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News Article | May 19, 2017

In profile view, the largest T. rex worker (TL 4.52 mm) in the current collection. Credit: Asian Myrmecology, 9: e009007 (1-4) DOI: 10.20362/am.009007 (—A pair of researchers with Singapore Botanic Gardens and the National University of Singapore has found and studied a nest of Tyrannomyrmex rex, a first for the rare species of ant. In their paper published in the journal Asian Myrmecology, Mark Wong and Gordon Young describe how they found the ant nest and what they discovered after they brought it back to their lab for study. T. rex, the ant, was first discovered back in 2003 in Malaysia—its name derives from the odd shape of its head and short forearms. That initial finding was a single dead ant. Since that time, other researchers have found examples on leaves, but until now, no one had ever found a nest. Wong and Young report that they found the nest after investigating a small piece of land that had recently been uprooted by military exercises in Mandai, a part of Singapore just north of the Singapore Zoo. They note that earlier in the century, the area had been used as a rubber plantation. After confirming that the species was, indeed, the elusive T. rex, the pair dug up the nest and brought it back to their lab for study. They found that it was made up of 13 worker ants, eggs, larvae and pupae—but no queen. They also found that the ants did not have metapleural glands, which other ants use to secrete an antiseptic compound, which was odd, considering the place where they lived—underground in some rotting wood, which also offered a clue as to why they have been so hard to find. Wong and Young report that the ants appeared to be nocturnal and non-aggressive—they froze when faced with other insects then ran away, though one of them did sting a millipede that attempted to enter the nest. Also, they could not figure out what the ants ate—other than a male that hatched—despite offering them a wide variety of options. The researchers studied the ants for 10 days and then killed them, preserving their bodies for further study. They also returned to the site where they found the nest looking for other signs of the ants, but found none. Explore further: Fussy ants found to improve chances of finding better new nesting sites More information: Notes on the habitat and biology of the rare ant genus Tyrannomyrmex (Fernández, 2003), Asian Myrmecology, 9: e009007 (1-4) DOI: 10.20362/am.009007 , Abstract The rare myrmicine ant genus Tyrannomyrmex Fernández, 2003 comprises three species of tropical ants restricted to the Oriental region. This study presents information on worker size, specific habitat, food and behaviour of Tyrannomyrmex rex.

Galearis tschiliensis (Orchidaceae), previously considered endemic to China, is newly reported from the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh close to its borders with China and Myanmar. The species is very distinct from other species of the genus by its subactinomorphic perianth. © 2014 iaat All Rights Reserved.

Leong-Skornickova J.,Singapore Botanic Gardens | Niissalo M.A.,National University of Singapore
Plant Systematics and Evolution | Year: 2017

The correct understanding of early historical names in Hanguana is essential to facilitate taxonomic progress in this rich and widespread but taxonomically challenging group. The history of two often confused early names, Hanguana malayana and H. anthelminthica, is presented, and their identities are clarified. Hanguana malayana, a name previously applied on wide array of species across SE Asia, needs to be applied to a critically endangered solitary forest species so far confined to Penang Island, Peninsular Malaysia. A neotype is proposed for H. malayana. A lectotype is selected for H. anthelminthica, a name which has to be applied to a widely distributed stoloniferous helophyte originally described from Java. A description and a colour plate of Hanguana malayana are provided, and references to recent description and colour plates of Hanguana anthelminthica, misinterpreted in recent works as H. malayana, are given. The identity of Hanguana aquatica, treated here as a synonym of Hanguana anthelminthica, is also discussed, and the lectotype is designated. In addition, original material for the only other two early names, Hanguana kassintu and Susum minus, was located and lectotypes are designated. A new combination, Hanguana minus, is proposed here. © 2017 Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria

Xi Z.,Harvard University | Bradley R.K.,Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center | Wurdack K.J.,Smithsonian Institution | Wong K.M.,Singapore Botanic Gardens | And 4 more authors.
BMC Genomics | Year: 2012

Background: Recent studies have shown that plant genomes have potentially undergone rampant horizontal gene transfer (HGT). In plant parasitic systems HGT appears to be facilitated by the intimate physical association between the parasite and its host. HGT in these systems has been invoked when a DNA sequence obtained from a parasite is placed phylogenetically very near to its host rather than with its closest relatives. Studies of HGT in parasitic plants have relied largely on the fortuitous discovery of gene phylogenies that indicate HGT, and no broad systematic search for HGT has been undertaken in parasitic systems where it is most expected to occur.Results: We analyzed the transcriptomes of the holoparasite Rafflesia cantleyi Solms-Laubach and its obligate host Tetrastigma rafflesiae Miq. using phylogenomic approaches. Our analyses show that several dozen actively transcribed genes, most of which appear to be encoded in the nuclear genome, are likely of host origin. We also find that hundreds of vertically inherited genes (VGT) in this parasitic plant exhibit codon usage properties that are more similar to its host than to its closest relatives.Conclusions: Our results establish for the first time a substantive number of HGTs in a plant host-parasite system. The elevated rate of unidirectional host-to- parasite gene transfer raises the possibility that HGTs may provide a fitness benefit to Rafflesia for maintaining these genes. Finally, a similar convergence in codon usage of VGTs has been shown in microbes with high HGT rates, which may help to explain the increase of HGTs in these parasitic plants. © 2012 Xi et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Wong K.M.,Singapore Botanic Gardens | Low Y.W.,Singapore Botanic Gardens
Edinburgh Journal of Botany | Year: 2011

