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The Straits Times 9 Aug 05
Singapore namesakes

Chang Ai-Lien highlights 10 species of plants and animals named after the country in which they were discovered

THERE are over 30 species of plants and animals discovered, whose names bear a tribute to their home. Here are some:

Singapore Durian (Durio singaporensis) The Singapore durian is a forest tree which can reach about 40m in height. It is a nationally vulnerable species which is endemic only to Singapore and Peninsular Malaysia. It is a close relative of the commercial durian (Durio zibethinus), but its short-spined fruits are smaller, growing to about 10cm across. Unfortunately, the seeds do not have flesh surrounding them.
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Singapore namesakes: plants and animals named after Singapore

Monitor Lizard fern (Tectaria singaporeana) Its Malay name is Paku Biawak, or Monitor Lizard Fern . (paku - fern; biawak: monitor lizard). It is a nationally vulnerable plant found in the Bukit Timah and Central Catchment Nature Reserves. In folk medicine, the leaves are used as a cure for fever and a post-natal tonic.

Singapore Adenia (Adenia macrophylla var. singaporeana) The Singapore Adenia is a botanical variety of the species Adenia macrophylla. This variety occurs only in Johor and Singapore. Here, this nationally rare forest-edge species is found in Chek Jawa and along the pipeline in the Central Catchment Nature Reserve.

Kerinting (Rhopaloblaste singaporensis) Kerinting, a delicate palm, is a nationally vulnerable species. There are only scattered tiny populations in the Bukit Timah and Central Catchment Nature Reserves. The small size and neatly arranged leaflets make this an attractive plant, with potential as an indoor palm.

Singapore Vinegar Crab (Episesarma singaporense) The Singapore Vinegar Crab is a common one found all over South-east Asia, but was first discovered here in the 1940s and named by the then director of the Raffles Museum, Michael Tweedie. Teochews used to preserve them in vinegar and salt before eating them as snacks and an accompaniment for congee.

Common Iora (Aegithina tiphia singaporensis) Common Iora is a small Singapore songbird, named for the island but found in other parts of South-east Asia.

Singapore freshwater crab and Temasek shrimp (Johora singaporensis and Caridina temasek) The endangered Singapore freshwater crab and Temasek shrimp were both discovered by the head of the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, Associate Professor Peter Ng.

Singapore Black Caecilian (Ichthyophis singaporensis) The Singapore Black Caecilian is a strange animal dug up from the Thomson Road area in the late 1800s, but has not been seen since the Second World War. It is among the rarest of the rare, but may still exist. Singapore has two species: The one in the photo has a yellow band along its side. The Singapore Caecilian is all-black. Caecilians are related to salamanders and frogs, except that they have no legs.

Plantain Squirrel (Callosciurus notatus singapurensis) The Plantain Squirrel, which its reddish brown belly and black stripe along its side, is endemic to Singapore. Apart from forest reserves, this common creature can also be spotted in parks.

Singapore Kopsia (Kopsia singapurensis) The Singapore or White Kopsia is a nationally-endangered tree which grows in freshwater swamp forests. This endemic species is found only in Singapore and Peninsular Malaysia. Here, the tree is now found in only two tiny populations in the Nee Soon Swamp Forest. In the wild, it flowers twice a year, but when cultivated, it is free-flowering if grown under the right shaded and wet conditions. The white-petalled flowers have a red throat, reminescent of the colours of the Singapore flag, and interestingly, smell like fried bacon!

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