TAN Ming Kai
Current affiliation: Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore, 14 Science Drive 4, Singapore 117543, Republic of Singapore
My research focuses on the Orthoptera (grasshoppers, crickets, and katydids), particularly those from Southeast Asia. I have broad research interests, but my main interests lie in the taxonomy, natural history, and behaviour and ecology. Below is a summary of my research:
The Orthoptera is a monophyletic group of insects, consisting of more than 28,000 species of grasshoppers, crickets and katydids worldwide. Orthopterans are a wonder for discovery (when one looks closely enough). Being more active at night and often cryptic and shy from human, they can reveal themselves in unexpected habitats (e.g., marine habitats) and as surprising actors (e.g., pollinators) in their ecosystems. Locusts’ (gregarious grasshoppers) notorious reputation as a plague led to revelation of their exceptionally large genome and curious feeding behaviour and ecology. Biophysics and evolutionary research on the mechanics of sound production and hearing in katydids which sing at extreme ultrasonic frequencies and crickets have inspired biomimicry innovations and uncovered exciting novelties on their evolution. The lust for crickets and katydids as pets extends far back into human history, yet they are now also considered an eco-hero to feed the ever-expanding human population.