Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Time Not Enough at Semakau

I cut short my dive trip and return to Singapore from Bali in order not to miss the opportunity to visit the mangroves and inter-tidal area during the low tide.

Upon reaching Semakau, we proceed to the mangroves area over the West side of Semakau. Is the first time for many of us to walk at this part of the mangroves.These pencils like sticks are in fact the roots of the mangroves tree to adapt to muddy, water logged mangroves environment.

As we start from the old jetty, I saw this very beautiful crab belongs to Family Grapsidae. As she was hiding in the hollow pillar, I can't get a clear shot of the whole crab. However, she has a very pretty green colour surrounding the side of the carcass. yellow colour stalk eyes and purple pincers. This crab was very similiar to Percnon plannissimum from the same family that I saw in one of my dive trip. Not sure if they are the same species.

Percnon plannissimum crab taken at Bali
This is the insect (sands fly) that most of us trying to avoid as their stings will leave your skin itch for days and some take weeks to recover.

The sky starts to drizzle when we reach the shore area. I keep my camera in the bag most of the time as I leave my waterprove camera with my friends that still diving at Lombok, thus I can't take photo whenever it rains.... nevertheless, managed to take some photos and I'll just post some of the interesting photos.
Found this not so common turban shell that with spikes around the edge.

This was spotted by Helen - an beautiful cowrie.
The bristle worm
Ron was so happy to found this 2 cute rock-stars. (Cryptasterina Sp.) Check his blog on his Stars Search experience. :-)
Finally, managed to get a clearer shot of this mini crab that only about 1cm in size.

(My earlier encounter at Sarimbun of probably the same family)

What is this fierce looking creatures? A croc? a stingray? or ???
Is a very young horseshoe crab slightly bigger than a 20 cents coin!
Saw another of this mini horse shoe crab at the seaglass lagoon area.

Saw this anemones near the seaglass lagoon. If you look carefully, you'll be able to see some orange colour creatures hiding within the anemones tentacles. There are 3 of them, we leave it as it is so that we don't add too much stress to these beautiful clown fish - aka Nemo.

It was amazed to see this octopus changing his colour with the environment around him with just a glimsp. A super magician!

As we were counting number of crabs that we spotted along the way, Ron was there shouting "Is time to get back to jetty!!!" Wow... how time flies. We didn't realise that we have spent about 4 hours there as we are to excited to be out at the shore...

......as we are on the way back, we continue to see scorpion fish, more crabs, eel, flatworm,.....etc. Time is always not enough when we are out at the tidal area!! :p

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Predator or Disease?

During our recent walk at Semakau, noticed that strange things is happening on the Knobbly Sea Star. The sea star either experiencing some disease or some other predator are preying on them.These are the Knobbly that we found on our last week walk at Semakau. After examing the photos, The Knobbly that we found on 28 & 30 could be the same one. The specimen found on the 29 is really in a horrible state. All the five limbs are either bitten off or due to parasite.Photo on top showing missing 'knob' and the open wounds.

This photo show a different conditions of the wounds. These on looks like marks leave behind by predator.... We have no clue on what is happening. Ron was saying could be due to giant puffer fish... some of the wounds looks like sign of parasite of flesh eating bug may be??

Whatever is it, it certainly not a good sign. Anyone ever encounter this before and would like to share?

Monday, October 1, 2007

Semakau With NUS High on 30 Sep 07

For the 3rd day in a row, I’m back at the Semakau again. This time, I’m with 11 students from NUS High School.

After a short presentation from the NEA and the landfill tour, we head for the tidal area.

Semakau has a natural shore that made up of different ecosystems like mangroves, sandy shore, rocky shores, seagrass lagoon & coral reefs. Each ecosystem supports a different variety of plants and animals. The natural part of Pulau Semakau that was not buried under the landfill now has the largest seagrass lagoon, mangroves and reefs in Singapore.

After the refreshing walk through the seagerass lagoon, we saw this nobel volute (Cymbiola nobilis). The white jelly thngs is the eggs.
We also saw this sea cucumber (Stichopus ocellatus) that with the unique eyespots. It was found near the seagrass lagoon. Sea cucumbers take in water through their anus to breathe and feed on detritus (dead plant and animal material) in the sand. The sand is taken in through the mouth, the detritus digested and the clean sand expelled through the anus.

Upon noticed being watched, this branching anemones half retracted to it's tube and only partial tentacles are visible.This fan worm is a marine segmented worms that are attached to rocks or sand by their base with a marvellous feathery fan on its head.

