Korean PhD student, Mr. Lee Sang-kyu, from the Laboratory of Systematics & Molecular Evolution, School of Biological Sciences, Seoul National University, is currently visiting us to continue his research in crab taxonomy & systematics. This is his second time visiting the museum in as many years!
In what can be called an ‘accidental partnership’, Sang-kyu’s collaboration with the Raffles Museum started when he and research fellow, JC Mendoza, independently noticed, while looking at several specimens during their PhD research, that there was something “weird” about the common and widespread xanthid crab, Leptodius exaratus, which is found in many intertidal locations around the Indo-West Pacific region (including Singapore). They teamed up last year, with the help of RMBR Director Peter Ng, and together they discovered that common and often-overlooked species like L. exaratus aren’t as ‘uniform’ as they initially appear to be, and are actually a complex of cryptic species. For L. exaratus, at least, they’ve recognised two distinct groups which can be considered good or valid species within the Indo-West Pacific. The results of their research will be published soon in the Raffles Bulletin of Zoology. They also plan to proceed on to a systematic revision of the entire genus Leptodius as a logical next step to this exercise. Besides xanthid crabs, Sang-kyu is also here to collaborate with Ng Ngan Kee on the taxonomy varunid crabs.