Salticids, commonly known as jumping spiders, are our focus. We are Team Salticid Borneo (unfortunately, we forgot to prepare T-shirts in advance).
The four of us have come together from different backgrounds to search for salticids. From left to right in the photo, we are: Ch'ien Lee, a wildlife photographer and naturalist based here in Borneo; Edy Piascik, graduate student at the University of British Columbia; myself, with the goofy smile (anticipating cool salticids); and Alex Ang, a musician from Malaysia with an interest in spiders and scorpions.
Edy and I arrived in Kuching, Sarawak, a few days ago. We have experience in looking for salticids, but not Ch'ien and Alex, and so we've been going out on day trips from Kuching as a rehearsal for our foray deeper into Borneo. This also helps us to check out our equipment and recover our field legs. Tomorrow Eddy, Alex and I fly to our main field site, Mulu National Park. Ch'ien will be leaving us, after having helped us set up the expedition and taught us so much about Borneo natural history. My hope is that I've infected him with a love for these spiders.
He's also been taking amazing photos of the jumping spiders we've been collecting during our rehearsal. Here's a stunning portrait of an Agorius, a strange local salticid whose body looks like that of an ant. It's holding up its first pair of legs, the way an ant holds its antennae. Since Ch'ien won't be coming to Mulu with us, don't expect such beautiful photos as this for the remaining posts. But, you'll still be able to see how amazing these creatures are.
Previously in this series:
Text and images © W. Maddison, under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license (CC-BY). Photo of the Agorius is copyrighted by Ch'ien Lee, used with permission.