Nature Blog

Giant Forest Scorpion

All aboard!

Scorpions are an ancient group of arachnids that have been in existence in our planet for over 400 million years. Unlike eggs laying insects, female scorpions for example this Giant Forest Scorpion (Heterometrus spinifer), give birth to live young after performing a complex mating ritual with a male. She carries all her babies around on her back for safety, until they have shed their exoskeleton for the first time.

Interestingly, a scorpion can have up to 100 babies in a single brood. The baby scorpions are paler than the parents and their exoskeleton are extremely soft. The new exoskeleton that appears after each moult gets tougher and darker than the one before, offering improved protection at every stage. Young scorpions moult up to seven times before reaching maturity.

Banded Swallowtail

Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.
Similar to this group of Banded Swallowtail (Papilio demolion) caterpillars from Asia, they live together to protect each other from predators. Large aggregations are believed to help in reducing the probability of that any one individual will be randomly attacked by predators and parasitoids.

Indian Leaf Butterfly

Don’t ever judge a book by its cover.
This butterfly might look dull and ugly when it closes its wings, but when it spreads its wings and shows the upper surface, you will be shock how beautiful it is.

This male Indian Leaf Butterfly (Kallima limborgii amplirufa) is found in tropical rain forest in Malaysia, Thailand and southern Burma. They mimic as a dead leaf when their wings are held closed during resting position to hide themselves from predators.

Atlas Moth

Hello bunny!
Do I look like a cute little bunny with fluffy ears and big eyes? Well, you may have to look closer because I’m not even a rabbit, I’m actually an Atlas Moth (Attacus atlas) and I’m the largest moth in the world in terms of wings surface area of 62 square inches with a wingspan reach up to 12 inches! I live in the warm forest of Southeast Asia and I’m only active at night.

The “bunny ears” are actually my antennae, and only male Atlas Moths have feathery antennae to increase the surface area for detecting scent, like the spikes on a TV aerial. My enormous antennae are covered in minute chemical sensors called olfactory sensilla. They are so sensitive which allow me to detect single molecules of certain scents or pheromones such as, mating pheromone produced by female moths when they are ready to mate from up to hundreds of meters away.

Diving Beetles

Do you ever wonder how these diving beetle (Cybister sp. and Eretes sp.) breathe under water? They draw oxygen in the form of a temporary air bubble hiding underneath their elytra (outer wings) while they hunt for food under water. Once they consume the oxygen supply, they release the air bubble and swim to the water surface to replenish a new one.

These beetles lives in fresh water and are commonly found in lakes, ponds or streams. Their flattened hind legs are covered with long-hair fringes, which act like broad paddle as the hind legs push together against water, helping the beetle to swim in the water.
Being a voracious predator, these beetles hunts a wide variety of prey including small fish or small insects which lives in the water. These beetles can also fly to look for new pond if theirs dry out, they usually fly at night using the reflection of moonlight to locate new water sources. However, this location method can sometimes cause them to land on wet roads or other hard wet surfaces.

Rajah Brooke's Birdwing

Rajah Brooke’s birdwing (Trogonoptera brookiana) is the national butterfly of Malaysia, it was named after James Brooke, the Rajah of Sarawak back in 1855 by a British naturalist, Alfred R. Wallace in Borneo.

Rajah Brooke’s birdwing is a protected species, listed under Appendix II of CITES, meaning that international export is restricted to those who have been granted a permit. A study showed that, the metallic green pattern on the wings of this remarkable butterfly are consist of strongly curved scales, which possess a uniquely arranged photonic structure consisting of multilayers and melanin baffles that produces highly directional reflections. This means that the coloration mechanisms of Rajah Brooke’s Birdwing consist of thin films, multilayers and higher dimensional photonic structures that are extremely ordered at the nanoscale, resulting in the birdwing’s stunning coloration (Bodo et al., 2016).