Tag Archives: Karst

Dawn Bat (Eonycteris spelaea)

Species: Eonycteris spelaea (Mammalia : Chiroptera)

Known Range: Southeast Asia

Size: (Adult) 40-70 millimeter, length of a forearm

Interviewed: Zubaid Akbar Mukhtar Ahmad, bat scientist (zubaid.akbar[at]gmail.com)

(Photo: Eonycteris spelaea by Juliana Senawi)

“DO YOU like durians? Do you like petai?” These are the questions Zubaid asks when he’s trying to win some supporters for bats.

Continue reading Dawn Bat (Eonycteris spelaea)

Minute Land Snail (Whittenia vermiculum)

Species: Whittenia vermiculum (Gastropoda: Diplommanitidae) *

Known Range: Gunung Rapat limestone hill, Malaysia

Size: (Adult) 1.0 – 1.5 millimeters

Interviewed: Foon Junn Kitt, malacologist

(Photo: Whittenia vermiculum by Foon Junn Kitt)

HOW IS this a snail, and not just a tiny, whitish, swirly plastic tube? Even its species name, vermiculum, means ‘wormy’ in Latin, which aptly describes the snail’s shell.

Continue reading Minute Land Snail (Whittenia vermiculum)

Cave Cockroach (Pycnoscelus striatus)

Species: Pycnoscelus striatus (Insecta: Blattodea)

Known Range: Malaysia, Sumatra, the Philippines

Size: (Adult) 15 mm long , ~diameter of 10-sen coin

Interviewed: Dr Lim Teck Wyn, biologist

(Photo: Shaharin Yussof )

“CUTE” IS how Teck Wyn describes the cave cockroach, Pycnoscelus striatus. “The nymphs”—the juvenile stage of cockroaches—“are adorable, scurrying sort of things.”

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This is where we feature the various ecosystems in Malaysia. From cloud forests to coral reefs, these are the rawest reasons we do environmental journalism. For each ecosystem, we tell the stories of not only the natural living and non-living components of these communities and systems, but also the human ones. Here, you can explore natural Malaysia in text, voice and photos, guided by the experience of those who know it well.


Pitcher plants (Nepenthes rafflesiana) climbing up trees at Bako National Park, Sarawak. (Clivid on Flickr, https://www.flickr.com/photos/lungfish2000/6928265509/in/album-72157629450399257, CC-BY, ND 2.0)
Pitcher plants (Nepenthes rafflesiana) climbing up trees at Bako National Park, Sarawak. (Clivid on Flickr, https://www.flickr.com/photos/lungfish2000/6928265509/in/album-72157629450399257, CC-BY, ND 2.0)

The Ibans call heath forests ‘Kerangas’, or the land that cannot grow rice. These forests, mostly found on Borneo, are a rare and largely unknown feature of Malaysia’s tropical ecosystems. Sandy, acidic soil means dry, nutrient-poor environments. And yet, a unique community has evolved to thrive there.

Heath forest in Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve, Sabah. (Giacomo Sellan)


with Giacomo Sellan
Giacomo Sellan)



Mangroves, Kemaman, Terengganu (SK Chong/Sasyaz Holdings)
Mangroves, Kemaman, Terengganu (SK Chong/Sasyaz Holdings)

Living between sea and land are mangroves (‘bakau’), protectors of coasts, ‘reclaimers’ of land, nurseries for fish. An ecosystem that is at once wet and dry, brackish and saline, it is defined most by stilt roots and mudflats. But its biodiversity and ecosystem roles are larger and more complex than what meets the eye.

Gold-spotted Mudskippers (Periophthalmus chrysospilos) waddling in the mudflat at Bako National Park, Sarawak. Photo by Chien Lee.

FISH ON LAND: Mudskipper (Gobiiformes)

with Khaironizam Md Zain
Chien Lee)

Awash in sea water twice daily, mangrove trees thrive in a challenging environment.


with Alison Kim Shan Wee
Alison Kim)

Boardwalk in mangrove forest at Matang, Perak, Malaysia


with A. Aldrie Amir
A. Aldrie Amir)

Saltwater crocodile in water.

REPTILE KING: Saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus)

with Wan Nor Fitri Wan Jaafar
(Photo: Wan Nor Fitri Wan Jaafar)


  • Mangrove Carbon Stores 
  • Saltwater Crocodile (Crocodylus porosus)


Karst Ecosystem poster - Macaranga
Tower form, Gunung Rapat, Kinta Valley (photo: Cheang Kum Seng)

Popularly referred to as limestone (‘batu kapur’), Malaysia’s remarkable karst landscape has been sculpted by centuries of action of water on soft rock. It is also home to unique life-forms and is part of human life. Coming up, we talk to those who know it well to celebrate its myriad facets, in our first ecosystem spotlight.

An online gazetteer for limestone outcrops in Malaysia can be used to locate limestone outcrops of interest (Liew Thor Seng)


with Liew Thor Seng
Liew Thor Seng)

Rock climbing on limestone (Photo: Chan Yuen Li)

SCALING HEIGHTS: Rock climbing

with Chan Yuen Li
Chan Yuen Li)

Dawn bat (Eonycteris spelaea) live in large roosts in limestone hill caves. One of the largest fruit bats in mainland Southeast Asia, dawn bats pollinate many species of fruit trees, including regional favourites durian and petai. (Photo: Juliana Senawi)

FOR DURIAN LOVERS: Dawn bat (Eonycteris spelaea)

with Zubaid Akbar Mukhtar Ahmad
(Photo: Juliana Senawi)

Karst ecosystem: Land snail (Opisthostoma vermiculum) (Photo: Foon Junn Kit)

FOUR AXES: Minute land snail (Whittenia vermiculum)

with Foon Junn Kit
(Photo: Foon Junn Kit)

KKarst ecosystem: Cave cockroach Pycnoscelus striatus (Photo: Shaharin Yussof)

CAVE TRANSFORMER: Cave cockroach (Pycnoscelus striatus)

with Lim Teck Wyn
(Photo: Shaharin Yussof)


Karst ecosystem: Perak Limestone (Photo: Cheang Kum Seng)

LIMESTONE LENSING: Karst photography

with Cheang Kum Seng
(Photo: Cheang Kum Seng)

Species Name 7

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