Bug visitors in October

(From L-R) Drs Joelle Lai, Tran Anh Duc, Prof. Paddy Murphy, Dr Lanna Cheng & Mrs Yang Chang Man

A year after Singapore Aquatic Heteroptera Workshop, the Museum recently hosted Dr. Tran Anh Duc (Hanoi University of Science, an unit of Vietnam National University, Hanoi) and Dr. Lanna Cheng (Scripps Institution of Oceanography), who were in Singapore to work on a guidebook that is a long time coming with Mrs Yang Chang Man (Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research).
It was in the early 1960s when Dr Cheng and Dr C.H. Fernando first started their work on the aquatic bugs (Heteroptera), particularly on the family Gerridae, of the Malayan region. In the last 50 years, there has been a significant growth in the knowledge of the regional fauna, with numerous new taxa discovered. Dr Cheng and Mrs Yang found it necessary to update the guide published in 1963, and expand the guide to other families of aquatic bugs. The new guide, “Guide to Aquatic Bugs (Heteroptera) of Singapore and Peninsular Malaysia” will document and provide keys to species of all 20 families of aquatic bugs in the region.

In 2001, the first two papers in the series of Guide to aquatic Heteroptera of Singapore and Peninsular Malaysia was published. This project has received significant contribution by experts in the field of aquatic bug taxonomy, i.e., Dr. John Polhemus (Colorado, USA), Dr. Dan Polhemus (Bishop Museum, Honolulu), Dr. Herbert Zettel (Natural History Museum, Vienna, Austria), the late Professor Nils M. Andersen (Denmark), Dr. Nico Nieser (the Netherlands), Dr. Damir Kovac (Research Institute and Natural History Museum, Senckenberg), Dr. Miroslav Papáček (University of South Bohemia, Czech Republic). Under the guide series, they have published articles on the families of Gerridae, Hermatobatidae, Veliidae, Pleidae, Notonectidae, Corixidea, Micronectidae, Hydrometridae, Mesoveliidae, and Helotrephidae of Singapore and Peninsular Malaysia in the Raffles Bulletin Zoology.

Dr. Tran Anh Duc (an alumni of DBS, NUS, now in Hanoi University of Science, Vietnam) later joined the team, co-authoring with Dr Herbert Zettel, to prepare the guide to the family Hebridae. The guide to remaining families of Nepomorpha and Leptopodomorpha (by Drs John and Dan Polhemus) are either in preparation or under review process for publication. These upcoming articles are also the results from the Singapore Aquatic Heteroptera Workshop organized by and in RMBR in October last year. As such, the project “Guide to aquatic Heteroptera of Singapore and Peninsular Malaysia” is coming close to completion.

However, since the first article of the guide series published, a number of new taxa have been continually identified and described from the region. Apart from recent articles and coming articles of the guide series, there is a need to re-update all previous articles of the guide. All the updates will be included in the proposed guidebook. This guidebook will provide (updated) keys with illustrations to species of aquatic Heteroptera that occur in the region, general life history, colour pictures in order to benefit both taxonomists and nature lovers.

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