Nepenthes in Thailand


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Hi, on a recent short trip to Thailand I had half a day to climb a hill and this is what I found.
 
Well the first hour was hot, steep and completely nep free. Not even any orchids to peer at. Neither, I guess, are understorey plants. I heard gibbons in the distance shortly after I set out (about 8am) but sadly nothing more after that and the biggest animal I saw on the way up was a Cicada.
 
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After a while I reached a ridge and then a lookout point that obviously had a very different microclimate to the surrounding forest. Many ferns and lower trees; exposed bedrock and sandy soil. Orchids (mainly coelgyne and bulbophyllum I think) on every surface, but particularly the exposed rock edges. Good view but no sign of any neps.
 
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Another hour and a bit took me back into the jungle before reaching the peak proper, which was obviously a different ecosystem again: mostly exposed rock (presumably limestone) with sand and little soil and scrubby trees. Though obviously very exposed to both wind and much rain it still felt very dry. And Lo! neps in abundance! The first patch was exciting to find; after the 10th they began to pale... They are obviously very common on this peak, though a single species only, and are very established: whole bushes of them 4ft plus were common. The peak area was fairly small but they were probably amongst the commonest plants on it. I cannot positively ID the species however. I could not find any lower pitchers at the time, though annoyingly I can see one now blurred in the background of one of the pics, but I am guessing it is some form of N. gracilis, though it must also be well with the range of N. andaman. The peak height is around 500m. Interestingly there seemed to be very little liquid inside and almost every single pitcher had a spider in residence.
 
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Sadly it appears I was in the wrong season for orchids: though abundant on the peaks and exposed overhangs, I found only two in flower. One was a spectacular Dendrobium right beside the path, the other Coelogyne sp, possibly trinervis, though they were not in a location I wanted to get much closer to to find out (pic 5, above).
 
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A little more wildlife was met on the way down: a large monitor lizard scarpered off the trail in front of me and one of it's smaller cousins posed for a photo. Exactly zero birdlife however.
 
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Cheers,
nick

Edited by nicklott
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Ah, thanks Marcello, one of yours I see.

 

Do you know anything about the spiders, out of interest? Every pitcher seemed to have one and they went to hide at the bottom of the under the liquid (i think... it was hard to see if there was any) when I went close. I did not spend too long examining but I could see no prey in any pitchers.

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Always nice seeing in-situ pics, both of the orchids, and Nepenthes, a rather recently described at that. That insect looks like some kind of fulgorid.

 

Regards,

 

Christer

 

Indeed it is Christer, thanks for the pointer. I believe the insect may be Aphaena submaculata or Aphaena dismillis, experts are still pondering which is which due to huge pattern variants within Aphaena submaculata. Although there are some subtle differences (possibly gender related) between yours and the two linked pictures so I may be incorrect (the linked images appear to have purchased some natty knee length black leather boots) :laugh2:  Edit : Have just noticed difference in eye colour too.....

Either way, some stunning flora and fauna and a real species spotting result, one rarity and one not yet fully agreed upon by those in the know. Congratulations Sir !

 

Aphaena submaculata

 

http://thailandwildlife.photoshelter.com/gallery-image/Fulgoridae-Lantern-Bugs/G0000LW_FkHMcKws/I0000vff0oI72lyk/C00003CxoyFUw2q0

 

Aphaena dismillis

 

http://thailandwildlife.photoshelter.com/gallery-image/Fulgoridae-Lantern-Bugs/G0000LW_FkHMcKws/I0000mBkU_UW1oZk/C00003CxoyFUw2q0

 

The lizard is an Emma Gray's Forest Lizard (Calotes emma), also known as the Forest Crested Lizard

 

http://thailandwildlife.photoshelter.com/gallery-image/Reptiles-Amphibians/G0000PR7DhrQ2AzU/I0000nuH2AiTfA2k

Edited by Buster
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Thanks for the ID's buster. I always like to find out what it is I've actually seen.

 

First time I've been in a proper bit of jungle for about 15 years, I forgot how much I enjoy it. I shall have to carefully search for more "family" holidays that are accidentally next to national parks...

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Thanks for the ID's buster. I always like to find out what it is I've actually seen.

 

First time I've been in a proper bit of jungle for about 15 years, I forgot how much I enjoy it. I shall have to carefully search for more "family" holidays that are accidentally next to national parks...

 

Love going in the jungle, we've been visiting various north/central parts of Thailand for a few years, most recently up near the Laos border.  Found some very rare coelogynes which is one of my favourite orchids groups.

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