Lesser Yellownape feeding on ants associated with Dischidia astephana

on 8th October 2014

“My wife and I saw this lovely adult male Lesser Yellownape (Picus chlorolophus) for an extended period (above).

“One curious behaviour was pecking at and licking these ‘fleshy growths’ on the trunk of a tree (above, below). It spent quite some time with them. I was considering some form of fruit feeding as I had just seen it feed on fruit (more on this later).

“But after a discussion with Dr YC Wee of BESG (a botanist) who identified the plant as ‘Dischidia astephana’ it was clear that the bird was getting at the Crematogaster ants that are typically associated with this plant.”

“Dischidia astephana is found in Malaysia, usually at higher elevations on Leptospermum trees. It is one of the ‘ant-plants’, where a mutualism relationship is assumed for the plant and the ant, see LINK and LINK.

“A number of species develop imbricate leaves (overlapping each other) which hold tightly to the growing surface. The underside of the leaf has a space which is filled with roots that the ants take advantage of – see HERE.

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS
Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
1st October 2014

Location: 1,600m ASL, Cameron Highlands, Pahang, Malaysia
Habitat: Trail through mixed secondary and primary forest

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

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