On February 22, 2012, Hans Breuer took me for a short hike along the edge of Kubah National Park, near Kuching, to see a local population of Flask-shaped Pitcher Plants (Nepenthes ampullaria).
The attractive little ground pitchers of this plant are, in addition to their usual roles as food generators for the plants, home to a fauna of over 50 species of tiny animals, and nurseries for one of the smallest frogs in the world, Microhyla nepenthicola, a new discovery only described in 2010. I was not to meet the frog until a later trip to Sarawak, so for now we will concentrate on the plants themselves.
Because ampullaria does most of its food-gathering at ground level, it has comparatively few aerial, or upper, pitchers. We did find some, though.
A couple of finds on the way home: a dark-morph Changeable Hawk-Eagle (Nisaetus cirrhatus limnaeetus)…
…and the road-killed corpse of a Blue Malaysian Coral Snake (Calliophis bivirgatus), apparently an uncommon species. This was the first that Hans, a snake enthusiast who moved to Borneo specifically to live among these reptiles, had seen - not the way he wanted to encounter it, though a living one would be a bit more of a risk. Though small (up to 140 cm), these snakes are particularly venomous (their venom glands apparently run a third of their body length) and have, in their time, killed people.