04 March 2010

Jumping spiders' jig, counting colugos and more in the latest Raffles Bulletin of Zoology

Our jumping spiders in love: what do they do to attract a mate? The latest edition of the Raffles Bulletin of Zoology has a fascinating paper on this.

The study found these iridescent and lively spiders do a kind of zigzag dance. Also some kind of butt display. And males seem to sniff out the ladies before they actually see them! Read more "Intraspecific interactions Asemonea tenuipes, a lyssomanine jumping spider (Araneae: Salticidae) from Singapore." Yilin Tay and Daiqin Li. Pp. 113-124. [pdf, 590 KB]

How many colugos are in our forests?
It's tricky to try to count something that glides hide up in the trees and is only active at night. In fact, as Norman shares in his paper, "Despite their discovery roughly 200 years ago, colugos attracted relatively little scientific attention" and "no colugo has been surveyed in tropical forest habitats".
Colugo (Cenopcephalus variegatus)
Norman shares a method of estimating the population of these elusive creatures. Which translated to about 1,000 colugos in about 2,000 hectares of protected forests in Singapore. Wow! Norman, however, highlights that the continued presence of colugos depends on protection of our forests. From Norman's study, colugos can be 'reliably found' only in the Central Catchment Nature Reserve and Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. There have also been sightings in peripheral forested areas. Read more "Population assessment methods for the Sunda Colugo Galeopterus variegatus (Mammalia: Dermoptera) in tropical forests and their viability in Singapore." Norman T-L. Lim and Peter K. L. Ng. Pp. 157-164. [pdf, 237 KB]

A new species of soft coral is described from Singapore!
It is Cladiella hartogi and was found at Pulau Hantu and other Southern locations.
The paper also shares information about other soft corals found on our shores. Sadly, the study suggests that "the fleshy octocoral fauna of Singapore is rather impoverished compared to other reefs in the region." Read more "On some Octocorallia (Cnidaria: Anthozoa: Alcyonacea) from Singapore, with a description of a new Cladiella species." Y. Benayahu and L. M. Chou. Pp. 1-13. [pdf, 913 KB]

Changi Point Beach is a fish nursery!
There is not much information on fish ecology of shallow coastal habitats in Singapore. This study shows that although impacted, Changi Point Beach appears to be a nursery area and supports a large diversity of fish species. 75 fish species from 45 families were found here, a larger number than other similar coastal habitats in Singapore. This includes several species which are economically important as a food resource. The study concludes that Changi Point Beach should be conserved because habitats there still perform important ecological functions. Appropriate coastal management is suggested to prevent further habitat degradation. Read more "Diel variations and diversity of fish communities along the unreclaimed shallow coastal habitats of Changi Point Beach, Singapore." J. T. B. Kwik , P. Z. Chen, P. K. L. Ng and T. M. Sin. Pp. 125-135. [pdf, 156 KB]

What fishes were in the Singapore River before the Marina Barrage came into effect?
And how will the fishes be affected by the increasingly fresh water?
A survey in 2005 found 139 fishes in 57 families. The study also provided a list of possible fishes that would survive in freshwater without access to the sea. Read more "Fishes of the Marina Basin, Singapore, before the erection of the Marina Barrage." Tan Heok Hui, Martyn E. Y. Low and Kelvin Lim Kok Peng. Pp. 137-144. [pdf, 67.0 KB]

There's lots of other interesting papers in the Bulletin, including one on an intriguing shrimp that looks like a snail!

You can download all the papers from the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research website! RBZ 58(1): 1–172. 28 February 2010.

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