Asia-Pacific

Ambarella fruit in the Mekong Delta

Ambarella fruit (Spondias dulcis Parkinson; syn.: Spondias cytherea) is native to Melanesia and Polynesia and was introduced worldwide throughout the tropics. Its other common English names are Jew plum and Golden apple. In the Mekong Delta, it is omnipresent in…

Trapping eels in Northern Vietnam

Trapping eels is a simple way for rice farmers in the catchment area of the Red River in North Vietnam to provide themselves with animal protein. No special skills are required, as with angling or net fishing. The activity is…

Edible rock snails in limestone areas of Vietnam

Rock snails of the genus Cyclophorus are highly sought-after wild foods in rocky limestone mountain areas of Vietnam. These snails are not only regarded as food but also as medicine against various ailments. The local Vietnamese name is Ốc thuốc,…

Blowpipe hunting with Orang Asli people in Malaysia

Blowpipe hunting is still prevalent in many Orang Asli communities in Malaysia. Although the government strictly enforces hunting rules and regulations, it is practically impossible to supervise all the remote small hamlets and villages. On the other hand, it is…

Collecting Bibi worms on Koh Lanta

Bibi worms (Sipunculus nudus Linnaeus, 1776) belong to the Peanut worm phylum. They can be dug up at the intertidal zone of flat, sandy beaches on temperate and tropical beaches. These worms are primarily used as top fishing bait. At…

Ginger flowers add zest to food

Ginger flowers are eaten in many Southeast-Asian cultures. In Indonesia, most ginger varieties are known from Siberut Island. The native population of this island has utilized the flowers of Torch Ginger (Etlingera elatior (Jack) R.M. Sm.) since ancient times for…

Young Cassava Leaves provide protein and micronutrients

Young cassava leaves are a regularly eaten side dish for Mentawai people. Cassava (Manihot esculenta, Crantz) is endemic to the southern rim of Amazonia in South America. There, it was domesticated at around 5000 BC. In the 16th century AC,…

Vegetable ferns are a source of nutrients in Siberut

Vegetable ferns (Diplazium esculentum (Retz.)) are among the few wild vegetables Mentawai people in the forests eat regularly on Siberut Island. By Mentawais, they are called ‘Laipat.’ Other wild vegetables are cassava leaves, ginger flowers, taro stalks, and wild eggplants….

Scissor Traps of Thái Đen tribals in Vietnam

Scissor traps are universal traps that can catch all kinds of small rodents. They are easy to produce from bamboo but need one item to be sourced in the villages. These are strips of bicycle tubes, which are not easy…

Bow Traps of Thái Đen tribals in Vietnam

Bow traps are used by Black Thai tribal people in Northern Vietnam to catch small rodents. These ingenious devices are carved from pieces of bamboo and some strings. The closing force of the scissor comes from a bow-like structure above…

Domestic pigs as food by Mentawais

Domestic pigs are a typical gift from a Mentawai family to a shaman for his support or services. In our case, Aman Aru attended a ceremony in a neighboring Uma (family home in the forests), which had to be cleaned…

Deadfall Traps of Thái Đen tribals in Vietnam

Deadfall traps with a Figure-4 trigger are essential knowledge for survivalists and bushcrafters worldwide. Thái Đen (Black Thai) tribal people at Pù Luông Nature Reserve in Northern Vietnam use these traps and the Figure-4 trigger in a modified version. Modifications…

Mentawai forest huts

The Mentawai people at Siberut Island use forest huts (called Sapou by them) for various reasons and purposes. One is a permanent dwelling for single, old men who do not live with their family in the Uma (family home in…

Rattan fruits in Siberut jungles

Rattan fruits are available throughout the year in all Southeast Asian rainforests. There are about 600 different species of rattans, and many of them bear edible fruits. However, rattan prickles are a common nuisance when walking in the jungle. Nevertheless,…

Carrying baskets of Mentawai people

Two types of carrying baskets were used during my stay with the Mentawai people at Buttui on Siberut Island. One, locally called Opa, was fully enclosed on the sides and had an open rattan bottom. The other type was entirely…

