Sunday, May 20, 2007

Fauna around Mengkuang Dam (Part II)

Continuing the Mengkuang Dam issue:-

Today I am going to show you the diversity of fauna found in our SIX hours hike around the dam on 12th May 2007.

I have been to this trail several times and each time there were alot of strange bugs, frogs and other fauna worth protecting. Expanding the dam will destroy these creatures.

Note: all photos presented here were taken during our 6-hrs hike.

1. There are 12 streams - several are seasonal.
2. Fishing, rubbish and camping at Mengkuang Dam.
3. Illegal immigrants and occupants in catchment area.

4. Illegal trees cutting and harvesting of bamboo.
5. Farmers staying in catchment area.
6. Rich in fauna and flora.

Arowana! Yes, probably a released fish from someone's aquarium. I wondered what other fish might be released into the dam...pirana? Uncontrol, local exotic fish will be extinct very soon. Small dam and they can't about a bigger dam?

An uncommon lizard roaming the dam proper. They are part of the food chain of some larger animals.

This Common Iora was seen feeding on a spider. So are you aware now that spiders are also part of the food chain?

In the forested area of the dam, bird life is plentiful. This is Puff-throated Babbler, a shy bird but on that day, it flew very close to our present.

Anywhere you go in rainforest Malaysia, you will find termites. But only in Mengkuang Dam could I see these rare termites. This is my first sighting of these termites. Any termites specialist would like to concur? Expanding the dam could destroy this colony.

I don't have a good macro lens but if you look carefully, you will notice that this ant has larger than normal thighs and has thinner thorax. Is this another new species?

There are many species of spiders at Mengkuang Dam. I think this one was the same species which the Common Iora fed on.

This one is a predator to smaller birds.

And more spider.

I have seen a group of wildboars crossing my path before. But this dung of a herbivous animal - with grass and seeds, could be some uncommon mammal found only at Mengkuang Dam.

Many butterflies and moths can be seen here. Inset above shows a yellow coloured moth. There was a colony of these moths at one section of the dam. Should we take away their habitat by enlarging the dam?

My friend mistaken this butterfly with fake rear feelers as mating butteflies. Rich in diversity!

A nymph of a bug? No wings were seen. Anyone care to identify? Another rare bug found at Mengkuang Dam?

Is this its mother? I don' think so as this adult bug was found a km away from the nymph.

A dead red bug being carried by a group of worker ants. Inset shows another red bug but of different identification.

This one looks like a firefly except it has many black markings.

You probably could write a master degree on grasshoppers at Mengkuang Dam - there were so many. They are the lower food chain that support the avifauna and smaller fauna. That is the conclusion I can testify on our 6-hours trek.

This was my first record of seeing a white damsel fly. Have you seen a white one before?

Of course the common dragonflies were common. I counted many but could only shot 3 species. The young of dragonflies fed on vectors.

A playful stick insect demonstrating a tribal "dance".

Another stick insect with blue head and red banded abodomen on a cinnamon tree. This is rare?

A giant millipede normally found on higher ground was spotted at Mengkuang Dam.

Land planarian or flat worm that feeds on worms. Harmless and beautiful, they are part of the ecosystem.

Beside the photos shown above, we saw several squirrels, heard primate jumping on the tree canopy but could not identify them and of course heard the many calls of cicadas.

You have seen the diversity of the lives around Mengkuang Dam although it is on a former rubber estate and fruit orchards. You have learnt that only 12 "peeing" streams fed the dam. You have seen some fauna which you have not seen before. So do you think expanding Mengkuang Dam is wise?

Sure we won't have enough water in another few years. Pumping water from Muda River into the dam is not wise either (That is another story).