Research

<<details will be added soon. progress is stalled by proposal writing.>>

Current Projects

1. Behavioural ecology of Silana farinosa (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae)
S. farinosa is tortoise beetle that eats the leaves of curry plants (Murraya koenigii, Rutaceaa). Originally from India/Sri Lanka (Talagala et al. 1979), it was first documented in Peninsular Malaysia in the 1990s (Mohamedsaid et al. 1996) and then later in Borneo too. Like many of the other Cassidinae species, the larvae carry its feces and old cuticle (the ‘insect skin’) in a clump at its posterior end, held above its body. I’ve observed the larvae swinging this ‘fecal shield’ at malicious ants to immediate effect–the ants retreated promptly to clean its antennae. The larvae also aggregate, usually in a circle, from hatching till ~3rd instar. We are now studying the functions of the fecal shield and the cost/benefits of aggregation behaviour.

Mohamedsaid, M. S. & Sajap, A. S. Silana farinosa, new generic record of tortoise beetle for Malaysia (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae, Cassidinae). Malayan Nature Journal 50, 33–38 (1996).

Sajap, A. S. & Mohamedsaid, M. S. Biology of Silana farinosa (Boheman) (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae), a new pest of Murraya koenigii Thw. (Rutaceae) in Peninsular Malaysia. Malayan Nature Journal 50, 167–171 (1997).

Talagala, D. Y. S. & Manawadu, D. A Biological Study of Silana Farinosa (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae), A Pest of Murraya koenigii (Sinhala : Karapincha). Vidyodaya Journal of Arts and Science Letters 7, 75–85 (1979).

2. Interactions between the diamondback moth, its predator and two host plants

3. Population dynamics effects of cannibalism behaviour: an individual-based modeling approach

Projects Being Developed…

1. Nutritional ecology of a plant-herbivore-parasitoid interaction

2. Indirect effects of earthworms on cabbage insect herbivores

Larva of a tortoise beetle Silana farinosa (left; Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) attacked by nymph of a predatory stinkbug (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae). Note the fecal shield at the posterior end of the S. farinosa larva.