26 February 2010

Nature in Singapore: mushrooms, moths and mangrove palm

"Troops of bright sulphur-yellow" mushrooms were seen in our forests in 2008 with as many as 50 found in one area alone. "Prolific flushing" was also seen other locations.
What is this fungus? Find out in Nature in Singapore!

This fungus is reported to be edible with a "mild taste and odour" and is used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat lumbago, leg pains and numbness and to stop bleeding. Extracts of the fungus has also been found to have anti-bacterial properties.

Tham, F. Y. & R. Watling, 2010. Sighting of Pulveroboletus frians (Basidiomycetes: Boletales) at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. Nature in Singapore, 3: 39–43. [PDF, 718 KB]

Meanwhile, Leong Tzi Ming has shared more insights into mysterious moths.

Why is this moth caterpillar so brightly and boldly marked? Find out more in the paper which describes the moth as having "a noticeable, dark brown pattern that somewhat resembled a simple 'smiley face'".
Leong, T. M., 2010. Final instar caterpillar and metamorphosis of Chiasmia ozararia (Walker, 1860), in Singapore (Lepidoptera: Geometridae: Ennominae). Nature in Singapore, 3: 27–31. [PDF, 798 KB]

And what can we learn when we see a pair of mating moths?
Leong, T. M., C. H. S. Low & S. H. Chan, 2010. Encounters with mating pairs of Anisoneura salebrosa GuenĂ©e, in Singapore (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae: Catocalinae). Nature in Singapore, 3: 33–37. [PDF, 1.10 MB]

Meanwhile, Teo Siyang and colleagues have provided the first comprehensive record of the distribution of the Nipah palm (Nypa fruticans) in Singapore.
From the paper, the palm is currently found mainly in the northern parts of Singapore, with most of the populations found in more brackish mangrove forest strips, further inland and away from direct exposure to pure seawater. In fact, the palm has been successfully cultivated in freshwater, such as at the Eco-Lake in the Singapore Botanic Gardens and at Kent Ridge Park.

The authors also highlight that some populations of the palm are threatened by ongoing reclamation at Pulau Tekong. But also make a positive note that the palms at Lim Chu Kang and Berlayar Creek will be protected in the near future with an expansion of the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve and the construction of a mangrove boardwalk through Berlayar Creek as part of the Singapore Park Connector Network programme.

The paper also has fascinating details about the palm's many uses, and identifies some possible pollinators.
Teo, S., W. F. Ang, A. F. S. L. Lok, B. R. Kurukulasuriya & H. T. W. Tan, 2010. The status and distribution of the nipah palm, Nypa fruticans Wurmb (Arecaceae), in Singapore. Nature in Singapore, 3: 45–52. [PDF, 2.09 MB]

Download the papers from Nature in Singapore and learn more about our biodiversity!

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