Cutting tools at Siberut Island

The cutting tools of Mentawai people living in the forests are adzes, axes, machetes, and one specialized knife. All these tools have a solid historical background and are still used today. During my stay with a Mentawai family in December…

Sago worms of an unidentified species at Siberut Island

Sago worms are one of the food items that come naturally with the Mentawai’s staple food of sago flour. The worms grow in felled palm trunks or destined saplings. They are not worms but larvae and pupae of the Palm…

Domestic chicken as food by Mentawais

Domestic chickens are omnipresent around every Uma (family home) in the forests of Siberut Island. During nighttime, they will be kept in closed coops to protect them from predators like civet cats. While staying with Mentawais, I observed no nesting…

Rattan leaf stalks for coconut grating

Rattan leaf stalks have been, since immortal times, the tools with which Mentawai people have been grating coconuts. These long-lasting tools grate the coconuts into the required size of flakes. When worn out or broken, a new one will be…

Taro – another staple food of the Mentawai people

Taro (Colocasia esculenta (L.) Schott) is one of the three staple food items of the Mentawai people on Siberut Island in Indonesia. The other two are sago and bananas. In many other countries, taro leaves and corms are eaten. Mentawais…

Roasted Sago sticks on Siberut Island

Roasted sago starch is the staple food for Mentawai people living in the moist, tropical forests of Siberut Island, off the coast of Western Sumatra in Indonesia. On the other hand, sago boiled to porridge, is eaten as a staple…

White Ginger Lily for cleaning hands

White Ginger Lily (Hedychium coronarium J. Koenig) belongs to the Zingiberaceae (Ginger) botanical family. Mentawai people use the crushed stem to clean their hands after touching arrow poison or one of its two poisonous main constituents. Plant description The Missouri…

Danger of Asian elephants – whether they are in musth or not

Asian elephants (Elaphas maximus) are smaller than their African cousins but not less dangerous when in musth. That danger was already described for African elephants in this article on this website. In the following, we briefly compare the differences between…

Mentawai arrow poison

The Mentawai people use poison on their arrows to hunt game. In previous articles on this website, we discussed the Mentawai people’s hunting methods. Then, we presented an actual hunt for Flying foxes. We then discussed the longbows used on…

Hunting arrows and quivers of the Mentawai people

Bows and arrows are the primary hunting weapons used by the Mentawai people. Their bows were already described here. This article will explain the different types of arrows used for these bows and give an insight into the quivers used….

Mangrove apples at the Mekong Delta

Mangrove apples are the fruits of Sonneratia sp. trees, one of the important genera of trees in the Mangrove forests of Southeast Asia. All species of Sonneratia will develop edible Mangrove apples. These fruits are slightly different in shape, orientation…

Animal species collected by rice farmers in the Red River Delta

Rice farmers in secluded areas of the Red River Delta in Northern Vietnam need dietary additions to their staple rice dishes. Vegetables are harvested from around their homes and surrounding tropical Evergreen forests. Animal proteins are mainly collected in and…

Natural shampoo from a Soap plant (Gouania leptostachya)

Natural shampoo can be extracted from a variety of plants worldwide. In Lowland evergreen forests in Northern Vietnam, we used the leaves of a so-called Soap Plant. With these leaves, we regularly washed our hands and bodies. In the following,…

Building a specialized fishing boat at Padang

In Indonesia, there exists a wide variety of traditional fishing boat designs. Most of them are variations of standard types, which were adapted to local needs and conditions. And many of them are not systematically described yet. This article tries…

Stinging Nettle Slug Caterpillar in Vietnam

When hiking in Pu Luong Nature Reserve in Northern Vietnam, we found a species of Stinging Nettle Slug Caterpillar on a Banana leaf. My local friends got highly nervous when seeing it and I was intensely warned against touching it….

