Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Laos Spider Symposium 2012

I attended the symposium in Pakse last year which focused on spiders within the South East Asian region. The event was organized by Peter Jaeger from Sackenberg with the help of some others. The most interesting thing about the symposium is that it was organized in a very informal manner. No chairman, no grand opening ceremony and no ribbon-cutting VVIP. We had some ice breaking session and the presentations went one after another. It was marvelous, cheap and practical. A very nice approach.

Many of the presentations are very exciting. The topics range from ecology, diversity, conservation, embryology, genetics,and one dude talked about photography. That was me, doing my second talk.

Founding members of the Asian Society of Arachnology.

Peter Koomen, Mustakiza, Patchanee, me, Mogana, Kamil, Gokula
The symposium was held in Arawan hotal in Pakse. It was the largest hotel in the nice little town at the southern province of Laos. Not many people are talking about Laos, even less considering to go there. There is probably not many things to do there it is certainly a good place to look for spiders. The meeting in Pakse also marked the formation of the Asian Society of Arachnology.

Manju from India, talking about tarantulas.
On the third day the delegates went to Wat Phou, a heritage site where there are ancient temples of earlier civilization. The arachnologists spent more time looking at the bushes than the relics. We visited some other places of interest which brought us to cross the Mekong river on a barge. 

This won't get you across the Mekong very quickly.

Dinner in a place I forgot what the name was.

On the fourth day we moved to the excursion site in Tad Etu which has a beautiful waterfall. The bunch of insane scientists spent days and nights doing collection in the area. I spent most of the time with Peter Koomen who is working on salticids in Sabah, Joseph Koh who is writing a book on spiders in Brunei and David Court whose primary interest is in mygalomorphs, thomosids and scytodids. 

A green lynx spider Peucetia sp. found where we were having lunch.

The two Olympus users. Peter has the OM-D though.

Most of the photos I took during this trip were taking using the waterproof camera Olympus TG-1. I found it most convenient to use a small compact that can be tucked in a pouch since there was a lot of traveling in this trip. The camera can take decent macro too and proved to be a very useful utility gear. I brought the E-30 with Zuiko Digital 50mm f/2.0 but did not use it very often as expected.

Here are some of the spiders I photographed during the excursion. I spent more time exchanging knowledge and understanding their ways of studying spiders hence the trip was not much of a photography bonanza.

Many debates on what this is but I suspect it is a lycosid from genus Hippasa.

One of the good thing having a waterproof camera.

Very small theridiid.

Amyciaea lineatipes feeding on a weaver ant.

A beautiful green theridiid.

A beautiful crab spider which later collected by David.

Peucetia lynx spider with emerging spiderlings.


  1. Amazing!
    Laos is now added into my travelling list.

  2. Assalamualaikum En. Ridzwan.
    Saya Siti Aishah Binti Mhd Isa.
    Saya ada perkara hendak meminta pertolongan dari encik.
    Saya x jumpa email atau cara untuk menghubungi encik.
    saya berbesar hati sekiranya encik email saya di
    terima kasih banyak encik :)