A description of the defining characteristics of Gardenia (Rubiaceae) and a revision of the Philippine species distinguished mainly by calyx morphology are presented. A key to five species of Gardenia recognised for the Philippines, full descriptions and illustrations, and a list of names which should be excluded from Gardenia are given. Relevant Philippine names for which holotypes were not indicated or have been destroyed are lectotypified. Two new endemic species, Gardenia ornata K.M.Wong and G. vulcanica K.M.Wong, are described. Gardenia elata Ridl. and G. mutabilis Reinw. ex Blume are newly applied to Philippine species previously enumerated under other names. Gardenia pseudopsidium (Blanco) Fern.-Vill. is considered a doubtful name, to which some authors have referred the endemic G. barnesii Merr. © 2011 Trustees of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

Austin D.F.,Arizona Sonora Desert Museum | Staples G.,Singapore Botanic Gardens | Bianchini R.S.,Institute Botanica
Taxon | Year: 2014

Previous lectotypification of Ipomoea hederacea is shown to be ineffective. Here we discuss the situation and lectotypify the species with a specimen annotated by Jacquin. Ipomoea hederacea is not based on Convolvulus hederaceus L., since Jacquin was applying the name to a different taxon and therefore did not intend to publish a combination based on Convolvulus hederaceus. © International Association for Plant Taxonomy (IAPT) 2014.

Low Y.W.,Singapore Botanic Gardens
Systematic Botany | Year: 2013

Gardenia is an Old World genus of about 200 species. A bibliographic survey on Sulawesi Gardenia, a region extremely rich in plant diversity, but poorly explored botanically, enumerated five species, namely G. affinis, G. forsteniana, G. mutabilis, G. pelenkahuana, and G. vernicosa. Of these, G. mutabilis remains in Gardenia based on current generic delimitation using various morphological characters of the vegetative and floral parts. Three taxa, G. affinis, G. forsteniana, and G. pelenkahuana, have been reassigned to genera such as Porterandia or Rothmannia. Meanwhile, G. vernicosa was found to have been erroneously listed for Sulawesi. As herbarium materials labeled as G. mutabilis were examined and sorted, they were found to be heterogeneous and included two novelties, G. kabaenensis and G. longistipula, described and illustrated here. These two new taxa are distinguished from G. mutabilis based on calyx form and tube length, and stipule length. © 2013 by the American Society of Plant Taxonomists.

Kurzweil H.,Singapore Botanic Gardens
Nordic Journal of Botany | Year: 2010

A taxonomic review of the Thai species of the orchid genus Peristylus is presented. Seventeen species are recognised, five of them new to Thailand. Peristylus rigidus and P. phuwuaensis are endemic species, new to science, and the widespread P. maingayi and P. mannii have recently been newly recorded in the country. In addition, two further collections do not match any known Thai species, but very much resemble P. nematocaulon from the Himalayas and China. The present study will form the basis for the taxonomic account of Peristylus in the Flora of Thailand. © 2010 The Authors.

A review of the Thai species of the Calanthe group (Orchidaceae) is presented, based on the examination of over 500 herbarium and spirit specimens, and is a precursor for a later treatment in the Flora of Thailand. The group comprises the genera Calanthe R.Br., Phaius Lour. and Cephalantheropsis Guillaumin. In the genus Calanthe, 21 species are recognized, one of them being new but incompletely known as only a single flower was available for study. Calanthe angustifolia (Blume) Lindl. is newly reported for Thailand. Unusual forms of C. vestita Wall. ex Lindl. are commented on, and the extensive variation in the spur length of C. triplicata (Willemet) Ames is discussed. Five Phaius and one Cephalantheropsis species are recognized. Identification keys to the three genera and all species are given, and descriptions are provided for all species. A selection is illustrated by line drawings. © Publications Scientifi ques du Muséum national d'istoire naturelle, Paris.

Sugumaran M.,University of Malaya | Wong K.M.,Singapore Botanic Gardens
Plant Ecology and Evolution | Year: 2014

Background - Utania is a resurrected name for a monophyletic group previously placed as Fagraea section Racemosae, part of the Fagraea taxonomic complex, which currently includes five recognised genera. Methods - A revision of the genus in the Malay Peninsula was carried out using conventional methods of herbarium taxonomy. The specimen holdings of the K, KEP, KLU, L and SING herbaria were consulted. Results - Six species are recognised for Utania in the Malay Peninsula, including two new species, U. austromalayensis and U. nervosa. Three new combinations are made: U. maingayi, U. peninsularis and U. racemosa, the last for a species of Indo-China, Thailand, the Malay Peninsula and Sumatra, which does not extend to Borneo and eastwards. © 2014 Botanic Garden Meise and Royal Botanical Society of Belgium.

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