Boiling water in bamboo

Boiling water in green bamboo stems (‘culms’ would be the botanically correct term) is not a big skill, but it represents the basic cooking technique in Southeast Asian forests. One of the following articles will build on that and will…

Trapping Snakeskin Gourami in the Mekong Delta

Trapping Snakeskin Gourami fish (Trichopodus pectoralis) is commonly done all over Southeast Asia. However, a specific trap for catching them was developed in the Mekong Delta in Vietnam. Its simple principle could be easily applied to many other areas of…

Green-billed Malkoha bird on the spit

The Green-billed Malkoha is a common bird in Vietnam’s semi-deciduous tropical forests. An expedition led to the capture of one who was cooked for lunch. This and other species are often hunted by villagers supplementing their diet with this and…

Catching Octopuses by Sea-Gypsies

Sea-Gypsies, known as Ulak Lawoi or Moken, traditionally catch octopuses along the Andaman Sea’s rocky shores. Using a metal skewer and baited bamboo stick, they locate octopuses in holes with foam or clean pebbles. Patiently baiting them, they impale octopuses…

Mentawai Hunting bows

Hunting bows are the main hunting weapon for the Mentawai people and are very personal items for a hunter. They have great skills in using them and practice shooting from childhood onwards. During my stay with the Mentawais, I looked…

Flying fox hunting

Flying fox hunting remains a prevalent activity in Indonesia, particularly in Sumatra. Aceh, the northernmost province, is the epicenter of the trade in Flying fox meat. Locals believe that this meat possesses qualities to alleviate asthma, although this claim lacks…

Hunting methods of Mentawai people

The hunting methods of the Mentawai people have developed over about 3000 years. Their ancestors were of a Mongolian race that migrated from Taiwan via the Philippines to modern-day Indonesia. They arrived around 1000 BC at Siberut island in West…

Fongaar – not a yam, but kind of sweet potato

Tok ples: Fongaar Scientific name: Ipomoea macrantha Roemer & Schultes Synonyms: Ipomoea tuba (Schlechtend.) G. Don Plant family: Convolvulaceae What is the plant like? The plant has a long angular vine 5 to 6 metres long and it climbs up…

How Mentawai people assemble roof thatching panels

Roof thatching is vital for shelter waterproofing in the Mentawai tribe of around 6,000 people on Siberut Island, Indonesia. Siberut lies about 100 miles (160 km) west of Padang in West Sumatra. Of the 6,000 Mentawai people, roughly 1,000, mainly…

Pitpit – Edible grasses in Papua New Guinea

Three types of pitpit grow in Papua New Guinea: Coastal pitpit The pitpit plant looks like sugarcane to which it is related. Normally the stalk is thinner than sugarcane. It can grow up to 3 metres high and produces suckers…

Wild Karuka and another pandanus fruit species

The Pandanaceae botanical family comprises the following six species in Papua New Guinea: ‘Karuka’ and ‘Marita’ were already discussed on this website in two former articles. ‘Karuka’, see here, and ‘Marita’ see there. In the following, ‘Wild Karuka’ and Pandanus…

Karuka – cultivated pandanus fruits and nuts

Tok Pisin: Karuka Scientific name: Pandanus jiulianettii Two species of pandanus are commonly used for the nuts that are eaten. They are Karuka (Pandanus jiulianettii Martelli) and wild Karuka (Pandanus brosimos Merr & Perry). At least 3 other species of…

Catching Ghost crabs by digging

Ghost crabs (genus Ocypode) comprise 22 different species and they are commonly also called `Sand crabs`. The scientific name Ocypode has got Greek origin and means swift-footed. Generally, Ghost crabs are semi-terrestrial crabs and dig deep burrows in intertidal zones…

Giant Taro – a plant with a giant root

English: Giant taro; Scientific name: Alocasia macrorrhiza (L.) Schott; Synonyms: Alocasia indica (Lour.) Spach; Plant family: Araceae Description of Giant Taro plants A very large herb of the taro family. It has a stout erect trunk up to 4 m…

Neolithic fishhooks in Korea

During the Neolithic Age (8000 BCE – 1400 BCE), people across various regions began to adapt to the evolving natural environment following the Ice Age. This era is characterized by the emergence of earthenware artifacts and groundstone tools, as well…

Marita – a lesser known pandanus fruit

English names: Marita or ‘Red Fruit’ Tok pisin name: Marita Bahasa Indonesia name: Buah Merah Scientific name: Pandanus conoideus Lamarck The marita pandanus plant A short much branched screw pine with many prop roots. The prop roots have prickles. Trees…

