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MALAYSIA: On The Search For Earth Tigers

MarkP: Hi all!
Jon: Welcome Mark!
MarkP: Hello Jon.
CrazyDave_Brandon: hello Mark
CrazyDave_Brandon: how was your trip to Malaysia?
MarkP: The trip was excellent it all seems a long time ago now.
Jon: OK, I have some introductory questions for you... 
MarkP: Fire away.
Jon: To start off the chat session:
Jon: Mark, how long have you been in the tarantula field and what got you started in the hobby?
MarkP: Since 1984.
CrazyDave_Brandon: wow thats a long time
Jon: That's the year I was born!
Evan: hi all
CrazyDave_Brandon: hi evan
MarkP: I got into tarantulas because I was afraid of spiders and I bought the biggest one I could find to get over my fear.
CrazyDave_Brandon: thats brave
Jon: How long have you been organizing trips to SE Asia?
MarkP: This is my third trip and hope to plan another one next year.
CrazyDave_Brandon: what did you see/ find?
MarkP: I found Thorelli and various other things too numerous to mention.
MarkP: This year we found a lot of Trap Doors.
CrazyDave_Brandon: cool
stickboy: cool
Jon: Can you give us some details about this years' trip, like where you went, how long you stayed, and who else came along?
MarkP: My usual traveling partner Dean, Simon and Sam came out on their first trip.
MarkP: The people who came with me were people who applied to come through me advertising on the web site.
MarkP: We has 18 days and the last 6 of those we spent on Tioman and KL.
MarkP: We spent a few days in the Cameron Highlands.
CrazyDave_Brandon: wow that must of been exciting
CrazyDave_Brandon: and to think I get all excited when I find an Aphonopelma Chalcodes
MarkP: Yes it was but night treking in Kenong Rimba is more exciting as you don't know what you are going to come across - even maybe a tiger!
MarkP: After Cameron Highlands we then went on to a secret location which I am trying to keep protected where we found Coremiocnemis species.
MarkP: We also found Selenocosmia tahanensis.
CrazyDave_Brandon: did you find any undescribed species
MarkP: We found species of Lampropelma which we believe may be Violaceopedes,
MarkP: where it has never been found before and it should not be there.
MarkP: We first though it was Chilobrachys andersoni but I have sent a picture to Rick West and he thinks it may be Violaceopedes.
CrazyDave_Brandon: I myself havent heard of half these species you are listing - do you know any good source I can look at to get a list of most species
Jon: Join a society like the BTS for quality tarantula info.
MarkP: Rick Wests' web site is a good start, but I agree with Jon.
CrazyDave_Brandon: yea I've been to his site it looks nice
CrazyDave_Brandon: what about the ATS I live in AZ
MarkP: Yes the ATS is a good idea too.
MarkP: The trips pictures are on Black Widows web site.
CrazyDave_Brandon: The Black Widows Web site?
MarkP: http://www.seriousbite.com
CrazyDave_Brandon: thanks
MarkP: Also on Deans web site at http://www.spiders-uk.co.uk
CrazyDave_Brandon: ok I'll be sure to check it out
Jon: Welcome TTS and PhilR!
CrazyDave_Brandon: yes welcome
PhilR: thanks
PhilR: So how many thorelli did you find on your trip?
MarkP: On this trip only one but last year we found a female and several juveniles.
MarkP: The female was living communally with her siblings and juveniles in previous years as pokey are known to do.
CrazyDave_Brandon: hey sorry I've gtg, I'm at my friends and his little sister gave me the comp and is now making me get off, its' been nice, I woulda liked to learn more, ttfn. 
Jon: OK, later Crazy Dave.
MarkP: See ya Crazy Dave
PhilR: Where did you find them: burrows, under stuff, etc?
MarkP: All Thorellis I have found have been living arboreally.
PhilR: I've heard that but mine seem to act like they prefer to burrow.
MarkP: In captivity they burrow but in the wild they are opportunist.
PhilR: Pretty moist where you found them?
MarkP: Very humid but all situations were dry.
MarkP: 98% humidity
PhilR: I should keep mine a tad more moist then.
PhilR: Find any other cool stuff?
MarkP: Yes, Scolopendra and scorpions.
MarkP: Lots of Nephila and Argiope.
