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Thread: Journey to northern Borneo

  1. #1
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    Journey to northern Borneo

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    At the end of year 2005, Daniel from Europe found an unidentified species of Betta in the northern part of Borneo. When the fish is brought back to Europe, nobody can identify the Betta & some think that it is a new species.

    To find out the truth, I decided to pay a visit to northern Borneo. Daniel comes to Sabah again for 3 months long vacation. Many thanks to Daniel for showing me around. I have a great time with this young hobbyist.

    In this trip, I found one more location for unimaculata group of Betta in northern Borneo.


    more on this link:

    www.ibanorum.netfirms.com/Sabah.htm


    Day 1 - in search for Rafflesia


    By the time Daniel & I unloaded our belonging to my aunt's house at Kota Kinabalu, it was almost 3pm.

    We decided to visit a Rafflesia site inside a forest reserve near Tambunan. From the map, I can see that it's not very far from KK. But when I drove the rented car across Crocker Range, I realised that it is a challenging road to drive!

    In Sarawak, I never had an experiance to drive in a mountain road, so when I was driving in a misty mountain road above 1000m from the sea level, my heart was beating real fast.


    The misty mountain road & my rented car:




    I couldn't adapt the sudden drop of the temperature......and worst, it rained after 4pm.....the visibility is very low.

    The misty montane forest of Gunung Alab (1,964m):






    The jungle stream in the mountain. The water is icy cold.....there is no fish living in the water.

    Wanna see Borneo? Just click...http://junglemikey.blogspot.com/

  2. #2
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    Colocasia esculenta




    This plant is introduced from South America; Brugsmansia in Solanaceae:





    Impatiens platyphylla





    Lichen ???

    Wanna see Borneo? Just click...http://junglemikey.blogspot.com/

  3. #3
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    As the entrance for forest reserve was closed at 5pm, we failed to see the Rafflesia. So, we had to turned back with disappointment.

    Day 2 - The hunt for Betta Chini:

    When i was driving south from Papar to Beaufort, I saw a lot of blackwater streams/rivers/canals. I think it should be no problem to find this smallest akarensis group of Betta called B. chini.

    For the half morning, I found a lot of this blackwater ditches/canals are brackish as that area is the coastal area. Not a good places to hunt for Betta, so I turned back to the direction of Papar.

    There is almost no peat swamp forest in that area.....what I can see is Acacia forest, Lalang & oil palm plantation. All those are introduced species! Acacia is introduced from Australia & it can grow in the secondary forest very fast & our native plants can't compete with it. Somemore, this tree can not provide food for our wild fauna. It's done more harm to our eco system rather than provide the raw material (pulp for making paper) for those money minded people.

    I was very depressed to drive on that road.



    One of the blackwater ditches in south western Sabah. You can see lalang (grasses) & the acacia trees in this picture. Very common scene in that area:






    I think is Rasbora sumatrana.





    Blyxa sp. floating on the blackwater stream.


    Wanna see Borneo? Just click...http://junglemikey.blogspot.com/

  4. #4
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    Half morning we found no Betta, except Puntius sealei, Rasbora sumatrana, Rasbora eithovenii, Trichogaster trichopterus,Clarias teijsmanni & Monopterus albus. All are very common species.

    After taking our lunch in a small town, we headed north & saw a blackwater river. I felt that this could be the right place.

    I surveyed the area & found a small gravel road. I found disturbed blackwater swamp beside the road. There I found this juvenile:




    When I asked daniel to pass me a plastic bag, he suddenly looked at me with very strange expression. He left his bag in one of the field near the roadside.

    Oh no.


    Without thinking twice, we rushed to our car & I drove as fast as possible to find his bag which contain some important stuff.

    The fun of finding the juvenile of Betta chini disappeared suddenly. The worst, so many spots looks similar to one & another.....I had to stop every few hundred metres to find his bag.

    But after 20 minutes later, we found it! Phew......then we moved back to same location again.


    Daniel is enjoying to collect fish in the blackwater swamp. This is his first time inside the peat swamp:




    I only caught 1 adult & 3 juveniles. I think this one is female:

    Wanna see Borneo? Just click...http://junglemikey.blogspot.com/

  5. #5
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    I gave up after one hour later....too exhausted to walk in the disturbed peat swamp where Pandanus sp. is all over the place.

    Later I found another beautiful blackwater stream....but I left my net in the car. I went to search for Cryptocoryne with Daniel. 15 minutes later, the storm was approaching.....I had to give up again.