Yam varieties in Papua New Guinea

Four species of yam are commonly grown and used for food in Papua New Guinea – but often naming in villages and naming by scientists do not agree. Many village people regard potato yam and 5-leaflet yam as varieties of…

Solomon’s Sago – another Sago palm species

How is this sago different? The Solomon’s sago palm that occurs in the North Solomon province and the Solomon Islands is quite different from the sago that grows in other areas of Papua New Guinea. It has a different scientific…

Sago – staple food in parts of Papua New Guinea

There are two Sago palm species in Papua New Guinea. Metroxylon sagu Rottb. and the other one occurs in North Solomons Province and the Solomon Islands. Its scientific name is Metroxylon salomonense. The sago palm plant The sago palm grows…

Utilizing Horseshoe Crabs as a Food Source

Foreword Horseshoe crabs are a not protected species in Thailand and are experiencing a significant decline. Their primary habitats, particularly the mudflats around mangrove forests, where they live and reproduce, are diminishing, and there is a growing demand for edible…

Using a stomping basket to catch fish in Vietnam

Fishing with a stomping basket is a traditional craft that has been practiced in Vietnam for centuries. Postcards from the French colonial era depict this unique fishing method as a typical way for locals to catch fish. While similar techniques…

Giant Snakehead fishing in Thailand

The Giant Snakehead fish (Channa micropeltes) is a highly aggressive and predatory freshwater fish. Its diet mainly consists of smaller fish, frogs, crustaceans, and other aquatic prey. In Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia, this fish is known as the ‘Toman’ and,…

Mahout training at Lampang province

The National Elephant Institute of the Forest Industry Organization of Thailand conducted mahout training for amateurs near Lampang. This institute was originally established as a training center for elephants working in the timber industry, where they learned how to lift,…

Eating centipedes in Yunnan Province, China

Eating insects and centipedes is a longstanding tradition in Lijiang City, located in Yunnan Province, P.R. China. In addition to centipedes, other insects such as bamboo worms, silkworm pupae, and locusts are also consumed. While they are high in protein…

Semi-Dried Fish in Thailand

In Thailand, both sea and freshwater fish are dried to increase their shelf life for later consumption by humans. Before the advent of refrigeration, the primary method for preventing spoilage was to salt the fish and then leave it in…

Squid bamboo soup from Vietnam

Bamboo is a popular ingredient in traditional Vietnamese cuisine, especially during the year-end meal on the 30th day of the last lunar month of the year. One of the most famous and delicious bamboo soups is the squid bamboo soup…

Description of a speargun for freshwater fishing

In the following, we will briefly describe a specific speargun for freshwater fishing, which I bought from a fisherman in the northern suburbs of Bangkok, Thailand. It is neither as primitive as many of these guns are, nor is it…

Mechanically propelled spears for freshwater fishing

Mechanically propelled spears for freshwater fishing are common all over Thailand. As many people are crafting these devices themselves, there is a wide variety of principles, styles, and designs. Besides homemade spearguns, where every piece is unique, there is also…

Weaver ants got interesting traits

Weaver ants of the genus Oecophylla consist of two different species. One species is Oecophylla longinoda, which occurs in equatorial, tropical African regions. The other species is Oecophylla smaragdina, which is distributed in tropical Asia and Australia. Both of them…

Australian Firesaws

Firesaws are nowadays only known as a traditional fire-making method on Pacific Islands. In Australia these methods were replaced by friction fire hand drills and later – under Western influences – by bow drills. Nevertheless, fire sawing is an interesting…

Salt intake at seashore survival activities

The salt intake of a human in case of either a real survival situation or when living from the provisions of a shoreline by purpose, is of utmost importance to its health. In case too much salt is consumed, there…

Traditional fishing at Inle lake in Myanmar

Traditional fishing at Inle Lake is endemic and very specific to this local environment. Inle Lake is the second largest lake in Myanmar with a size of approximately 50 square miles (abt. 116 km2). During the dry season, the average…

Brief historical overview of man’s use of fire

Mankind’s use of fire goes back an extraordinary length of time. From humble collecting and guarding natural fires to producing fire by sparks or friction took about 1,5 million years. For more than 500,000 years, mankind has been producing fires…

