TAN MING KAI10435005_10152522284157710_1457162775749643971_n

Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore, 14 Science Drive 4, Singapore 117543, Republic of Singapore. Email: orthoptera.mingkai@gmail.com

Public profiles: Google Scholar; ResearchGate

Research interests

My interest in orthopterans started when I was young (1994).

My research focuses on the Orthoptera (grasshoppers, crickets and katydids) from Southeast Asia. My main interests lie in their taxonomy, natural history, and behaviour and ecology. I hope to address knowledge gaps on Southeast Asian orthopterans in these research fields. Here are my current research projects.

About Orthoptera

The Orthoptera are among the most common terrestrial macro-invertebrates (more than 28,000 species worldwide and 2,000 species in Southeast Asia) (Cigliano et al., 2018; Tan et al., 2017). In tropical Southeast Asia, Orthopterans can be found in most terrestrial habitats, from the dipterocarp forests and grasslands to the mangroves and coastal forests, as well as highly urbanised areas. They also occupy a diverse array of microhabitats, from the sub-terrain and leaf litters to the canopy, as well as streams and inter-tidal zones. Many of the orthopterans are nocturnal and more easily observed during night time, and therefore are generally poorly known and appreciated. But, orthopterans play numerous ecological roles, many of which are barely studied (e.g., pollination [Tan et al., 2017Tan & Tan, 2018]). These also make them potentially useful ecological indicators (Tan et al., 2017). Moreover, grasshoppers and relatives have a “love-hate relationship” with humans (Lockwood, 1998Samways & Lockwood, 1998). They are considered nuisance because a tiny fraction of orthopterans (namely the locusts, or migratory grasshoppers) have historically plagued agricultural civilizations. On the other hand, orthopterans have also been featured in mythology, bible, and folklore. Some crickets and katydids made popular pets (fighting crickets and singing pets), while other species are now considered important protein source of lower carbon footprint (Paul et al., 2016).