Jon: It's interesting that you didn't find any thorellis in burrrows, or on the ground.
MarkP: No all aboreal at least two metres off the ground.
PhilR: I found it weird too Jon.
Jon: The common name for Cyriopagopus thorelli is the "Malaysian Earth Tiger", maybe it should be changed. :)
MarkP: Yes 'Malaysian Earth Tiger' not so much earth tiger but tree tiger.
Jon: Were they found in tree bark, rock walls, or what?
MarkP: We found them in rock walls, holes in trees and man made holes.
Jon: I guess any arboreal situation where the rain doesn't flood their home...
MarkP: Also under a house which was on stilts.
Jon: In terms of other species in the areas you explored, how hard are the thorellis to find?
MarkP: Thorelli is very hard to find it camoflauges its lairs well.
PhilR: Find any other t's there?
MarkP: Yes Selenocosmia.
MarkP: We were trying to find a big black beast which is known to be there but unable to track it down yet, maybe next year.
PhilR: You mean S. hainana as in big black beast?
MarkP: No, this is something new hopefully no more when a skin arrives soon.
PhilR: What's the largest thorelli you've seen in the wild?
MarkP: I was shown one over 9" bigger than the speciem in the KL Butterfly Farm.
PhilR: Cool, hope I can grow one that big!
MarkP: Keep feeding it and sit back and watch.
Jon: Did the locals help you collect at all?
Jon: I'd imagine they would know something about the habits of this "big black beast".
MarkP: We did not collect only observed but we had a guide in Kenong Rimba and I have made many friends over the last three trips.
MarkP: The habits of this big black beast our guide Appu belives it to be arboreal.
Jon: And can you let us in on the two different color morphs of thorelli?
MarkP: The ones in KR are bright green with tiger stiped abdomens, even at adult size.
MarkP: The other ones, which we seen in the Cameron Highlands, are dark blue and grey.
Jon: OK, thank you.
Jon: BTW, I'm looking at the new pics put up on Deans' site.
Jon: I see the one with you coming out of a cave... what sort of wildlife did you find in there?
MarkP: Good question - lots of big bats, tailless whip scorpions, and large cave toads.
TTS: Hi Mark, I just got a 2.5 inch brown arboreal from Malaysia, who would be the best person in the UK to send the skin to?
MarkP: Andrew Smith, send c/o BTS or email me and I will give you details.
TTS: Thanks.
MarkP: Also, if possible, take a picture and e-mail it to me. 
TTS: Yes we will do that tomorrow, and we will also post it on our site for everyone else to see.
MarkP: What is the URL of your site?
TTS: http://homepage.ntlworld.com/the.tarantula.store
MarkP: Thanks I will check it out tomorrow.
Jon: WOW, these pics of the trip are great!
MarkP: Glad you like them but it does not do the trip justice, perhaps you can see it for yourself next year?
Jon: Yes, perhaps. :)
stickboy: I just got some salmon pink birdeater slings they are pretty small with all slings do you/would you feed them fruit flies?
MarkP: Feed on micro crickets and wingless fruit flies.
Jon: I see you guys took a boat, how far into Kenong Rimba did you actually go?
MarkP: It is a two-hour boat trip up the Jelai River, then a four-hour trek to the first camp site.
stickboy: wow
MarkP: The boat trip is one of the highlights of the Kenong experience.
Jon: And did you start deep in the jungle and work your way out, or explore one section of rainforest?
MarkP: We camped in one place and trekked off in different directions. We stayed deep in the jungle for three days.
MarkP: The night walks are the best if you turn your head lamps off you cannot see your hand in front of your face.
MarkP: The sounds of the forest are deafening.
Jon: Even besides tarantulas, I see you ran into many other forms of wildlife, including lizards, stag beetles, centipedes, orb-weavers, etc. Did you run into any tigers, elephants, tapirs, etc?
MarkP: On the night walks we came across lots of true spiders, large hunting spiders, missed the elephants by one day, but we could still here them calling in the distance.
MarkP: The tapirs visit the camp at night as Appu puts their favorite tipple Salt and the Civits eat your left overs.
Jon: Liphistius trapdoors also. :) Very nice. Are they common in the wild?
MarkP: Liphistius are very hard to find, this is the first year I have found them. 
