03 October 2012

Exotic parrots and fishes; and feather star-crab

These introduced birds are pretty, but what impact do they have on our native wildlife?
These and other fascinating articles have been uploaded on Nature in Singapore of the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research.

Alien invaders are emerging as an important driver of biodiversity changes. Using three introduced parrot species as case studies, viz. Cacatua goffiniana, Cacatua sulphurea, and Psittacula alexandri, this review suggests that alien birds in Singapore are poorly studied and much of their ecological impacts remain undocumented. Although, these parrots do not appear to have caused apparent ecological impacts, they have the potential to pose problems in the long-term. This paper finally discusses possible management inventions to address exotic species in Singapore.

Read more in Neo, M. L., 2012. A review of three alien parrots in Singapore. Nature in Singapore, 5: 241–248. [PDF, 440 KB]

There's also more about six species of cichlid fishes recorded from Singapore based on single or few specimens. They are believed to be discarded pets or escapees, and there is as yet no evidence of them having established self-sustaining populations in Singapore’s waterways.
Read more in Liew, J. H., H. H. Tan & D. C. J. Yeo, 2012. Some cichlid fishes recorded in Singapore. Nature in Singapore, 5: 229–236. [PDF, 907 KB] 

An interesting crab Harrovia longipes that lives in a feather star has been found. It was last recorded from Singapore waters in the 1990s, and there had been no collections or reported sightings since then. The present record shows that it is still found in its type locality where it appears to be uncommon.
Read more in Tan, H. H., 2012. A recent Singapore record of the crinoid crab, Harrovia longipes Lanchester (Crustacea: Brachyura: Pilumnidae). Nature in Singapore, 5: 237–240. [PDF, 670 KB]

Also a fascinating insight into the history of the recently rediscovered 'Neptune's cup sponge'. It was the the first species of sponge to be described (and recorded) from Singapore, in 1822 when it was described as a 'sponge plant' and "gigantic in all its parts" thus "a more appropriate specific distinction may perhaps be given to this, in denominating it Spongia patera, the goblet sponge." Another interesting historical feature is that the year 1819, when the 'sponge plant from the shores of Singapore', Cliona patera, was first 'unveiled' to the world at the Asiatic Society‘s meeting holds other significance—it was the year of the founding of the modern state of Singapore (Corlett, 1992: 411).
The article highlights how the rediscovery of this sponge and "as several recent publications show, the habitats in and around Singapore waters continue to yield many natural history surprises.

Read more in Low, M. E. Y., 2012. The date of publication of Cliona patera (Hardwicke), the ‘sponge plant from the shores of Singapore’ (Porifera: Hadromerida: Clionaidae). Nature in Singapore, 5: 223–227. [PDF, 358 KB]

This is just a selection of some of the many fascinating paper on the Nature in Singapore website of the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, the National  University of Singapore. 

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