An Interview with Mr Tan Ming Kai – discoverer of a new species of katydid in Singapore

Photo: Mr Tan Ming Kai

Could you give a brief description of this new species? 

It is a small light greenish katydid with distinctly huge eyes. They are known to be predatory. The wings of mature adults are reduced, although the males used their forewings to produce stridulation to attract females. Long movable spines or spurs on fore tibiae are thought to be used for hunting. The biology of the species, or the subfamily for that matter, is still poorly known.

photo by Tan Ming Kai

Who discovered it, and when?

It was first collected by Prof D. H. Murphy back in the 1970s but remained undescribed. Currently (since October 2010), Ngiam Wen Jiang Robin, Mirza Rifiq bin Ismail, Leong Tzi Ming, Woo Pui Min Henrietta, Chan Jia Yee Jerelyn and I are collecting orthopterans in BTNR and CCNR to revise the Orthoptera diversity in Singapore. During this process, we collected Asiophlugis temasek and found that it had remained undescribed. I then collaborated with Andrej Gorochov, who is an orthopteran expert and had erected the genus Asiophlugis in 1998, to describe the species.

Where can it be found?

At night, it can be fairly commonly found in the BTNR and CCNR. It is often found on leaf foliages of young trees.

Any other interesting information?

It is a common relative to the once thought extinct Phlugis thaumasia. When P. thaumasia was first collected here in Singapore in 1922, A. temasek was curiously not collected despite it being more common. It is until 2010, P. thaumasia was rediscovered and only now that is described.

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