Saturday, May 31, 2008

A moment that took me back to 1980's

Several fishing boats at Teluk Kumbar, a fishing village that well known with its 'prawn noodles'

I'm at my hometown, Penang, right now. Just arrived from Terengganu yesterday afternoon. Felt happy to see my children shook hands and kissed their grandparents. The tradition of respect the olders is still goes on, thanks God.

Yesterday evening, my father, a fisherman, told me that there were a lot of people at the beach trying their luck to search for the seashells. I then went to the beach with my brother and took several photos. When I was at the beach, I recalled back what I had done there years ago, around 1980's and early 1990'a (before I continue my study at University Putra Malaysia 1n 1992. Yes, I did the same with what the people did at the beach, searching for 'kepah', 'gayam', 'remis', 'barai', 'lala', 'kerang' and several others seashells. I still remember the tools that being used in order to find the seashells in the sand - broken woks, rakes, sievers, hoes or coconut shells.

Some of the seashells that being caught by a lady (the palm is mine,).

The other memory then comes again. When I was in the University, as a Diploma of Fisheries student, I had to take the 'Fundamental Biology' paper, and part of the syllibus of this paper was about living fossils. I'm shocked to see that two of the living fossils could be found here, at the beach where I am standing. What are they? They are 'belangkas' or horseshore crabs, the arthropoda and the 'barai' which we here taught it is a kind of seashells but actually not. It is actually fall under class Lingulata (Phylum Brachiopoda). I asked the lady about the 'barai' either they still could be found now, she said that she can't found it since years ago. Are the 'barai' extinct already? Hope this living fossil is still there.

I'll discuss a little bit about the animals mentioned above below.

'Barai' = Lingula sp.
Lingula is a genus of brachiopods within the class Lingulata. Lingula is among the few brachiopods surviving today but also known from fossils over 50 million years old.

Lingula sp. (Barai) - page/2/)

Scientific classification
Kingdom : Animalia
Phylum : Brachiopoda
Class : Lingulata
Order : Lingulida
Family : Lingulidae
Genus : Lingula

Species : L. adamsi
L. anatina
L. dregeri
L. eocenica
L. parva
L. reevii
L. rostrum
L. tenuis
L. translucida
L. tumidula
L. waikatoensis

Belangkas = Horseshoe crab

Despite its name, it is more closely related to spiders, ticks, and scorpions than to crabs.

Scientific classification
Kingdom : Animalia
Phylum : Arthropoda
Subphylum : Chelicerata
Class : Merostomata
Order : Xiphosura
Family : Limulidae
Genus : Limulus
Species : L. polyphemus

Binomial name
Limulus polyphemus
Linnaeus, 1758

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

2008 MNS State Education Coordinators Meeting and Workshop

The author with a Rafflesia flower.

Last January, I went to My Gopeng Resort, near Gopeng, in the state of Perak, to attend the annual meeting of the State Education Coordinators organized by Malaysian Nature Society. This meeting was being conducted with the co-operation by the Ministry of Education Malaysia. The participants for this 3 days 2 night meeting were MNS officers, MNS State Education Coordinators (all are full time school teachers) and State Co-Curricular Center officers from various states. The meeting had been held at My Gopeng Resort and Kampung Ulu Geroh from 25 to 27 January, 2008.

The agendas for this meeting were presentation of reports regarding 2007 School Nature Clubs programmes by the MNS HQ and the coordinators; the discussion about the programmes need to be done this year; activities with Semai community (indegenious people), and environmental education workshop.

Report presentation by the author.

We were being brought by several guides to visit the Raflesia flowers at Bukit Pacat (Leech's Hill) area. We were very lucky to see several Rafflesia's buds and two bloomed Raflesia flowers. On the way to the Raflesia's site, which took about one hour jungle trekking and hill hiking, we were given some information by the guides (one of them was Ngah, a friendly guide for my group) regarding the flora and fauna of the area. On the way back to the Semai's village at Ulu Geroh, we stopped for a while at the Rajah Brooke Birdwing Butterflies area.