Someone almost step on this moon snail that. Moon snails is a voracious predator that famous with its skill of drilling a hole through the shell of their prey and slowly enjoy their prey.A scallop – mmmm a famous logo that can be seen every where…
A cowrie (Cypraea sp.). Cowrie is getting very rare due to over collections.
A beautiful Heart cockle (Cardium cardissa)
A baby upside down jelly fish that was found by TC.
We also saw this beautiful flatworm (Phylum Platyhelminthes) Flatworms has no skeleton and has a combination digestive/excretory system. It takes food in and gets rid of wastes through the same opening. They are more active when it is dark and cool

This is one of the biggest and most beautiful sea star that can be found in Semakau. - Knobbly Sea Star (Protoreaster nodosus). This is my group poses with the Knobbly Sea Star.

Before we end the tidal walk, saw this red egg crab ( Atergatis integerrimus) that with some missing legs and pincer. The missing legs will be replaced when they next moult. Red egg crabs is the 2nd most poisonous crab in Singapore. No matter how desperate you are, red egg crab should never be consumed! We also saw quite a number of soft corals and an anemones.

While on the way back, we saw lots of Common Sea Star (Archaster typicus)
Stacking on one another doing things!! However, the position is to increase the chances of fertilization as common sea stars do not have internal fertilization.
We need to go through the forest to reach the pick up / wash up point. The short walk seems to be a long and exiting walk as most students do not brought their torch light with them. Walking in the forest in dark is exciting minus the annoying mosquitoes…..
After 3 days in a row of tidal walk at Semakau, I can’t wait to come back again soon.

Another day at Semakau 29 Sep 07

After a fruitful day at Semakau yesterday, I’m ready to go Semakau again for another tidal walk. I’ll share my experience with 10 others nature lovers which called the ‘Stingray Group’.

After a short walk through the forest, we are out at the inter-tidal area. Situated opposite a busy refinery, is hosted thousands of amazing animals which have long disappear from Singapore mainland. Semakau is also one of the last natural shores that remains in Singapore.

The group busy discussing and observing fiddle crabs weaving their enlarged arms that occupied the space under the raised prop root of this mangrove tree. Only the male fiddler crabs have the enlarged pincer mainly to attract female and fighting.

I’m not sure of the id of this crab.Believe to be from the genus Macrophthalmus crabs that having a long stalks eye to enable them a 360 degree view to look out for predators.

We stop near the sea grass lagoon to look at the common sea stars. Taking a closer look at the tube feet of this common sea star. Sea star should not be taken out of water for too long, taking them out of water is like loosing blood on humans.

We saw this thorny sea cucumber on the path at the middle of the sea grass lagoon. We move it to the side to prevent others from accidentally stepping on it while crossing the lagoon.

Aanother 2 different sea cucumber, sandfish sea cucumber on top and Ocellated sea cucumber with lots of ‘big eyes’.

Other interesting creatures that we saw includes flatworm, moon crab, a very tiny sea horse, octopus We are very lucky to see this blue spotted fan tail ray - thats the name of tour group!
We also spotted this super tiny frog fish (the length is less than 1cm from head to tail)And not forgetting to take a group picture with Knobbly Sea Star before we end the walk for today.

Semakau Walk on 28 September 07

The GV(Green Volunteer) of HSBC is bringing a group of visitors to Semakau to visit the only landfill left in Singapore and to walk in the tidal area and understand how urbanisation and conservations can work hand in hand.

It has been 2 months since I last visited Semakau. Ed, TC, July & myself are more than happy to go to the tidal area a head of the visitors to look for the rich bio-diversity on the shore next to Singapore’s only landfill. Super low tide has shifted to evening as we are entering the 3rd quarter of 2007. With this changes, we should be able to watch the sun-set instead of sun rise as with the earlier walks. This is the beauties of tidal walk at Semakau, you’ll be able to see different things during different time of the year.

As with all tropical countries, we have only one ‘summer’ season throughout the year. However, walking on the trail full with dry leaves really give me a feeling that autumn is coming.As soon as we are at the tidal area, I was attracted to this rare heart shape cockle. The heart cockle that we found today is much smaller than all the previous that we found. Which also means that the heart cockle is producing!
This Noble volute is busy laying eggs. I found another volute, look at the beautiful patterns on the shell...I found also found this seaweed not to far from the volute. Isn't it pretty? Is my first time to notice this seaweed.As we explore further, we saw this spider conch, stonefish sea cucumber, this is the unique stonefish sea cucumber calcareous anal teeth that used to prevent invaders when they take in water for oxygen.beautiful cowrie, a very bright orange spotted gymnodoris nudibranch and a very poisonous phyllidia pustulosa nudibranchThis swimming crab was playing with a cockle and trying to crush it when I spotted herRed egg craband another special crab that carry with them their 'built-in' spoon on their pincer to scrap algae off the rocks for feeding. Also saw this very beautiful aneones coral.

Before we know it, the sun is off duty soon. What a beautiful way to end today’s walk and say good bye...