Sandlance


Sandlance (Bleekeria sp.)
Cyrene Reef, 11th July 2010

There are two species of sandlance found in the region, differentiated by the presence or absence of the pelvic fin.

Taiwan Sandlance (Bleekeria mitsukurii)

Eel Sandlance (Bleekeria viridianguilla)

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This is why I hate glue traps as a form of rodent control – it’s too easy to end up catching some other animal.

Honey, the Barn Owl, was another victim of the cruel and horrible glue traps used in Singapore. Whether a rat or a lizard or a raptor gets stuck to the glue, they take a very painful road to death! Honey did not make it through despite efforts from our team and the care from the Jurong Bird Park.

Source: Animal Concerns Research & Education Society (ACRES) Facebook

As someone commented on the photo, the sad irony is that this owl would probably have done a better job of pest control than the glue board that killed it.

Gear, a Reticulated Python (Malayopython reticulatus), was found injured in many parts of the body with damaged organs, suspected to be bites from another animal. Gear put up a fight in pain but unfortunately, Gear had very badly damaged jaws beyond repair with survival possibilities neither in the wild nor captivity. It was a hard decision to euthanize Gear.

Source: Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES) Facebook

If you should encounter a dead bird anywhere in Singapore, please do give David Tan a call at 91768971 and he will drop everything and rush down to retrieve the bird carcass as soon as possible.
Photo: Black-backed Kingfisher (Ceyx erithacus)

Note from David Tan:

Hi everyone, my name is David Tan and I’m a research student from the Avian Genetics Lab at the National University of Singapore (NUS) and also the lab’s resident snatcher of dead birds.

Dead birds are important to us for various reasons.
As part of our research, one of our main interests lies in figuring out how the mysteries of bird DNA can reveal hitherto unknown facts about the evolution and ecology of birds, and each dead bird represents a priceless and unique record of an avian genome that will go a long way toward helping us understand the lives of Singapore’s birds.

This is why we need your help.
While a great many birds die in Singapore every day, a vast majority of these bird deaths often go unreported and these valuable carcasses are often disposed of by well-meaning individuals who are unaware of the true value of a dead bird.

If you should encounter a dead bird anywhere in Singapore, please do give me a call at 91768971 and I will drop everything and rush down to retrieve the bird carcass as soon as possible. If you are unable to remain with the body until I arrive, kindly conceal the body in a secure location and I will retrieve the carcass when I arrive.

All recovered bodies will be sampled for DNA and subsequently skinned and preserved at the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research for future generations of biologists to study and for public education initiatives to help educate Singaporeans about our avian biodiversity.

Thank you so much for your help, and let’s not let these birds die in vain.

Source: Nature Society (Singapore)

Bapak Usnan’s Cicada


Bapak Usnan’s Cicada (Purana usnani) being scavenged by ants
St. John’s Island, 30th May 2013

This species was previously identified as the Striped Cicada (Purana tigrina); the latter species is known to occur in Peninsular Malaysia, but has yet to be conclusively recorded in Singapore.

Two birds die from crashing into windows at NUS Science today
By N. Sivasothi, 13th November 2013;

It is very sad to see a bird die because it crashed into a window, thinking it was flying into the sky. This has been happening for years, and we are likely to see more cases as more buildings are built, with shiny reflective surfaces and as we install more glass windows.

A bird with its fragile, light skull flies for the reflected sky or trees at high speeds and instead strikes a window and is killed.

This is all the more tragic when a northern-winter migrant like the Blue-winged Pitta (Pitta moluccensis), having survived the long journey south from Myanmar or Thailand, dies in Singapore from a window strike.

Several dead Blue-winged Pittas have tragically been reported in the last month in Singapore. This afternoon, we learnt that even our corridor window, in the present configuration of our landscape, is creating such a mirage. A Blue-winged Pitta crashed with enough force to scratch the window.

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Source: Otterman speaks…

Native Apple Snail


Native Apple Snail (Pila scutata)
Tampines, 14th September 2013