At the village,we were given the chances to try the 'blow pipe'(the hunting weapon) and the target were several balloons. The community then served us with several traditional food such as fern shoots, smoked fish, tapioca crackers etc. The Semai community members also taught us about their traditional games and their spiritual dance.

The author is trying to use the blow pipe.

The author with an MNS officer (with head scaft) and Semai kids.

On the third day of the meeting, all the coordinators then gave a short briefing about the programmes that being planned for this year.

After a short closing ceremony, we left the meeting and workshop with lot of memories.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Loepa megacore of SK Kuala Jengal

Yesterday afternoon, a student of mine told me that he saw a big butterfly attaching itself to a palm tree beside the school's hall. I then went to the site and told the boy that the creature is actually a moth.

The moth that being found yesterday.

I think this is a Loepa megacore moth, which the taxonomy of the moth is as follow:

Kingdom: Animalia - Linnaeus, 1758 - animals
Phylum: Arthropoda - Latreille, 1829 - arthropods
Class: Insecta - Insects
Order: Lepidoptera - Butterflies, Moths
Family: Bombycoidea
Genus: Loepa
Specific name: megacore Jordan 1911
Scientific name: Loepa megacore Jordan 1911

another taxonomy that I found in the internet for this moth is as follow:

Family: Saturniidae
Sub-family: Saturniinae
Name: Loepa megacore Jordan, 1911

and may be this is the complete one:

Kingdom: Animalia - Linnaeus, 1758 - animals
Phylum: Arthropoda - Latreille, 1829 - arthropods
Class: Insecta - Insects
Order: Lepidoptera - Butterflies, Moths
Superfamily: Bombycoidea Latreille, 1802
Family: Saturniidae Boisduval, [1837] 1834
Subfamily: Saturniinae Boisduval, [1837] 1834
Tribe: Saturniini Boisduval, [1837] 1834
Genus: Loepa Moore, 1859
Scientific name: Loepa megacore Jordan, 1911

Members of the genus Loepa:

There are approximately 25 species and subspecies in this genus: L. anthera · L. damartis · L. diversiocellata · L. dogninia · L. formosensis · L. formosibia · L. javanica · L. katinka · L. kuangtungensis · L. megacore · L. mindanaensis · L. minhassae · L. miranda · L. oberthuri · L. obscuromarginata · L. sakaei · L. septentrionalis · L. sikkimensis · L. sikkma · L. sivalensis · L. sivalica · L. taipeishanis · L. vandenberghi · L. wlingana · L. yunnana

19 May 2008, 9.09 am

Monday, May 19, 2008

Sweet memory at Tanjung Tuan....a place for migratory raptors

Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) with the co-operation of Ministry Of Education Malaysia, organized the 2008 Eastern Zone School Nature Clubs Camp on 14 to 16 March. This camp was for the Kelab Pencinta Alam members from Terengganu, Kelantan and Pahang. It was being held at Ilham Resort, Tanjung Tuan, Port Dickson in concurrent with 2008 Raptor Watch Week. The Eagle Ranch Resort, Port Dickson was chose to be the lodging for the participants.

The author at Eagle Ranch Resort

With Maya Karin the actress, Y.Bhg Dato Hashim, MNS Vice President and two KPA teacher advisors from Terengganu.

With a young python

With 'Ms. Siti', the Green Turtle Ambassador of a private college.

A student of mine is holding a flower crab, (Portunus pelagicus)that being caught during the marine fauna sampling activities.

While setting up the telescope for the astronomy session.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Odonata .....the mosquito eater?

This morning, around 8.50 a.m (13 May 2008), when I was in the library, a friend of mine told me that there was a big dragonfly fluttering and then attached itself to the wall of the school's office. Without wasting time, I took my camera and run towards the insect. Yapp, it's really a big dragonfly, an insect under the Order Odonata.

