the blue deep around the islands scattered offshore. Life proceeds as it has, since time immemorial.

Wheeling Around

The mountain-biking confraternity has discovered Sematan in a big way. These light two-wheelers take their riders practically anywhere, up and down mountain paths, across small streams, along the firm sand just on the tide line; they can easily be loaded into a boat for crossing streams and rocky bays.

On water, there’s more than fishing boats these days. Snappy speedboats take visitors to cruise around the islands, or see the sights from Santubong to Tanjung Datus. Brightly coloured sea kayaks plough the waters, trying to pick up what gentle surf there is.

It is perfectly possible to drive from Kuching for a day of fun, sun and sea, and return in the evening. But it’s a lot better to stay overnight... or a few nights in a row. There are a few lodging houses in the area, even a “homestay village” at Telok Melanau, and a couple of small hotels in the district town of Lundu (90KM from Kuching). Beach resorts, ranging from very basic huts to well-constructed chalets, are springing up.

And then there’s the option of spending a night in a tent under the stars, though this might turn out a bit chaotic if a sudden squall shakes the canvas.

The bottom line: Choose the kind of transport you like and the standard of comfort you require, but don’t miss out on Sematan. It really is the end!

About Sematan Palm Beach Resort

Sematan Palm Beach Resort (SPBR), is based on chalet-type accommodation. Some are open-plan A-frames with upstairs and downstairs bedrooms, others quadruplex cottages. The Family Rooms consist of two linked rooms which sleep up to six persons... or more. Head counts tend to be liberal, and no big fuss is made over one or two extra persons per room.

The rooms are well built and functional, with air-cond, TV and clean water. But no telephone line. Furniture, fittings, draperies are of good quality; little attempt is made at fancy decorations. The main attraction in Palm Beach Resort is definitely the sea and the landscape — guests don’t sit in their rooms to contemplate faux ethnic curios stuck to the walls!

Sea air, especially when combined with some swimming, beach jogging and kayaking, stimulates healthy appetites. The steady stream of air from the sea make kite flying enjoyable. The restaurant offers home-cooked fare. Dinner and breakfast are included in the standard tariffs. Barbecue pits are available for in-house guests who may choose to manage on their own, or ask for help from the staff.

Palm Beach Resort is becoming the haunt of scuba divers from Kuching and further afield. Such trips have to be arranged beforehand; kayaks and mountain bikes can be rented by anyone game to try, though bikers and paddlers usually come in groups, ready for an exhausting weekend of sport and fun.

Palm Beach Resort also caters for meetings and social functions. It can accommodate up to 120 persons, and there’s never any problem with special requests like wedding cakes.

Sematan Palm Beach Resort,
Kg Sg Kilong, Jalan Seacom,
94100 Sematan, Sarawak.
Tel: 082-712 388/711 808,
Fax: 082-711788;

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