MarkP: We found them in between burrows of Coremiocnemis they prefer the same habitat, dry banks.
Jon: And in the pics you took you can even make out their segmented abdomens, very primitive.
MarkP: Yes - fossil like.
MarkP: Welcome mudvayne487
mudvayne487: hello
Jon: Welcome latecomer! :)
MarkP: Anymore questions as it is getting late here in the UK midnight...
mudvayne487: are you leaving
MarkP: Not yet, fire away with your questions.
mudvayne487: did u enjoy your trip
MarkP: Yes, it was excellent as were the last two.
mudvayne487: what did u see there
MarkP: Plenty of trantulas, trap doors, centipedes, whip scorpions, water monitors, pythons, pit vipers and lots of bats to name but a few.
mudvayne487: thats neat....would u send some pics to my email
Jon: For pics, go to: http://www.seriousbite.com
Jon: or http://www.spiders-uk.co.uk
mudvayne487: did u see any toads or anythin
MarkP: Yes very large cave toads.
stickboy: ight this was prett good - gotta go
MarkP: Thanks Stick boy.
Jon: Nice having you stickboy.
stickboy: nice talkin
mudvayne487: hello backtotheprimitive
mudvayne487: great pics mark that u have taken on your trip
MarkP: Thanks, have you looked at Deans site?
mudvayne487: yea i beleive so
Jon: So after your jungle expedition, you took it easy on an island and at KL, how was that?
MarkP: Pulau Tioman was excellent, very easy to get close up on the large water monitors.
Jon: Looked like a very relaxing end to such an adventurous trip...
mudvayne487: mark sounds like u had a very interesting time on your trip
MarkP: Yes, it was best place to wash the jungle out of you. Lots of beer, sand, sea and sun.
MarkP: KL is an exciting city too, many places of interest to visit - China Town, KL tower, Little India and the central market for all your souvenirs.
backtothePRIMITIVE: How many hours is the plane trip to malaysia?
MarkP: 13 hours non stop from London Heathrow
backtothePRIMITIVE: That's long......... I would go nuts if I had to stay in a plane for that long.
mudvayne487: wow thats along time
backtothePRIMITIVE: And I thought 2 hours to florida was long!
MarkP: Not with free beer and food with films, video games and Nintendo.
backtothePRIMITIVE: Hey, beer's good.
Jon: Finally, Mark, I know you have to go... but I have one last question.
MarkP: OK fire away.
Jon: Were there any difficult moments in the trip, like almost getting eaten by a tiger, falling out of a tree, etc?
Jon: "Adventurous" moments I should say.
MarkP: No this year was reasonably safe, no real worries, but last year I slipped and fell bruising my back.
Jon: Being intoxicated usually makes people fall.. LOL
MarkP: Its Adventurous all the time - no alchohol but lots of bats pi**, which makes you slip.
MarkP: And on a trek into the jungle at Kuantan we ran out of water as the trip was only to be four hours and it was nine, our guides got lost.
Jon: OK Mark, I understand you have to go, so thanks for taking the time to share your experiences in Malaysia with us. It's been a pleasure, we appreciate it!
MarkP: No problem Jon. I enjoyed the company.
mudvayne487: yes, thank u mark...
MarkP: Any last questions from anybody before I go.
backtothePRIMITIVE: Mark, what is the name of your profession?
MarkP: Screen Printer by trade but my hobby is tarantulas.
backtothePRIMITIVE: Oh, cool.
mudvayne487: do you plan on goin on anymore trips anytime soon
MarkP: Yes, next year. Look out for details on the web site: http://www.seriousbite.com
backtothePRIMITIVE: It would be cool to have you again.
mudvayne487: what is your email, so we could keep in touch often
MarkP: Email from the web site.
mudvayne487: ok
backtothePRIMITIVE: How many tarantula species do you keep?
MarkP: Nine.
Jon: It is very early in the morning over in the UK, so thanks for staying up to chat with us Mark, and guys, a transcript is on the way!
MarkP: Thanks for having me Jon, just let me know and we will do this again soon.
Jon: No doubt Mark - good night. :)
mudvayne487: bye mark
MarkP: My pleasure and my wife's - who is typing for me.
Jon: Take care, and thank you Mrs. Pennell!
MarkP: Good night all from Mark and Kim!



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