10 July 2012

Corals, catfishes and crabs!

Recent studies tell us more about corals growing on artificial seawalls, the catfishes in Singapore and more about colourful mangrove crabs.
An amazing reef has settled naturally on the seawalls
at Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal. Another seawall is studied in NIS
All in the latest slew of papers on Nature in Singapore of the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research.

A diversity of corals can settle on our artificial seawalls

At the Singapore Armed Forces Yacht Club in Changi, the diversity and distribution of scleractinian corals growing on a seawall were investigated. The 1,762 scleractinian colonies recorded are represented by 37 genera from 14 families. Generic richness, abundance, and evenness were lower in the deeper belts. The majority of the colonies in the marina were juveniles smaller than 10 cm across, indicating that coral recruitment is an active, ongoing process, and that such environments, albeit highly modified, can function to support scleractinian diversity. Highly modified habitats resulting from coastal development could facilitate the re-establishment of biological communities.
More about this in Tan, Y. Z., C. S. L. Ng & L. M. Chou, 2012. Natural colonisation of a marina seawall by scleractinian corals along Singapore's east coast. Nature in Singapore, 5: 177–183. [PDF, 648 KB]

How many different kinds of catfish do we have in Singapore?

A study has verified the presence of nine ariid catfish species from Singapore waters based on museum material. They are Arius cf. gagora, Arius leptonotacanthus, Arius oetik, Hemiarius sona, Hexanematichthys sagor, Netuma bilineata, Osteogeneiosus militaris, Plicofollis argyropleuron, and Plicofollis nella. Arius cf. gagora and Netuma bilineata are new records for Singapore, while Hemiarius sona is recorded for the first time in Singapore in more than a century. The occurrence of Cryptarius truncatus in Singapore waters is considered doubtful.
More about them in Ng, H. H., 2012. The ariid catfishes of Singapore. Nature in Singapore, 5: 211–222. [PDF, 938 KB]

They're not bluffing!

The blue-green facial bands in two species of mangrove crabs, Perisesarma eumolpe and Perisesarma indiarum are known to be important in mate and/or species recognition and are believed to convey the physical ‘quality’ of the individual. For colour to be an effective indicator of quality, there has to be a direct production cost of the colour. Carotenoid-based pigments in animals fulfill these criteria. Being unable to biosynthesize carotenoids de novo, animals rely on dietary supply to achieve carotenoid-based pigmentation; therefore their presence can reflect foraging ability. Facial band tissues of Perisesarma eumolpe and Perisesarma indiarum were extracted and analysed for carotenoids using High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC). The results confirm the presence of carotenoids in the facial bands of both species.
More about this in Wang, W. Y. & P. A. Todd, 2012. Evidence for carotenoid pigments in the facial bands of two mangrove crab species from Singapore. Nature in Singapore, 5: 159–164. [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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