21 March 2012

New records of civet, crabs and other critters on Nature in Singapore

Exciting biodiversity discoveries! Such as the first confirmed sighting of the Malay civet!
Also new records of crabs, a cicada and observations of animals mimicking ants, about our urban grasshoppers and crickets and more! Some from very accessible areas like Changi and Pasir Ris.

The Malay civet (Viverra tangalunga) in Singapore is confirmed based on a camera-trap photo taken in Jan.2012, at the MacRitchie Reservoir forest, Central Catchment Nature Reserve. The possibility of it being an escapee from the Singapore Zoo and Night Safari is ruled out.Read more in Lim, N. T. L. & X. Ou Yang, 2012. Occurrence of the malay civet, Viverra tangalunga (Mammalia: Carnivora: Viverridae) in Singapore. Nature in Singapore, 5: 79–81. [PDF, 274 KB]

Hairy new find in the mangroves!

A new record of a mangrove crab, Heteropilumnus sasekumari collected from among others, Changi and Lim Chu Kang mangroves!
The authors highlight that there are lots of crabs in Singapore's mangrove patches, despite their limited size and fragmented nature. Ongoing surveys and studies are likely to yield further new records and/or undescribed species. Read more in Lee, B. Y. & N. K. Ng, 2012. New record of the mangrove crab, Heteropilumnus sasekumari (Serène, 1971) (Crustacea: Brachyura: Pilumnidae) from Singapore. Nature in Singapore, 5: 57–59. [PDF, 740 KB]

Never-seen-before crab from Changi

A new record of a crab Notopus dorsipes at Changi! In fact, this represents the first record of the superfamily Raninoidea de Haan, 1839, in Singapore and on the Sunda Shelf.
The authors add that this record from an intertidal sand bank in Changi is remarkable as it has never been found despite extensive dredging and collecting in Singapore which began over a hundred years ago. Further collections and studies in Singapore have also not turned up the presence of this species. Read more in Low, M. E. Y. & S. K. Tan, 2012. Notopus dorsipes (Linnaeus) in Singapore: First record of the brachyuran superfamily Raninoidea (Crustacea: Decapoda) on the Sunda Shelf. Nature in Singapore, 5: 19–25. [PDF, 789 KB]

New record of cicada in the mangroves of Pasir Ris!

Their shrill loud calls often reverberate in the mangroves but the singers hard to spot. This study revealed a new record of a cicada Purana usnani from Pasir Ris mangroves!
The authors shared that between Jun–Jul.2011, a healthy population of Purana usnani was found to occur in the landward edge of the mangrove forests of Pasir Ris at the north-eastern corner of Singapore Island. On days with fine, sunny weather, male cicadas were regularly heard and sometimes observed calling while perched on trees at eye-level and beyond. Female cicadas were also seen individually, often well camouflaged against the pale bark. Read more in Leong, T. M., 2012. Record of the cicada, Purana usnani Duffels & Schouten in Singapore, with preliminary acoustic analysis (Homoptera: Cicadidae: Cicadinae). Nature in Singapore, 5: 13–17. [PDF, 676 KB] Download sound clip here (1.80 MB)

Is that an ant or what?!

Another article shares amazing and amusing examples of three different mimics of the same species of ant (Oecophylla smaragdina Fabricius) . These include: (i) the caterpillar of the erebid moth, Homodes bracteigutta
(ii) the thomisid spider, Amyciaea lineatipes 
(iii) the salticid spider, Myrmarachne plataleoides
A possible fourth candidate as a mimic of this weaver ant is a micropezid fly. Read more in Leong, T. M. & V. D’Rozario, 2012. Mimicry of the weaver ant, Oecophylla smaragdina by the moth caterpillar, Homodes bracteigutta, the crab spider, Amyciaea lineatipes, and the jumping spider, Myrmarachne plataleoides. Nature in Singapore, 5: 39–56. [PDF, 2.81 MB]

What grasshoppers and crickets can we find in our urban parks?

The authors did an inventory and found at least 61 species of Orthoptera in eight parks. Even in a highly urbanised Singapore, new records, rediscoveries, and even undescribed species are still being discovered from the small pockets of nature areas.
The authors highlight that the study signifies the importance of conservation of natural habitats, without which many species would be lost before they are even discovered. Read more in Tan, M. K., R. W. J. Ngiam & M. R. B. Ismail, 2012. A checklist of Orthoptera in Singapore parks. Nature in Singapore, 5: 61–67. [PDF, 927 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.

1 comment:

Ivan said...

Psst! Orthoptera are grasshoppers and crickets.

The dragonflies & damselflies make up the order Odonata.

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