|Copyright: Foozi Saad (foozi)
|Date Taken: 2008-07-31|
|Categories: Rain Forest|
|Camera: Panasonic DMCTZ15|
|Exposure: f/3.5, 1/640 seconds|
|More Photo Info: [view]|
|Photo Version: Original Version|
|Date Submitted: 2008-11-01 20:06|
|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
|Bukit Kubu Forest |
I was really attracted to this forest because during Jun/July there were specal trees that flower on the limestone hills. From a distance it looks very beautiful with patches. It may look similar in other Malaysian limstone hills also. I have been thinking of going nearer, passing through the grasslands ans climbed the hills. Still a thought of not feeling save because there are a lot of unknown dangers.
Here in this hills there are dangerous snakes like cobra, king cobra, vipers. So the idea is not wise after I asked the locals.
Malaysia is known as being a mega-diverse country in terms of its biodiversity. It has a vast range of flora and fauna, and even many of the limestone caves are home to a wide range of fauna. In temperate caves, especially in Europe, it is not common to see much cave fauna. Most of the fauna is restricted to the threshold zones, where invertebrates such as insects, and possibly small mammals may be seen. Deep inside the cave there may be a few bats. In contrast, tropical caves of south east Asia often abound with life.
Plants can't grow in caves as there is no sunight. However some seeds do find their way into caves, they are either taken in with water, especially in times of flood, or else they are deposited in the bat droppings. Theys struggle to survive and are pale and spindly, and normally only reach a few cm in height before dying. So it was quite interesting to find these huge banana plants inside a cave in southern Thailand, obviously washed in by a flood. Also the coconuts which had got washed in and deposited on a ledge.
Cave fauna ranges from tiny microscopic organisms right through to elephants. However not all these creatures are troglobites (cave dwellers). Some are troglophiles (animals which are found in the caves but can also live outside), and others are trogloxenes (cave dwellers which go outside to feed). Cave visitors include people and elephants.
Studies on the cave fauna began at the beginning of the 20th century. The cave food chain is quite complex but everything ultimately depends on the bats for survival. There is no sunlight in caves, so no photosynthesis can take place therefore plants cannot grow. Bats are the only creatures which regularly go outside the cave to feed. There are two types of bats, the insect eaters and the fruit bats. They leave the cave at night to feed on insects, fruits, pollen, and it is their resulting guano or excreta which deposited in the cave supports the whole food chain, from the smallest bugs through to the cave dwelling snake.
The guano is home and food to countless creatures, including flies, beetles, bugs, millipedes, springtails, cockroaches, worms, mites and moths. These animals are in turn fed upon by the cave crickets, centipedes, scorpions, whip scorpions and spiders. And these provide food for small mammals, frogs and toads. Animal carcasses, especially those of bats, are scavenged almost immediately, and soon nothing remains except for the bare skeleton. The bats and the cave swiftlets have parasites such as mite, chiggers, ticks, fleas and flies.
© Liz Price [abridged from Acta Carsologica, 2004, Vol 33, No 1, 311-317.]
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