Bamboo shoot harvesting at the Red River

With more than 70 species of bamboo over the country, we can easily find bamboo thickets anywhere in Vietnam. Many of them could nurture one of the most popular and favored vegetarian foods for Vietnamese people, which is bamboo shoot…

Coracles at Duy Hải, near Hoi An, Vietnam

Hoi An is located about 35 km south of Da Nang, which is roughly in the middle of mainland Vietnam. It is one of the most picturesque towns in Vietnam and attracts lots of tourists. Which in turn requires lots…

Indochina Dragon Plums from Hanoi streets

The Indochina Dragon Plum (Dracontomelon duperreanum) is a genus of flowering plants in the family Anacardiaceae. In Vietnamese it is called: chi sấu). Dragon Plums are one of the most popular kinds of trees on the side of Hanoi streets….

Pla Ra – Thailand’s fermented fish condiment

Pla Ra (Thai: ปลาร้า, pronounced [plāː ráː]), is fermented fish. It is the traditional way, Thais in central provinces and the northeast (Isan province) are eating fish and rice. In these rather poor provinces, there is only one rice growing…

Marang fruits in Southeast-Asian Rainforests

There are several local names for the tree and fruits of Artocarpus odoratissimus. In English, it is simply called ‘Marang’, which is based on the Philippines’ common name for the fruit. Originally endemic to the region around Mindanao, Sarawak, Kalimantan,…

Drying meat in Shanghai at wintertime

It is at least a 2000-year-old tradition in many provinces in China to cure and preserve meat in wintertime. Pigs were slaughtered after the ‘Light Snowfall’-date (around Nov 22nd/23rd), when the temperatures were plummeting, and this meat had to be…

Fish ripping in Hanoi, Vietnam

A very common fishing technique in Vietnam is ripping a weighted hook with multiple side arms through still water and hoping to hook unsuspecting fish somewhere on their body. Hooking a fish at the lips with the correct size and…

Fish trapping at a fast-flowing brook in Vietnam

Trapping fish in bamboo traps in Southeast Asia is normally a static affair. These fishing traps will be used in still waters with or without bait inside and checked at least once daily. It was a new experience, to see…

Cashew apples and -nuts in Goa, India

Cashew trees (Anacardium occidentale) are native to areas around Northeastern Brazil. Portuguese colonists brought them around 1560 to Goa, India, from where they spread to Southeast Asia and finally Africa. Therefore, cashew products already have a long history in Goa…

Jujube trees at Ayutthaya in Thailand

The Ayutthaya Historical Park covers the ruins of the old city of Ayutthaya, which was founded already in 850 AD by the Khmer and named after the Hindu holy city of Ajodhya. It was destroyed by the Burmese in 1767…

Cormorant fishing at Li Jiang River in China

Cormorant fishing is an ancient fishing art that dates back at least 1300 years. Today, it is only practiced in the southwestern provinces of China. However, some fishermen are attempting to revive this fishing technique for tourists in water villages…

Chanterelle mushrooms in Thailand

Thai chanterelles, or more specifically Cantharellus minor live in symbiosis with Gurjun trees (Diopterocarpus tuberculatus) in semi-deciduous Southeast-Asian forests. These trees are easy to identify due to their double-winged (dio-ptero) fruits with big seeds. Besides Cantharellus minor, other species of…

Taste of Gaur meat at Kaeng Krachan rainforest

We were on a weeklong trail through the Kaeng Krachan rainforest, near Hua Hin in Thailand, when we tasted Gaur meat. Together with two National Park (NP) rangers, we came across a freshly died Gaur heifer. This Gaur (Bos gaurus)…

Bow drilling in Australia by Gordon Dedman

At the Global Bushcraft Symposium 2022 in the UK, Gordon Dedman presented the bow drilling technique he is teaching in Australia. It is assumed that readers know the basics of bow drill friction fire lighting and I therefore will only…

Hand drill friction fire lighting in Australia

At the Global Bushcraft Symposium 2022 in the UK, Gordon Dedman presented the hand drill friction fire lighting method he is teaching in Australia. As most readers of this topic will know the basic techniques of hand drill friction fire…

