Hong Kong's biodiversity remains remarkable despite its tiny landmass and the huge changes that man has made to its landscape over the centuries. The tropical location, mountainous terrain and corresponding variety of habitats are major factors in supporting this rich biodiversity.
Running from now to August 31, the "Biodiversity in Hong Kong" exhibition at the Hong Kong Science Museum will enable the public to learn more about wildlife in Hong Kong. The exhibition features 30 live specimens that are commonly found in Hong Kong. These include Romer's tree frog which is endemic to Hong Kong, the Hong Kong paradise fish which is the only freshwater fish named after Hong Kong, the Hong Kong newt which was first discovered in Hong Kong, and other species which are found commonly in countryside, such as the Asian common toad, common blind snake, "macrobrachium hainanese", Hong Kong freshwater crab, dung beetles and "lema coromandeliana". Visitors can increase their knowledge of these specimens through the illustrative graphic panels at the exhibition. They can also learn about the structures of insects, classify animals and vote for their favourite animals in the wetlands through interactive exhibits.
The exhibition is jointly presented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, Kadoorie Farm and Botanical Garden, and WWF - Hong Kong.
More than 800 vertebrates with 500 bird species and nearly 2,500 plants have been recorded in the past 100 years in Hong Kong. Of invertebrates, thousands of insects are known and it is believed that the total for all land and freshwater invertebrates may reach 25,000. The number of species is astonishing. The "Biodiversity in Hong Kong" exhibition aims to introduce the diverse animal species found in Hong Kong and raise the public's awareness of the importance of conserving wildlife and natural habitats.
The exhibition features four interactive exhibits: "Classification of Animals", "Star of Wetlands", "Recognition of Body Parts", and "Microscopic World of Insects".
There are millions of different kinds of living organisms dwelling on Earth. Through "Classification of Animals", visitors can understand how scientists use biological classifications to categorise all life according to their biological characteristics. The system allows scientists to examine the relationships between various organisms and their evolutionary history.
An immense variety of species can be found in Hong Kong's wetlands. Visitors are invited to vote for their favourite animals in the wetlands while playing the "Star of Wetlands".
Many animals look very similar, but they actually belong to different species and behave differently. With the "Recognition of Body Parts" exhibit, visitors can try to find out the difference between butterflies and moths, toads and frogs, and tortoises and soft-shelled turtles in their physical characteristics in this matching game.
Although insects are small, they have incredibly complicated structures. In "Microscopic World of Insects", visitors can try to see the specific structure of compound eyes, wings, mouthparts and abdomens under the microscope.
Admission to the Science Museum is $25 with half-price concession for full-time students, people with disabilities and senior citizens aged 60 or above. Admission is free on Wednesdays.
The Science Museum is located at 2 Science Museum Road, Tsim Sha Tsui East, Kowloon. It is open from 1pm to 9pm from Monday to Friday, and from 10am to 9pm on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays. It is closed on Thursdays (except public holidays).
For details of the exhibition, visit the Science Museum's website http://hk.science.museum . For enquiries, please call 2732 3232.
Ends/Friday, May 7, 2010
One of the exhibits on display - Romer's tree frog. Romer's tree frog is endemic to Hong Kong and naturally occurs on Lamma Island, Lantau Island, Chek Lap Kok and Po Toi but nowhere else in the world. Romer's tree frog is the tiniest native frog, about 25 millimetres, with an "X" mark on its back. It is a nocturnal animal feeding on small insects.
One of the exhibits on display - Hong Kong newt. The Hong Kong newt is the only tailed amphibian found in Hong Kong. They are semi-aquatic and mainly found in clear streams with vegetation and large boulders. They feed on insect larvae, fish, shrimps, tadpoles and earthworms. The pattern of the orange patches on their bellies can be used to identify individual newts just like human fingerprints. The Hong Kong newt was first discovered in Hong Kong but is not endemic to Hong Kong.
One of the exhibits on display - Hong Kong paradise fish. The Hong Kong paradise fish is the only freshwater fish named after Hong Kong. They live in slow-running streams and swamps, feeding on small aquatic insects and crustaceans.
One of the exhibits on display - black flightless tiger beetle. The black flightless tiger beetle is black with reddish brown legs. Its membranous wings are degenerated and cannot fly. It is always seen running on the ground or crawling on its trunk. It is carnivorous, feeding on other animals and helping to maintain the balance of different species in nature.