    We went to a lot of places after that but most of the habitats are destroyed. I went back to my aunt's house with 4 Betta chini.



    On the third day, i was not feeling well. Daniel replaced me to become the driver. We checked some streams on the way to the north but didn't find anything except a fern looks like java fern in a stream. No fish is found there.

    About 10am, Daniel stopped at a small river where he used to catch barbs & borneo suckers. I think all those Borneo suckers are Neogastromyzon spp.

    I couldn't figure out what species of Neogastromyzon. I can't find it in the "Borneo suckers" reference book. There are at least 2 species.....maybe 3.

    Will post more close-up pictures of those suckers later.


    A river near Kota Marudu.





    Neogastromyzon sp. (length is around 2cm)





    I can't figure out what species they are......will show close up pictures later.

    Wanna see Borneo? Just click...http://junglemikey.blogspot.com/

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    No idea what Nemacheilus is this??? Could it be N. saravacensis?




    A freshwater snail on the back of a larva in the water......





    I found the wild fighting fish in the quiet corner of the stream. Daniel was shocked that he didn't realised that Betta can be found here too:

    Wanna see Borneo? Just click...http://junglemikey.blogspot.com/

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    At the late afternoon, Daniel brought me to visit his "secret garden"....the stream where he found those Betta looks like B. ocellata:




    2 Bettas in one net.....but later, one jump out & escaped. Betta is a good jumper.

    Wanna see Borneo? Just click...http://junglemikey.blogspot.com/

  8. #8
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    SNAP SHOT:

    Planting paddy in the paddy field of Kota Marudu:






    Rungus longhouse. Rungus is a sub group of Dusun (tribe). In the ancient time, Rungus was at war with Kadazan. During the war, both side hunt enemy head as a trophy......







    Flag of Malaysia at the tip of Borneo:

    Wanna see Borneo? Just click...http://junglemikey.blogspot.com/

  9. #9
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    The crystal clear sea water at the tip of Borneo:




    Heaven on earth - Borneo:





    Finally, I have stepped on the northern most of my homeland. So, what is my next jouney? Southern most of Borneo?




    The windy road at the coast:

    Wanna see Borneo? Just click...http://junglemikey.blogspot.com/

  10. #10
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    The Borneo suckers I found in Kota Marudu area .....I think mostly are Neogastromyzon. I have no idea what species they are:

    Species A - Gastromyzon ???







    Species B




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    the rasbora don't look like sumatrana leh.. i think is caudimaculata (giant scissortail).. wonder if those little snails with the suckers on the rocks are common or rare species??

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    Quote Originally Posted by kuching View Post
    The Borneo suckers I found in Kota Marudu area .....I think mostly are Neogastromyzon. I have no idea what species they are:

    Species A - Gastromyzon ???







    Species B






    check their mouth-shape to see which genus.
    why I don't do garden hybrids and aquarium strains: natural species is a history of Nature, while hybrids are just the whims of Man.
    hexazona crumenatum Galleria Botanica

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by budak View Post
    the rasbora don't look like sumatrana leh.. i think is caudimaculata (giant scissortail).. wonder if those little snails with the suckers on the rocks are common or rare species??
    Maybe u r right.....I'm always confused of sumatrana & caudimaculata.....
    Wanna see Borneo? Just click...http://junglemikey.blogspot.com/

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by hwchoy View Post
    check their mouth-shape to see which genus.

    Will try to photograph them again.....they are hiding all the time. Can't see the shape.
    Wanna see Borneo? Just click...http://junglemikey.blogspot.com/

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    make them stick to the glass.
    why I don't do garden hybrids and aquarium strains: natural species is a history of Nature, while hybrids are just the whims of Man.
    hexazona crumenatum Galleria Botanica

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by hwchoy View Post
    make them stick to the glass.
    Ok, but wait until I got my Tamron 90mm macro lens....then can photograph & see close-close lah.
    Wanna see Borneo? Just click...http://junglemikey.blogspot.com/

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    halamak
    why I don't do garden hybrids and aquarium strains: natural species is a history of Nature, while hybrids are just the whims of Man.
    hexazona crumenatum Galleria Botanica

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    Apart from the tail markings, sumatrana's jaws are noticaebly shorter...

  19. #19
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    Thanks, Budak.
    Wanna see Borneo? Just click...http://junglemikey.blogspot.com/

  20. #20
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    Probably juvenile of Gastromyzon cornusaccus





    Protomyzon cf. whiteheadi


    Wanna see Borneo? Just click...http://junglemikey.blogspot.com/

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