Australian friction-fire woods 1

At the Global Bushcraft Symposium 2022 in the UK, Gordon Dedman presented a variety of types of Australian friction-fire wood, which are well suited for friction-fire lighting methods and tinder. The signature friction-fire method, which was exclusively used for many…

Finding True South in the Southern Hemisphere

The Southern Cross, or the Constellation of Crux, – as the name implies – is just visible in the Southern Hemisphere. It consists of the Cross itself and the two pointers, which are Alpha-(Rigil Kent) and Beta-Centauri (Hadar). Finding direction…

Constellation Scorpius at the Southern sky

The Constellation of Scorpius (‘Scorpio’) is a very large constellation, which is visible from May to November in the evening sky of the Southern Hemisphere. It is located directly opposite the Constellation of Orion – and therefore being visible when…

Finding direction with the Constellation of Orion

The Constellation of Orion, or ‘The Hunter’ can be best viewed in the evening skies from November to February. During that time, it holds for both the Northern- and Southern hemispheres. Although Orion is still visible in the night sky…

Spit roasted mid-sized fish in Thailand

Fish longer than about 20 cm and not having a snake-like shape, are typically spit-roasted in Thailand. As seen in the photos below, these are mainly Pla Dabian (Barbonymus gonionotus), Pla Chon (Channa striata), and Pla Sawai (Pangasianodon hypophthalmus) but…

Grill spit for small fish

Grill spit for small fish outdoor cooking on a spit Smaller fish of up to about 20 cm in length are typically put on to a grill spit, which is just a split stick. Often in Thailand, this will be…

Freshwater snails for food

In Thailand, two types of freshwater snails are commonly consumed. The first group is comprised of the larger Apple snails (Pomacea canaliculata), while the other group is simply referred to as Freshwater snails (Sinotaia sp. & Filopaludina sp.). Both of…

Jellyfish for food and its preparation

Edible jellyfish (Aurelia sp.) is called ‘Maeng krapun jarn’ (Gulf of Siam) or ‘Lodchong’ (Andaman Sea) in Thailand. Normally there are about three months a year, where these jellyfish for food preferable appear. During this jellyfish run, sea fishermen earn…

Squid traps in the gulf of Thailand

Squid traps seem to be at first sight a quite natural way of catching these cephalopods throughout South-East Asia in shallow sea waters. Such traps are used in waters about 6 – 15 meters deep and held in between a…

Catching and holding live eels

The Asian swamp eel (Monopterus albus), called Pla Lai in Thailand, is used as a food source and also for offerings to the spirit deities. When still slim and young, eels are sold to the Buddhist local population for doing…

Crab snare at Koh Samui

Simple crab snare for use on a tropical beach A crab snare comes normally in the shape of a bait cage with about six snares around. This set-up is used in combination with either a fishing line and rod or…

Ricefield shrimps for food

Freshwater prawns (Macrobrachium lanchesteri), also called ‘Ricefield shrimps’ or ‘Goong foi’ in the Thai language, live in every permanent water body in Thailand in big numbers. They are the main food source for a variety of fish and other predators,…

Hand lifting net (Yor lek) in Thailand

Small lift net for catching daily meals of freshwater prawns and fish ‘Yor lek’ is a hand lifting net, and means in Thai language something like ‘small lift net’. ‘Yor’ means ‘lift net’ and ‘lek’ means ‘small’. Its big brothers…

Cast net throwing technique

Description of cast nets used in Thailand Cast nets in Thailand are available in different radii models – I prefer such with a radius of 3,5 meters. 3,5 meters from the center of the net to the outer axial rim…

Small catfish got dangerous spines in Thailand

There is a variety of small catfish species with dangerous spines living in Thai waters. One, a very abundant one, is locally called Pla Kod (Hemibagrus wyckioides); English common name: Asian Redtail Catfish; Thai name: ปลากด. The typical length for…

Circumferencing water plants to catch fish

Most Thai water channels, khlongs, and streams are clogged with a variety of water plants, predominantly Common Water Hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes). This invasive species was introduced in 1901 by Thai Royalty from Indonesia and was supposed to be eradicated by…

