In 2008 I spent a week in Bali / Indonesia. This island is very populated and especially in the south there is not much nature left. Within theis short time I did not find many spiders but especially around Ubud there are many beautiful arachnids
In spring 2013 I travelled 2 weeks in Sumatra which is also a heavily " Palm Oil Infested " island but anyways I was able to find some interesting arachnids.
Some impressions from Bali
Paddy fields are very common on Bali:
At some places there is still some nature left
Nephila pilipes was the most common spider
But also Nephila kuhlii can be found
Picture of a Nephilengys sp. The male in the background is much smaller
A large Sparassidae sp. comes out to hunt for prey at night
In tropical countries the ubiquitous cicadas are usually difficult to detect, as they sit high on trees. Here I was able to observe a Cicada during moulting from an imago to the adult animal. The adult animal had a a length of about 6 cm.
Sumatra is not as developed and touristy as Bali, but also densely populated. Of the original rain forest there is nothing left except some national parks and the landscape is dominated by huge palm oil plantations. In the media, reports are especially about the dwindling habitat of the Orang Utangs , however, the entire flora and fauna is affected and in the coming years the last remaining rainforest will disappear if the population is growing as fast as it is doing now. Sumatra has due to the great activity of the tectonic plates in this region many active volcanoes and earthquakes in this region common.
At the beginning of my trip I stayed in the highlands of Sumatra. The landscape is dominated by agriculture with some small forest islands. Next to the fields I could observe various Araneae spp. in large numbers.
A large Cyrtophora sp. and a large Argiope sp. were the most common
One female with 2 males
Argiope with prey
Also Gasteracantha sp. shared this with the spiders mentioned above.
I was happy to find a Theraphosid species in this habitat . These spiders live in burrows in embankments.
"Feeding" at night
After visiting the highlands I stayed a few more meters above sea level in a rather cold region. Suprisingly I was able to find another Theraphosidae sp. With 1cm body length in the adult stage it was one of the smallest species I have seen so far. This spider could possibly be a Selenopelma sp.
This species had short burrows within escarpments
But also in silken tubes between stones:
In Sumatra it is possible to observe semi wild Orang Utangs within the the Leuser National Park as there is release center for Orang Utangs in Bukit Lewang. Unfortunately the visit there disapointing, because despite many rules to protect Orang Utangs because of their sensitivity against human diseases (Do not touch, do not feed them, do not take pictures with flash, do not smoke, etc) no one keeps to those rules. There are plenty of guides but they behave the worst and their only intention during my visit is to hook up with women from western countries instead of taking care that everyone sticks to the rules.
Rainforest of Leuser NP ( surrounded by palm oil plantations )
Habitat of Orang Utangs
Also habitat of Tropidolaemus wagleri
Scorpions living socially
Sparassidae are very common
There is a Cave in Bukit Lewang which is good to observe bats and a big Heteropoda sp. which I found only inside these caves.
Of course it is also possible to find Gasteracantha sp.
Also mygalomorph spiders can be found in this region. A large Nemesidae sp. is very common and its burrows look very much like the burrows of Theraphosid spiders.
Tarantulas can also be found at the Leuser National Park, but they are really rare ( Btw. none of the guides working in Bukit Lewang has ever seen or heard them before ) The spiders also live in tubes on steep slopes. One speciman I found at the foot of a tree between its roots.
Burrow, covered with silk at daytime:
This species is most likely Coremiocnemis kotacana