There are many weird and wonderful little people fluttering about in Malaysia. With the help of Caroline and Google and some creative embellishing, I have attempted to describe (unscientifically) a few of the little people that we have taken photos of. Because I am clearly no expert, I will assume for now that all the critters in this post are male:
This fellow is from the family Tettigoniidae, with the common name of Katydid or Bush Cricket. Unlike players of Bush Cricket (a lesser-known sport), the Katydid chooses not to wear clean whites, but instead presents himself in a variety of colours – in this case, a rather sleek red and black. I couldn’t find out much information on this specific Katydid other than that his diet might include leaves, bark, seeds, snails and snakes – although the last two seem unlikely… When I met him he was amiable and relaxed.
This spikey little spider is from the Oxyopidae family. He enjoys leaping about enthusiastically and attacking people with his sticky spines and ocular superiority. Rather than wasting time building webs, he hurls himself from leaf to leaf, mercilessly eating people up to five times his size. Unlike a lot of other spiders, Lynx’s tend to be very social and often get together in small groups, presumably to boast about the preceding days carnage. Apparently fearful of humans, my guess is that I was only able to get this close because he was asleep. A lack of eyelids makes for a difficult diagnosis.
I could not find any images on the internet of this particular bug, but Caroline assures me that it is within the Pentatomidae family. The unfortunate common name for these interesting little critters is the Stink Bug. Stink Bugs get their name from the horrible-smelling excretion they make when disturbed, which they produce using small glands under their bodies. Another endearing feature of Pentatomidae is their diet; leaves which have been spat on and turned into a juicy pulp. When I met this Stink Bug he neither exercised his glands nor spat on any leaves. He just kind of sat there with his muscular rear legs and peculiar, triangular head.
When we first came across this young fellow, we thought he might be a butterfly. It turns out that he is none other than Macrotarsipus similis (probably), a clear-winged moth. Google and Caroline both don’t know much about him, other than that he enjoys a dark, tropical rain forest. When we met, he was perched on a leaf in the bright sun near the steel handrail of a concrete staircase, which makes me think that maybe he isn’t actually Macrotarsipus similis. He didn’t do anything much when were acquainted other than sit there, and so he remains as mysterious as he is handsome. I feel the blurry photo adds to the mystique.
Red Weaver Ant
Typically, red ants aren’t the sort of people you want to tangle with, and Red Weavers – or Oecophylla smaragdina – are no exception. These feisty little bastards make their nests by folding large leaves into little forts and gluing the edges together with silk. They then march into the world, kill Arthropods and bite anyone else who crosses them. When I was innocently walking in Shao’s garden, I suddenly noticed there were an awful lot of red ants glaring at me. I ventured my finger closer, but at about 10cm they began to flail their limbs wildly, baying for my bloody death. I hastily withdrew my finger, took some photos, apologised, and hurried away. When I zoom in on this photo I have to admit that they are actually quite cute, in a mindless, sociopathic way.
Plant Hopper Nymph
Introducing one species out of 780 in the family of Dictyopharidae, in the suborder Auchenorrhyncha and belonging to the infraorder Fulgoromorpha. Like all other fulgoroids, they have their antennae arising on the side of the head below the compound eye (not between the eyes as in the Cicadoidea). Many species have an elongated frons. Those that do not have this elongation may have 2 or 3 carinae (keels), but of course, the median ocellus is always absent. Luckily for this snooty little plant hopper he doesn’t care about any of that, and happily goes about his business eating leaves while taxonomists scratch their heads and peer into microscopes.
Like Lassie, but with less redeeming features.