Wednesday, January 28, 2009

'Underwater World' at Sentosa

This was my 2nd time visiting Sentosa within this week. I was here on Sunday, the eve of Chinese New Year for the Sentosa Flower 2009. However, I did not visit 'The Underwater World' of Sentosa where the animals are in captivity but instead I visit the inter-tidal area - the real underwater world of Sentosa where the animals are in their original habitats. The tide was not too low but low enough to go for another inter-tidal walk at Sentosa. From the photo, the Cruise is very close to where we explore.
The hermit crab (Clibanarius infraspinatus) was having fun playing hide & seek. Different from a true crab, hermit crab have long and soft abdomens as such are rely on 2nd hand shells to live on for protection.
I have been seeing this slug (Dendrodoris denisoni) for the last few trips on different shore perhaps is seasonal?The only sea star that I seen on this trip, a Common star (Archaster typicus)There are also a few anemones on the shore.Not a real fish but artificial bait that left behind by someone.Oncidium were out from their hiding during low tide too.On the rock surface at upper shore, nerites are abundance.The half eaten eel and their predator - a swimming crabMy 2nd time seeing this slug (Dermatobranchus sp.)This polka dot nudibranch (Jorunna funebris) is so small that their dots are not so visible yet.A very common sea cucumber that can be found at inter-tidal area - Holothuria leucospilota
Red egg crab ( Atergatis integerrimus) seems to be very common here as well.
and also their close relative - Brown egg crab (Atergatis floridus)A very cute crab that looks like a teddy bear - Hairy crab (Pilumnus vespertilio). This hairy structure give them a very good camouflage on the surface as well as underwater.I took this shot before I leave the inter-tidal area. However, it took me another hour plus queuing for transport before I reach the mainland as there are very crowded.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Tree with many names - Hura crepitans

When I first came across this tree, I thought it was a berries tree or some kind. With help from LK, I got its id.
Hura crepitans, with many common names such as monkey's dinner-bell, sand-box tree, possum wood, dynamite tree, etc. It is recognized by the many dark, pointed spines and smooth brown bark. These spines have caused it to be called Monkey no-climb too.
The berries look-alike structure is actually their male flowers that have no petals. Male flowers grow on long spikes; female flowers are solitary.I took the above photo during my trip to Langkawi last December, it have a crab spider on it.The fruit with a shape of pumpkin.
When ripe, pods catapult the seeds as far as 100 meters and is considered an invasive species in some country as their seeds can germinate and grow in deep shade, allowing the plant to invade undisturbed forest. The explosive sound of the ripe fruit as it splits into segments thus won them the name of Dynamite tree. This pumpkins shape fruit was once used for holding fine dry sand used for blotting ink before the introduction of blotting paper, hence the common name "sand box tree.”

The irritant latex is used as a barbasco and arrow poison, and is said to cause ailing teeth to fallout. the latex is used to treat skin diseases, rheumatism, and intestinal worms and was formerly used in the United states to prepare tear gas. The poisonous seeds, eaten by macaws, are used as a purgative in Costa Rica. they are used to poison noxious animals. The dry leaves are eaten by cattle during the dry season. A bark extract is used for leprosy. The wood is used locally in light construction, and for dugouts. Burning wood repels insects. (source from Webster)
I'm seeing this tree is getting popular perhaps due to the shade that the tree provides.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Stubborn Limpet

Limpet refer to many kinds of snails both marine & freshwater which have a low conical shell with big opening at the bottom. They will cling to surface tightly when disturbed.
A true limpet - Patelloida sacharinoides
How do we distinguish which one is a ‘True Limpet’? True limpets usually have fewer ribs on their shell compare to non-true limpets. Non-true limpets usually have ribs pattern that are symmetrical. If you found a limpet shell, just look at the underside, if you can see a canal, chances are they are not true limpets.
Siphonaria atra - not a true limpet
Underside of Siphonaria atra
Look for empty shell on the shore and never try to turn over or dislodge a limpet by using brute force. Doing so will destroy or kill them as limpets will rather destroyed than let go their grip.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Lively Tuas Shore

A rather remote shore situated at the West most of Singapore not too far from the 2nd Link. Perhaps due to the remote location and happens to be a 'restricted' area, the shore is off limit to most people.

Thanks to Schering Plough and RMBR kind arrangement, I get to visit this shore with a group of Nature Guides. The weather is good and the tide is just enough to expose part of the shore where it usually covered with sea water
There are lots of nerites such as this one with beautiful zebra stripes on the upper shore grazing algae.
This octopus was hiding in the hole waiting for the tide to return.Once the shrimp sense of danger, it quickly burrow into the sands to avoid predator.This decorator crab is so well camouflage, if she decided to stay still unlikely we would be able to spot her.There are also lots of zoanthids on the shore as well. Zoanthids are actually colonial anemones.
The fish that fish is no other than this smart frog fish. With the bait-lure on top of the mouth, when fish are attracted by the lure-bait, this well camouflage fish will open its big mouth!In a split second, the greedy fish will became its dinner!This ugly looking lump is a slug!This is the bottom of the slug and I have no idea of the ids yet.This beautiful anemones is a solitary anemone , probably a Aliciidae.This beautiful moon snail in fact a fierce predator. They can move very fast compare to bivalves. Once it caught a prey, it will drill a hole through the shell of its prey!
Cowries are now very rare on our shore due to habitat lost and over collection.A snapping shrimp peep through its burrow.A blue-spotted nudibranch Dendrodoris denisoniThis small crab is decorating herself with sponges...Is this small shrimp trying to push the file fish away??Have not seen this red anemones shrimp for a while. Wow!This sand dollar is different from the others that we has a very beautiful star on its back!Sea pen is actually a colony of many animals. The central stalk is a single polyp. The feathers like parts branching off from the central stalk is other animals called secondary polyps.Another rare find, a Melibe sp. This sponge crab hide under the nice coat crafted by herself using sponges.
Tuas is really amazing...we found an eight arms Luidia maculata!A close-up shot of this rare star.Just compare with this bento box and you should be able to guess the size of this sea star.
Just before we end our walk, we saw this hairy seahare, Bursatella leachiiBy the time we finish, is already dark! Although this shore is so close to such a heavy industrial area, it is doing very well. Bravo!