Nature in Singapore, an on-line bulletin of the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, has just published a review article on anting that is relevant to the local birding scene.
The anting phenomenon was first publicised to the local birding community in October 2005 when BESG posted a note by Kelvin KP Lim who observed it in 1988.
Until then, local birders were totally unaware of anting – use of ants by birds for feather maintenance. Since then, there have been more than a few observations, mainly by mynas.
This article was originally sent to Nature Watch, flagship of the Nature Society (Singapore) for possible publication. However, after nearly three years and having yet to receive any indication from the editor as to whether the document is accepted or rejected, I have totally lost hope of the article ever being published in that magazine.
I reluctantly came to the conclusion that maybe, just maybe, the contents could be a tad embarrassing to leaders of the local birding flock.
So on 29th July 2008, I revised the manuscript and submitted it to Nature in Singapore. What a breadth of fresh air! That very same day, I received an acknowledgment note from the editor, followed by a letter saying that the manuscript would be sent for review, and yet another note saying that the article has been accepted for publication. Wow! All within a day!
After languishing for nearly three years in the computer of Nature Watch’s editor, the article at last managed to see light of day in Nature in Singapore after only eight days. I would prefer it to appear within three days but what the hack! Eight days is so much better than three years.
Kudos to Nature in Singapore!
In view of the article, the various posts on anting have been deleted. Anyone interested in reading the account can get a PDF copy HERE
Image of ants by Johnny Wee.