The Calabash Tree: 3. Llizard

on 22nd October 2017

The Calabash Tree series: 1. The Plant; 2. Flowers and bees.

Crescentia cujete fl [wyc]

The flowers of the Calabash Tree (Crescentia cujete) begin to bloom in the late evening and last one night (above). By next morning the rings of petals litter the ground below, leaving only the long stamen arising from the basal ovary. If the flowers are not pollinated this structure will fall off from the branch the next day.

In an effort to identify the pollinating agent or agents, night observations were made on the flowers. A lizard was detected inside a flower one night, obviously seeking out the nectar. The lizard moved off rapidly when the flower was handled.

CalabashTree fo-SpottedHouseGecko

The next step was to set up a video-cam with lighting from a pair powerful lamps from midnight and 0130 hours. This revealed a nocturnal lizard, visiting a pair of nearby flowers for their nectar (above, below).

The lizard was identified by Kelvin KP Lim of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum as the Mourning Gecko or Maritime Gecko (Lepidodactylus lugubris). This nocturnal and aboreal lizard is supposedly widespread throughout Singapore. It is an all-female species that reproduce by parthenogenesis (virgin birth) (Baker & Lim, 2008).

YC Wee
26th September 2017

Baker, N. & K. Lim (eds.). 2008. Wild animals of Singapore: A photographic guide to mammals, reptiles, amphibians and freshwater fishes. Vertebrate Study Group, Nature Society (Singapore). 180 pp.

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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