West-Malaysia, Cameron Highlands


by Oskar V. Conle & Frank H. Hennemann (1996)
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Cameron Highlands MountainsAfter a twelve-hour flight from Frankfurt (Germany) to Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, we took an exciting four-hour taxi drive to reach our hotel in the Cameron Highlands, the first stop of our Malaysia-expedition. The Herritage Hotel in Tanah Rata offered, gently sized and hygienic rooms as well as good service and represented the starting point for our night-collecting tours.

Menexenus unnoi female

The Cameron Highlands are positioned some 70 kilometres north off Kuala Lumpur in the Tapah Hills at an altitude of about 1500 metres. Due to the mild mountainous climate, the highland is a preferred holiday region for the native people and as ideal for jungle-trekking as numerous numbered paths and trails are present in the surroundings of Tanah Rata.
Unfortunately large areas of primary rain-forest have since been destroyed because of the fast expanding tea-plantations and increasing tourism.
 

Heteropteryx dilatata femaleTanah Rata
Our first success in finding phasmids was in the Jalan Tengolok and different jungle-trails not far away from our hotel. Between 7 and 12 pm we searched the rich and dense lower vegetation with head-torches and surefires.
Pharnacia sumatrana femaleAlready in the first evening we found a male of the “Rhinoceros-beetle” Oryctes rhinoceros (Scarabaeidae, Dynastinae) which was attracted by the strong light in front of the hotel-lobby. In the close surrounding of our hotel and along the Jalan Tengolok we found many Neohirasea unnoi Brock, 1999 and Stheneboea verruculosa (Brunner v. Wattenwyl, 1907) as well as Asceles tanarata Brock, 1999, Necroscia punctata Gray, 1835, Sipyloidea meneptolemus (Westwood, 1859), Pinnispinus harmani Brock, 1999, Lopaphus nanoalatus Brock, 1999 and several small nymphs of Heteropteryx dilatata (Parkinson, 1789) and Phobaeticus serratipes (Gray, 1835). Interestingly we found most insects very close to the ground at maximum heights of 1 meter. Especially Stheneboea verruculosa and Neohirasea unnoi were predominantly found on different ferns.

During the days we searched for new night-collecting sites and took the advantage to visit some local insect-suppliers, from which we bought several live adults of Phyllium giganteum Hausleithner, 1984, Phyllium siccifolium (Linnaeus, 1758) and Heteropteryx dilatata (Parkinson, 1789) Stheneboea verruculosa pairas well a single female of the giant Pharnacia sumatranus (Brunner v. Wattenwyl, 1907). Furthermore we bought some live beetles (Coleoptera), including a few specimens of the well known “Atlas- or Three-Horn-Beetle” (Scarabaeidae, Dynastinae) Chalcosoma atlas (Linnaeus, 1758) and the large and colourful “Longarm-beetle” Cheirotonus parryi (Scarabaeidae, Euchrinae) for reasonable prices. In addition, we were lucky to obtain a beautiful female of the giant and bizarre Praying Mantis Paratoxodera cornicollis (Mantodea).
 

Gunung Brinchang (2000 m)
On our last day in the Cameron Highlands we decided to search for phasmids and do some night-collecting with a light-trap on Mount Brinchang (2000 m) which is situated only a few kilometres east off Tanah Rata. On its peak there is a telecom-station, which can be easily reached by a narrow but paved road. Apart from numerous Lepidoptera and Hymenoptera which were attracted by our light-trap, searching the vegetation which fenced the road on both sides revealed some specimens of Carausius nodosus (deHaan, 1842) as well as a still undescribed and remarkably small species of Lopaphus and a new species of Carausius.

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