Whilst radio tracking binturongs during her  research at Maliau in Sabah, Miyabi Nakabayashi discovered that one of her radio-tagged binturongs was feeding on ripe figs in a Ficus annulata fig growing in a swampy area near the Maliau Field Studies Centre.

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When we visited Maliau, the Ficus annulata  fig was not fruiting. As can be seen in the photo above the F. annulata fig is growing on the remnants of a small dead tree in a swampy area covered in lallang grass, next to the main road about 500m  from the Maliau Basin Study Centre.  Note that the dead tree trunk is much larger than the roots of the fig.

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The host tree has died and only the foliage of F. annulata can be seen.
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Ficus annulata leaves and stipules are very distinctive and easy to recognize.


Whilst looking for  signs of fruiting we were lucky enough to find  a Bornean Falconet eating a praying mantis  on a dead twig right at the top of the original host tree surrounded by Ficus annulata leaves. Bornean Falconets are often found in swampy areas because they are specialist feeders on dragonflies  which are most common in swamps. Bornean Falconets are  endemic to Sabah and the smallest birds of prey in the world.
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Although this plant looks like a tree it is actually a  hemi-epiphytic liana fig using a tree as a host for support. The host is dead  probably as a result of competition for nutrients by the root of the liana. The support root of the fig does not look strong enough yet to support itself if the dead tree comes crashing down. Fallen strangling figs are quite commonly encountered in the forests of Borneo. However in forested areas  herbivores such as deer and elephants eat the leaves of  strangling figs, so fallen figs are unlikely to survive very long.