Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Malaysia (2009)

Date of issue: December 7th, 2009
Name of issue: Arachnids
Number of arachnid stamps in issue: 5/5

This is an oustanding series, Malaysia went to town on this one. The art work is great and the attention to details is right there to make this one of the best arachnid series ever!

This was issued for stamp week 2009. That yearly event is meant to promote the hobby of stamp collecting. The even issued an "Arachnid Passport" (see below in this post).

My only little gripe is with the taxonomical change for the first stamp that was done before the date of issue of 2009.

Here is the information from the official booklet of the postal services (please note that the information about the animals may or may not be accurate, I am simply re-typing the information).

Arachnids are the class of animals from the Arthropods (animals with joined limbs) characterized by the possession of four pairs of legs and two major body regions; the cephalothorax (a fusion of the head and thorax) and the abdomen. In this class are the scorpions, spiders, ticks and mites.

Spiders are the largest order of arachnids. Spiders are found worldwide on every continent (with the exception of Antarctica). To date, approximately 40000 spider species and 109 families have been recorded. The spiders of Malaysia can be in a variety of colour, size and forms. On the other hand, only five species of scorpions can be found in Malaysia and they are generally nocturnal. They are known to feed on insects and millipedes

Curved spiny spider (Gasteracantha arcuata)

Spiders of the Gasteracantha genus build vertical orb-webs with an open hub which are easily recognized. The have a hard, flat body armed with three pairs of spines on the edge of the abdomen. These spiders vary greatly in colour, shape and size, measuring between 2-30 mm. They have eight eyes arranged in horizontal rows of four eyes each. The males are generally much smaller than the females and commonly lack the showy colouring of their fairer sex. They often spin their own similar orb web near an outlying portion of the female's.

Michel #: ?
Scott #: 1274
order: Araneae
family: Araneidae
*Macracantha arcuata (Fabricius, 1793)
Gasteracantha arcuata (on stamp)

Fighting spider (Thiania bhamoensis)

Males of this species readily fight each other and they are therefore commonly known as "fighting spider" in Southeast Asia. Children especially are familiar with the pastime of keeping these spiders in matchboxes and enjoying fighting bouts between two males. The spider build a nest, often in the spider lily plant, by binding two leaves together with vertical strands of silk, perpendicular to the leaf surfaces. This spider is not an active hunter, but tends to remain in wait near the nest for the prey to stray within leaping distance.

Michel #: ?
Scott #: 1275
order: Araneae
family: Salticidae
Thiania bhamoensis Thorell, 1887

St. Andrew's Cross spider (Argiope versicolor)

These spiders make webs which are suspended vertically 1-2 metres from the ground, in sunny parts of the forest. The web of mature female spiders of this genus can be easily recognised by the X-shape zigzag bands of white silk in the centre of the web. The brilliantly coloured spider with silvery hair on the carapace sis head down in the centre of the web, and holds its legs in pairs in such a way that they appear alligned to the four arms of the letter 'X'. The males are dull in colour and like the females, have the habit of pairing their legs. The flat, oval, whitish egg-cas has a papery texture and is often suspended near the web.

Michel #: ?
Scott #: 1276
order: Araneae
family: Araneidae
Argiope versicolor (Doleschall, 1859)

Golden orb-web spider (Nephila maculata)

This spider is commonly found in primary and secondary forests and gardens. Females are large and grow to a body size of 30-50mm, with males growing to 5-6mm. The female spins a strong, vertical web with a golden tinge. The web is not a symmetrical orb, but the hub (centre) is usually nearer the top. Sometimes, the main orb-web of the spider is protected by barrier webs on both sides. The male of this species is much tinier than the female. Before laying eggs, the female digs a pit on the ground and produces her egg-sac there. The egg-sac is then covered with plant debris and soil.

Michel #: ?
Scott #: 1277
order: Araneae
family: Nephilidae
Nephila maculata (cannot find in catalogue)

The fifth stamp of this series is on a souvenir sheet, is very oddly shaped and the scorpion is embossed. On that same sheet, we also find a favourite of the tarantula hobby Cyriopagopus schioedtei.

Black scorpion (Heterometrus longimanus)

Black scorpions (Heterometrus longimanus), one of the largest scorpions in Southeast Asia are nocturnal. During the day, they try to find cool areas to sleep, like inside of holes or under rocks. During the night, they come out to find food to eat as much as other arachnids and insects; using their pincers or inject it with venom, causing death. They usually won't attack a human. If one of these scorpions bites a person, the worse that will happen is swelling about thesame effect as a bee sting. The female scorpion usually has a larger body than the male, although males usually has larger pincers. Animals that want these scorpions for their prey include birds, centipedes, lizards and rats.

Michel #: ?
Scott #: 1278
order: Scorpiones
family: Scorpionidae
Heterometrus longimanus (Herbst, 1800)

Souvenir sheet:

Crops from souvenir sheet:

The Malaysian Earth tiger tarantula (Cyriopagopus schioedtei)

The Malaysian Earth Tiger tarantula is an extremely aggressive yet magnificient tarantula with trademark tiger stripes on its abdomen and long red hairs on its legs. It feeds on various insects and can grow to about 22cm leg span and a carapace length of above 3 cm. It dwells primary in the lowland and foothill of forests where it lives in hollow trees many meters up. Adult females are almost entirely found in large mature trees, but younger animals can be found behind loose bark, in rock crevices and in man made structures.

Michel #: none
order: Araneae
family: Theraphosidae
Cyriopagopus schioedtei (Thorell, 1891)

Michel #: none
order: Araneae
family: Nephilidae (?)

Full sheets:

"Arachnid Passport":


Page 1

Page 2-3

Page 4-5

Page 6-7

Page 8-9

Page 10-11

Page 12-13

Misc. back pages

Information booklet:


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