DixPix Photographs

     

INDONESIAN ARCHIPELAGO

 
     
  SPIDERS, SCORPIONS, LEECHES ETC.  

 

This page collects some photos of terrestrial invertebrates, other than insects.  Creepy-crawlies on anything but six legs.  While some can deliver a nasty bite or sting, none are truly dangerous to anyone who doesn't happen to have an allergy thereto.  Nor are they likely to carry the diseases that mosquitoes and a few other insects can.  Despite this, many people have an innate fear of spiders, and a good reason to stay clear of centipedes, scorpions and leeches, when possible.

 

Ever had the feeling that you are being watched in the shower, perhaps by something with eight eyes? Click to see big picture (640x420 pixels; 123 KB)
Here in Bali, as in some other parts of Indonesia, the giant orb-weaving spiders can reach plague numbers.  These have strung out their webs between telephone wires. Click to see big picture (640x353 pixels; 47 KB)
This appears to be the most common of the Asian Golden Orb Spiders, Nephila pilipes (was N. maculata). It bites, but the venom is not threatening to humans.  This is a female, the males are tiny and usually eaten during mating.  It is surprising how often spiders are missing a leg. Click to see big picture (355x480 pixels; 55 KB)
A view of the undersides of Nephila, also known as Giant Wood Spiders.  They are quite handsome, but this is less appreciated when you get one plastered to your face by its web, so watch where you walk in the tropical forests. Click to see big picture (640x477 pixels; 79 KB)
They are called Golden Orb Spiders because the webs (orbs) are a yellow color. It is reported that they also weave the largest and strongest webs, although often messy. Click to see big picture (577x480 pixels; 78 KB)
Spiders have double fangs, so the bite of a large spider tends to be distinctive. Click to see big picture (561x480 pixels; 100 KB)
The 'Fake Ass Spider' is more politely called by the lengthy name of Long-horned Orb Weaver, or the unpronounceable Gasteracantha arcuata.  It attempts to scare off intruders with the fake pinchers on its rear end.  The other end can bite, but nothing dangerous.  Widespread in southeast Asia. fake ass spider
Some of the most colorful spiders wait for insects in blossoms.  This appears to be a Lynx Spider, Oxyopes sp., although the technique is more typical of crab spiders. Click to see big picture (321x480 pixels; 44 KB)
Success, a flower spider captures a fly which visited its blossom. Click to see big picture (640x455 pixels; 68 KB)
A fairly large, unidentified spider from central Sumatra, with spiky hairs.  Does not look friendly. Click to see big picture (640x426 pixels; 134 KB)
Some large spiders weave a giant "X" into their webs.  These are known as the St. Andrew's Cross Spiders, of the genus Argiope. The reference is to the flag and saint of Scotland. Click to see big picture (640x425 pixels; 84 KB)
A closer look at a St. Andrew's Cross Spider in northern Suluwesi. The Argiope genus tends to be colorful, and to some extent they can hide their legs against the cross. Click to see big picture (640x476 pixels; 77 KB)
And what is this?  An insect trying to mimic a spider?  Six legs are not allowed. Click to see big picture (362x480 pixels; 78 KB)
A Daddy Longlegs, checks out a leaf in northern Borneo.  The one-piece body suggest that this is one of the Harvestmen, of the Opiliones order, which are only related to spiders. Click to see big picture (548x480 pixels; 76 KB)
A similar species from Sumatra, showing the extraordinary length of the second pair of legs.  One would think these would be of more useful in front as feelers. Click to see big picture (640x344 pixels; 58 KB)

A huge black scorpion from central Sumatra.  These are generally known as Giant Forest Scorpions or Asian Forest Scorpions.

Click to see big picture (640x327 pixels; 72 KB)
The genus is Heterometrus.  There are several species, but this black Sumatran is likely either H. spinifer or H. longimanus.  Note, the long arms suggest the latter. Click to see big picture (640x280 pixels; 63 KB)
Although a sting from one of these giant scorpions can be damn painful, it is not as life threatening as many smaller species. Click to see big picture (640x462 pixels; 82 KB)
In fact, Giant Forest Scorpions are commonly kept as pets, either in the foreign pet trade, or here at home by simply tying them by the tail. Click to see big picture (640x445 pixels; 115 KB)
This red-legged Centipede, which has just crawled out of an Indonesian drain, can also deliver a painful bite.  It is probably one of the varied subspecies of the tropical complex Scolopendra subspinipes, known locally as Lipan Kelabang.  Centipedes are fast-moving carnivores. Click to see big picture (640x362 pixels; 63 KB)
Millipedes are slow and vegetarian. These rather common ones are of the order Spirobolida, of which some 900 species have so far been described. Click to see big picture (640x335 pixels; 114 KB)
Their main method of defence is to roll up into an armored ball, as this fat, red-banded species demonstrates in Borneo. Click to see big picture (476x480 pixels; 65 KB)
And while in the Crocker Range of Sabah, this is also a millipede-- you can tell by the four legs per segment.  It will be from the order Polydesmida, and smells strongly of almonds.  Don't try to eat it, however, that smell is cyanide, and it can release hydrogen cyanide gas as a defense if molested. Click to see big picture (640x424 pixels; 119 KB)
Known as the Shovel Headed (or Hammer Headed) Worm, this odd creature, Bipalium kewense, is a tropical carnivore, but dangerous mainly to earth worms.  It is also refered to as a Land Planarian. Click to see big picture (640x323 pixels; 106 KB)

Behold, the leech.  Terrestrial Leeches, as opposed to ones living in water, are mainly a southeast Asian plague, and have been assigned to the family Haemadipsidae.  Leeches inject both an anesthetic and an anti-clotting agent, but no disease vectors.

Click to see big picture (623x480 pixels; 91 KB)
Although there are special 'leech socks', they can chew through most clothing, it only makes them messy eaters.  Do not try to just pull them off-- they leave their teeth behind.  Click to see big picture (306x480 pixels; 62 KB)
The colorful Tiger Leech of Borneo, Haemadipsa picta, can only be fully appreciated on someone else. Click to see big picture (640x475 pixels; 68 KB)
And here is a Tiger Leech, hanging from a leaf, just waiting for you to take a walk through the forests of Sarawak. Click to see big picture (428x480 pixels; 66 KB)
Even in Indonesia, however, the largest leeches are Aquatic Leeches, and await you in the streams and rivers.  These are placed in the Hirudinea subclass. Click to see big picture (640x324 pixels; 110 KB)
Something else from a Sumatran stream, captured in a plastic bowl.  A very active, whip-like round worm which came to check me out.  I have no idea what it is, but the locals made clear that it was up to no good. Click to see big picture (624x480 pixels; 80 KB)