Readers’ wildlife photos

The last photos we had from Aussie reader Tony Eales were spiders he snapped on a trip to Borneo. But wait—there’s more! Here are some other arthropods from the same trip. Tony’s notes are indented:

Continuing the Borneo photos. This time:  Hymenoptera.

Really the only annoying thing at the field centre was the constant harassment by bees. I sweat, I sweat a lot, and this made me very attractive to the bees. And on the first couple of days I made the mistake of putting electrolyte tablets in my water just for flavour. This meant I was the most popular person out of everyone with the bees. I couldn’t sit still outside for more than five minutes without being covered in bees. And Asian Honeybees (Apis cerana) here aren’t small. Several of us got stung at one point or another as the floors were littered with dying bees and our clothes left out to dry were covered in bees. They weren’t aggressive, but it was hard to move without trapping them in some fold of clothing.

There were also about half a dozen different species of stingless bees (tribe Meliponines) They were small and cute and… you know…stingless. Far easier to deal with.

JAC: Aren’t they cute? And harmless!

While I was exuding electrolytes I was also loved by the friendly and nearly harmless Giant Forest Ants (Camponotus gigas). These photos are of minor workers. They are impressively large but we did catch a glimpse of some soldiers one night and they were half again as long and as stocky.

The field centre complex had lots of nests made by Hover Wasps Eustenogaster calyptodoma. Chewed plant material is used to create these paper funnels.

Another ubiquitous inhabitant were the weaver ants (Oecophylla sp.) which strike these amazing threat poses whenever you get too close.

We found a spectacular alate of a species of Tropical Spiny Ant (Polyrhachis sp) and a beautifully coloured wasp, probably one of the digger wasps (Sphex sp.)

 

13 Comments

  1. CAS
    Posted December 12, 2018 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    Great insect photos!

  2. nay
    Posted December 12, 2018 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    Great pix and narration. (Don’t think I want to visit Borneo in this lifetime – Yeesh!)

  3. Brad
    Posted December 12, 2018 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    Both beautiful & amazing! Thanks!

  4. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted December 12, 2018 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    First rate stuff! Very good pictures and descriptions.

    • Glenda Palmer
      Posted December 12, 2018 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

      +1

  5. Debbie Coplan
    Posted December 12, 2018 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    Incredible photos! Thank you!

  6. Posted December 12, 2018 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    Dry nice photos and story. Thanks.

  7. Jenny Haniver
    Posted December 12, 2018 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    These are great! Also the commentary.

    From what I know of stingless bees, they aren’t necessarily harmless to other stingless bees. Some species get drunk on various substances and get into fights with each other, even with their nest-mates in a fight to the death, and the entire colony will be decimated.

  8. rickflick
    Posted December 12, 2018 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    How nice to see these beasts up close. Colors, textures, shapes.

  9. Phil Ward
    Posted December 12, 2018 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    Gorgeous photos! And a reminder that Borneo is a fantastic playground for entomologists. BTW, those “Giant Forest Ants” (Camponotus gigas) are now in their own genus (Dinomyrmex). Molecular (DNA sequence) data demonstrate that they constitute an independent lineage, only superficially (perhaps convergently) similar to Camponotus. Evolution works in mysterious ways–which we get to explore and uncover!

    • tjeales
      Posted December 12, 2018 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

      Very interesting. I’ll make a note of that. They were one of my favourites.

  10. Posted December 15, 2018 at 12:43 am | Permalink

    Beautiful insects and nest!


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