Sabah, Borneo: Minibeasts

Many people associate rainforests with creepy crawlies, big spiders and all sorts of nightmarish critters. And this is kind of true. But many of these creatures are not that of your worst dreams, but are in fact the building blocks of the rainforest ecosystem. They provide food for other animals, decompose forest waste, pollinate and spread seeds, just to name a few. 

This post will be heavily pictures, so sit back and have a look at some pictures featuring spiders, beetles and crabs that live in trees!

I'll start with, in my opinion, the most unusual. This animal isn't strictly a minibeast, but it didn't fit into any other post so it's here! This is a tree crab, seen on our night walk near Sepilok. 

Tree Crab

And from one eight-legged creature to another. The spiders. Walking through the rainforest at night showed us a lot of spiders. In fact, everywhere I pointed my torch there was at least a dozen spider eyes shining back at me. I have never seen so many spiders in one small space before. The forest floor was literally covered in spiders. Most of these were very small, but every now and then we came across larger spiders sitting in amongst the leaf litter. At first they looked pretty normal:

But eventually we came across a few creepier specimens. One spider had strange, almost sharp looking ends to its legs, and when it moved, it was even creepier. It scuttled across the leaves unnervingly quickly, with only its legs moving. Its body appeared to stay completely stationary as it darted around near our feet. Not a spider I would want in my room.

Spider sitting under the roof next to our breakfast area.

We also had various insects in our lodge areas, most of which being moths and flies, but we did have a female rhinoceros beetle visit us at one point. At one point it got stuck on its back, but after flipping it back over, it decided it would be fun to whizz around us, hitting us on the back and arm and generally causing chaos.

female Rhinoceros Beetle

Now I'll move on from the critters that scuttle around the forest, and onto the more beautiful insects. First of all, the butterflies. We saw many butterflies of all shapes, colours and sizes, but photographing them was easier said than done. They tended not to stay in one place very long, but the two I did manage to photograph were wonderful, and very big. In general, the butterflies in the rainforest were much bigger than our butterflies here in the UK. The first species below we saw next to the Kinabatangan River, and the second near Sepilok.

And I have left my favourite until last. The lantern bug. These insects, despite their name, don't emit any light. The strange, nose-like feature at its head is actually called a 'rostrum' and is used to suck juices out of fruits and flowers. 

Lantern Bug, Abai

The rainforests certainly didn't disappoint on all fronts, and the minibeasts were no exception. The forest showed us many different species and forms of insect, from the delicate to the nightmarish. Borneo has shown so many times why it holds the title of some of the best rainforests in the world.


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