Hand net fishing

Hand nets, equipment, and technique For hand net fishing, mosquito netting is used to sieve water bodies for rice fields shrimps, and fish fry in Thailand. In order not to lose caught animals, the netting was brought into a deep,…

Crafting a bamboo fish trap in Thailand

Learning the craft of bamboo fish trap weaving Correct English wording for a ‘Lop’ in the Thai language would be ‘Horizontal cylinder trap with entry cone’. It is used for catching a variety of freshwater fish and crustaceans. This includes…

Bank line fishing in Southeast Asia

The term ‘Bank line’ used in English to refer to a string of poles along a water bank is virtually unknown in Southeast Asia. Instead, this fishing method and its equipment are referred to by different names in the region….

Donation of a fish trap collection

A new home for over 100 different fishing traps and implements After leaving Thailand for an assignment in China it was difficult to find the right place for my fish trap collection. Originally, I wanted to open up some kind…

Razor clams collection with quicklime

A mudflat full of razor clams ‘Don Hoi Lot’ is a mudflat in the Thai Province of Samut Songkhram with a size of about 15 km2 (about 9 square miles). ‘Don’ means ‘mudflat’ in English. ‘Hoi’ means ‘clam’ and ‘Hoi…

Harvesting and opening Nipa Palm fruits

Nipa palms (Nypa fruticans) are a species of palms especially adapted to muddy environments of slow-moving tidal waters and mangrove forests and occur in Asia-Pacific tropical climates. And Nipa palm fruits are delicious to eat. Both, fruits, and wooden parts…

Mudskippers for food

In Thailand live a variety of mudskipper species, notably Giant mudskippers (Periophthalmodon schlosseri), Blue-spotted mudskippers (Boleophthalmus boddarti), and others. All of them are amphibious fish, that live on muddy estuary- and tidal brackish river zones all around Asia-Pacific. They live…

Morning glory – a valuable wild vegetable in Asia

Swamp morning glory or Water spinach (Ipomoea aquatica) has a variety of common names, like ‘Kangkong’ in Southeast Asia or ‘Kung Shin Tsai’ in China. It is a staple vegetable food throughout Asia-Pacific. And it is very low in calories…

Heavenly Durian

The fruit Durian (Durio zibethinus) is named after the Malay word ‘Duri’ for ‘Thorn’, referring to the thorny skin, and ‘zibethinus’ obviously refers to its smell. And the most sought-after variety in Malaysia is ‘Musang King’, where ‘Musang’ means ‘Palm…

Bamboo fence fish traps around Tonlé Sap lake

In many areas on the biggest Cambodian lake, its tributary river and Mekong flood plains, permanent bamboo fence fish traps, or more appropriately named: catching structures, are erected and operated. The leader fence, guiding fish into the inner compartments of…

Spear shafts from grass tree stalks

Grass trees (Xanthorrhoea sp.) and grass tree stalks are endemic to Australia. They are locally called ‘Black Boys’ due to their appearance after bushfires. They need a certain number of regular fires for their survival and are well protected against…

Spinifex grass – friend and foe

The common name ‘Spinifex grass’ is not fully correct as a botanical term for discussed grasses, as commonly named ‘Spinifex’ grasses belong to the genus ‘Triodia’, whereas the genus ‘Spinifex’ itself contains mainly coastal grasses. Whatever it is, the common…

Spotting a magnificent sand monitor (Goanna)

Description of Goannas The Australian sand monitor (Varanus gouldii) is also called Gould’s monitor or colloquially ‘Goanna’. There are two different subspecies: Varanus gouldii gouldii and Varanus gouldii flavirufus (which is a smaller-sized subspecies). V. gouldii gouldii is distributed nearly…

Eating a sand monitor lizard (Goanna)

In the former article,g I described seeing a majestic sand monitor lizard very close by on my drive from Menzies to Sandstone on a side road. Driving further on I was surprised to see many more Goannas left and right…

Ant hills for building materials in Australia

Although they are commonly referred to as “Ant hills,” particularly in Australia, the structures in question are actually “Termite hills.” Despite their physical similarities to ants, termites are related to cockroaches rather than ants. However, like ants, they are small…