My pupils then helped me to catch the creature and they managed to do so after several minutes. I measured the length of the abdomen, wings, legs and its compound eyes. The weight of the dragonfly also being taken. The descriptions of this insect are as follows:

number of wings : 2 pairs
length of abdomen : 6.5 mm
length of right fore wing : 8.5 cm (same to left fore wing)
length of right hind wing : 8.0 cm (same to left hind wing)
length of leg : 2.0 cm
weight : 5 g
special feature : wings with brown spot

I can't identify the scientific name or local name of the dragonfly. Does it fall under the family of Libellulidae? Is this a skimmer dragonfly?

Dragonflies are insects that fall under the order Odonata. These conspicuous and brightly coloured insects have long, slender abdomen and known as aerial
predators, hunting by sight.

* For those who wants to know more about dragonfly, please surf

13 May 2008

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Student Facilitators Training at Ma'Daerah Turtle Sanctuary

The last two days (8 and 9 May) were spent at the Pusat Santuari Penyu Ma'Daerah, Kerteh. Acted as the coordinator for the students training session regarding the sea turtle conservation at the sanctuary, I got about 4 secondary school students from SMK Paka and 8 primary school pupils from SK Kuala Jengal to be trained as Student Facilitators. This programme had been scheduled for them because they had been selected as Turtle Ambassadors for two National Level School Nature Club (Kelab Pencinta Alam) Annual Camp. The first will be held at Tanjung Piai Resort and Taman Negara Tanjung Piai, Johore (located at the most southern tip of mainland Asia) in July while the second will be held at Taman Negara Kuala Koh, Kelantan in October/November. The Tanjung Piai programme is for secondary school Kelab Pencinta Alam members while the Kuala Koh programme is for primary school Kelab Pencinta Alam members.

Back to the training programme, it had been organised by the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS), and being co-organised by the Department of Fisheries and Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Paka. Together with the student facilitators were another 30 SMK Paka students that acted as the 'participants for the facilitators'. On behalf MNS, I'll like to thanks the sanctuary staffs, my volunteers and teachers that contributed their time and energy for this programme. To Pn Zahani of SMK Paka, En. Mohd Nor Azizi and En. Amer Salihin of SK Kuala Jengal, Pn Suzani of SBT Tuition Centre (Paka) and En. Azri of Ecocare, thanks for your support. To Education Department of MNS especially Ms. Evelyn, thanks for all efforts that being done to make the training a reality one.

Several activities had been done during the programme such as ice-breaking, group identification activities, simple physical exercise activities, talks on sea turtle conservation and marine ecosystems, sea turtle monitoring activities, nature crafts and BBQ. The participants also being introduced to simple sand and air temperature monitoring activities. Beside that, the facilitators also being brought to the beach for night patrolling session (12 a.m to 3 a.m) and we walked along the 1.7 km beach. Unlucky, there were no turtles came to lay their eggs that night.  However, the facilitators being given the chanches to measure the distance of a green turtle nest (that laid its eggs on the 7 of May) from the high tide water level and from the low tide water level.

The training programme than being continued with beach clean-up and nature crafts activities. The participants had shown their creativities through the 'shells collage' and 'rubbish fashion show' activities. The programme than being closed at 11.30 am with full of memories to be remembered by the participants (I hope so) and one of the memories is the 'chicken dance'.

I also managed to collect several signatures for the UMT's Turtle Research and Rehabilitation Group (formerly known as SEATRU of KUSTEM) campaign on 'I pledge not to eat sea turtles and terrapins eggs for the rest of my life'. Thanks to Prof Chan Eng Heng, the sea turtle expert of UMT for giving me the chances  to collect the signatures on behalf of her and her group.

I am hoping that through this programme, the participants will dissiminate the knowledge they gained regarding the sea turtles to other people. Hope the sea turtles will have better future.  

To all mothers around the world, Happy Mother's Day.