Updates on my project:
Estimate count of Caryota mitis
I’ve been going to Pulau Ubin to count the number of Caryota mitis plants along the trail edges, which has come up to over 2,000 plants. Now I understand, and really appreciate, the “common” status this plant has in Singapore. In official terms, being “common” means to have more than 1000 mature individuals.
Macaque spotted eating fruits of Caryota mitis
We were cycling along the trail away from Chek Jawa when came upon a group of macaques. They were all over and we tried to cycle past without attracting too much attention. It was a good thing that our fascination took over or else we would not have noticed one particular macaque on a Caryota mitis plant. I decided to stop to take a picture.
Lo and behold, the macaque began plucking the fruits right before our eyes. It was pretty fidgety. Bahiah said that ants were probably attacking it. We couldn’t really see from where we were because the plant was over 2 metres tall and we did not want to get too close. I managed to get a picture AND a video!
I wonder how the macaque withstands the raphides, needle-like crystals within the fruit, considering that it induces an itch response when human skin comes into contact with the fruit . These crystal needles were supposedly deterrent measures against feeding yet there seems to be no effect on birds and mammals . Definitely
food fruit for thought! Hehe
I actually managed to take a picture of an Oriental Pied Hornbill. But it’s a bit blurry. I hope I’ll be able to catch it in action aka feeding on Caryota mitis fruits perhaps!
Anyway, here’s the link to video: http://youtu.be/U5Z_PeWKB8M
 Broschat T.K. & Latham W.G. (1994). Oxalate Content of Palm Fruit Mesocarp. Biochemical Systematics and Ecology 22(4), 389-292.
 Snyder D.S., Hatfield G.M. & Lampe K.F. (1979). Examination of the Itch Response from the Raphides of the Fishtail Palm Caryota mitis. Oxicology and Applied Pharmocology 48, 287-292.