Specimens make their mark at the ASEAN Wetland Management Training Course

Specimens from the Raffles Museum do not always stay in the museum, some get to travel! Research specimens typically move in and out with some frequency, typical to any research collection. Specimens may be loaned out for special occasions such as the recent loan to National Heritage Board of the large, old specimens from the former Raffles Library and Museum for display at the Asian Civillisations Museum for their “Hunters and Collectors: The Origins of the Southeast Asian Collection” exhibition.

Smaller specimens typically also travel out for public education events with the Raffles Museum Toddycats during special events such as Envirofest and Sungei Buloh Wetlands Reserve Anniversary. For undergraduate teaching, the specimens also make an appearance at the Department of Biological Sciences such as the Labrador rocky shore preparatory practicals for the new second-year ecology module, LSM2251.

Discussing the morphological adaptations of Toxotes jaculator.
Photo courtesy of NParks.

Last Sunday, 16 bottles (8 of fish, 8 of crabs) were prepared and packed with lots of padding by Kelvin Lim and Tan Siong Kiat into a styrofoam box for Research Associate N. Sivasothi. He conducted a conducted half-day mangrove fauna workshop at Sungei Buloh Wetlands Reserve (SBWR) for the ASEAN Wetland Management Training Course coordinated by NParks staff at SBWR. Individual sessions were conducted by volunteer instructors from NParks, NTU and NUS.

Sivasothi’s session was conducted as a lecture in two parts on common mangrove fauna interspersed by field observations at the Visitor Centre mangrove boardwalk and ended with a demonstration using the specimens.

Discussing adaptations in Episesarma versicolor
at the VC Boardwalk, SBWR. Photo courtesy of NParks.

The use of specimens was effective in providing a close up view of several features in various fauna which had been discussed or observed earlier. This also gave rise to a tutorial on preservation techniques and a discussion the importance of curating a faunal collection at wetlands sites for staff training and education.

The locality data and date of collection on labels in each bottle was the subject of some discussion too, as it highlighted the importance of regular collections over time and proper preservation techniques that allow well preserved and carefully handled specimens to be used over centuries.

For the record the specimens used were:


  1. Selatium brockii – ZRC uncat., Mandai mangroves (1990).
  2. Episesarma singaporensis – ZRC 2000.1934 (7 ex.), Lim Chu Kang.
  3. Portunus pelagicus – ZRC 1984.5535-5541 (7 ex.), Sentosa.
  4. Myomenippe hardwickii – ZRC 2004.0488 (6 ex.), Sarimbun-Poyan mangroves.
  5. Neosarmatium smithi – ZRC 2001.2236 (4 ex.), Loyang mangroves.
  6. Metopograpsus frontalis – ZRC 2001.2288 (4 ex.), Kranji.
  7. Uca sp. – ZRC 2009.0104 (7 ex.), Sg. Serangoon.
  8. Metaplax elegans – ZRC 2009.0318 (13 ex.), Pandan mangroves.


  1. Oryzias javanicus (Javan Ricefish) – ZRC 26631-26805 (175 ex.), Mandai mangroves.
  2. Pseudogobius javanicus (Javan Fatnose Goby) – ZRC 47296 (49 ex.), Sg. Buloh.
  3. Periophthalmus walailakae (Walailak Mudskipper) – ZRC 1304a (6 ex.), Sg. Seletar (1966).
  4. Scatophagus argus (Spotted Scat) – ZRC 51934 (5 ex.), Marina Bay.
  5. Etroplus suratensis (Green Chromide) – ZRC 49359 (23 ex.), Khatib Bongsu.
  6. Toxotes jaculator (Banded Archerfish) – ZRC 49266 (7 ex.), Raffles Marina.
  7. Tetraodon nigroviridis (Green Spotted Pufferfish) – ZRC 47831 (4 ex.), Kallang River.
  8. Zenarchopterus buffonis (Stripe-nosed Halfbeak) – ZRC 27114-27143 (30 ex.), Sg. Buloh.

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