Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Malaysian Rainforest Realm

Are all scorpions poisonous? Why do scorpions glow under a black light?

What enables a gecko to hang outside down from the ceiling or any other surface?

Which animal makes the distinctive 'Tok, Tok, Tok-Eh' call heard at night in cabins near forest edges?

Wish to know more?

You can find simple and easy to understand answers from this Malaysian produced book.

Book Title: The Malaysian Rainforest Realm, Fascinating Facts in Q&A
Authors: Dr Ghazally Ismail & Salina Ghazally
Published by: Marshall Cavendish Editions
Retail Price: RM70.00

This fun nature book is easy to read and digest. Very simple, general, non technical and with colorful pictures. 

The focus of this book is on our Malaysian rainforest and its flora and fauna.  The contents are divided into sections: Forest Environment, Lower Plants, Higher Plants, Invertebrate Fauna, Reptilia, Amphibia, Birds and Mamalia.

A great book for school teachers, nature guides, school kids, nature educators, etc. This is its first edition published this year. So far, I only discovered a tiny weeny error in one of its pages in labeling the names with the correct pictures.

I found this one and only book by chance in Popular Bookstore in Alor Setar, Kedah. If I can find this in such a place, I am very sure you can find this in any bookstores in Klang Valley. Or perhaps you may want to wait for its second edition after they had rectified the error.


  1. Hehehe Just for fun I wanna attempt at answering these questions!

    1)Until Now no one knows why Scorpions glow under UV light. It does help scientist pick them up though!
    (should we bring a portable UV light when camping? )

    2)All scorpions are poisonous, I think.
    And the strength of their poison is inversely related to the size of their pincers!
    i.e- Smaller pincers, more poisonous as they need less brawn to subdue their prey.

    (these facts do not change the reality that no ones gonna feel braver on seeing a bigger pincer!!!!)

    Interesting fact, Scorpions of the same species are not immune to their own poison.

    so when males and females of the same kind do the TANGO during courtship, they keep their stingers well out of the way!

    3)Geckos, house lizards have toe-pads that actually house microscopic 'hairs' that displaces air from beneath their toes, essentially creating a vacuum effect (think bathroom suction hooks) and they depend on atmospheric pressure to glue themselves into place. (that's the theory on Smooth surfaces!)

    On rough surfaces... hmmm, They have good rubbery grip? hohoho...

    4)tok Tok TOk is the trumpet call of the TOK-ay Gecko!

    *do correct me if I'm mis-informing everyone

  2. I wish I could get a copy to raffle off for 'the cause'next week....any chance you have a signed copy???

  3. Lovely pics. Shall look out for the book in the bookstores.

  4. Hi Raoul,
    Wah... very good try ...
    Answer to your questions:
    1) Yes! UV light does help the scientist to pick the scorpion up. This is what the book says:
    Under normal lighting a scorpion appears black but when exposed to certain wavelengths of ultraviolet light, such as that produced by a black light, they glow due to the presence of fluorescent chemicals in the cuticle. The principal fluorescent component is now known to be beta-carboline. A handheld UV lamp has been a standard tool for nocturnal field surveys of these animals.

    2) Yes. all scorpions are poisonous. All species of scorpions possess venom that is generally neurotoxic. However, this book didn't mention about the size of pincers determine the strength of the venom.

    3) Yes and no. the vacumm effect on the gecko's microscopic hairs on surface is outdated theory. Here's this one:
    Each foot is covered with half a million of microscopic filaments, called setae, from each of which sprout more than a thousand cauliflower-like fibres known as spatulae. When these spatulae spread out, they are so close to the surface that a tiny charge is generated between the molecules on the fibres and those on the surface they are hanging on to. The two surfaces are drawn to each other by Van der Waal's forces whereby the positive pole of one molecule attracts the negative pole of the other. This is further enhanced by the gecko's ability to attach and peel off their feet at a rapid rate of fifteen times per second while running. The molecular force produced is so strong that one foot on glass, with its millions of spatulae all generating molecular force, can support 40 kilogrammes of weight.

    4)Almost there... one more note ie #kay

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Raoul.

  5. Hi Jungle girl;
    I wish i have a signed copy...

    I'm promoting their book for free... (silly, i know)

    Hi Keats the Sunshine Girl;
    Thanks. You mean my pictures?? hee...hee...

  6. Thanks for the info! Van der Waals forces. HOLY!
    The pinnacle of evolution for this adaptation, I presume.. It Must be really interesting to examine all the other adaptations available in nature to trump gravity, before they arrived at this juncture.


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