Monday, March 9, 2009

Semakau Tidal Walk - 8 March 09

This is my 2nd visit to Semakau for the month of March. I have with me - Mindy, RMBR Nature Guide to be and 10 very enthusiastic participants from Boon Lay Sec.We depart from Marina South Pier and the boat journey took about 45 mins to reach Pulau Semakau our one and only landfill left in Singapore.

After short video presentation by NEA of the background and introduction to Semakau Landfill, the participants are thrilled with the landfill tour. The participants get to see themselves the landfill operations as well as the final journey of the rubbish that they generated. The landfill tour end at the entrance to the inter-tidal area and a short safety briefing were given.
We go through the forest in order to get to the coaster area to access the inter-tidal area. The path was dry and covered with red sea almond leaves. It was a short trail and will take only a few minutes to get through. The sea lime were fruiting and those daring participants get to try the sweet, juicy and refreshing fruits.
We continue with our walk and stop at mud flat to look at the crabs that like to wave their enlarged claw – fiddler crabs.

Only the male fiddler crab is having the super large claw. The male use this enlarged claw to ward off potential competitors and for courtship. However, due to the over sized claw, they can’t feed as fast as the female crabs.
Mindy with the participants at the fiddler crabs station.

Before we reach the sea grass lagoon, we saw this strange looking horseshoe crab. Instead of red, horseshoe crab is having blue colour blood due to the copper that presence in their blood. They are considered living fossil as they have evolved little in the last 400 million years.
This beautiful shell with mountain drawing on it is actually a noble volute. We have been seeing noble volute laying egg for the past few months.
Just next to the volute, the four arms common star caught our attention. It has one arm less compare with other common sand stars. Common star have a very unique way of getting their food. Common star feed on detritus. Others usually send their food through mouth to their stomach but common sea stars send their stomach directly to the food.
Hiding below the tube feet of the common sea star is this little dragonet. Dragonets have flattened, triangular heads with large mouths and eyes. Due to similarities in morphology and behaviour, dragonets are sometimes confused with members of the goby family.
Also having a flattened head, was this big flathead (family Platycephalidae).
One of the masters of camouflage is this hairy crab (Pilumnus vespertilio). It is almost invisible if it decided not to move. The hair would trap sediments and made themselves looks like part of the substrate when out of water. When under water, their hair will break their body outline and make it very difficult to be detected. They might have the same name as hairy crabs but this hairy crabs are poisonous and not to be consumed.

We saw 2 different nudibranchs today, a Chromodoris lineolata and a pink colour Dendrodoris fumata. Nudibranchs (means naked gills) got their name from their exposed gills on the back.2 species of sea cucumber was found too, stonefish sea cucumber (Actinopyga lecanora) sandfish sea cucumber (Holothuria scabra).We also saw a seahorse!I still have no clue about the real id of this sea star that make his first appearance on 14 November 2008.

Is a hot day and we enjoy the trip very much! From the look on the participants face, I'm sure they enjoy the trip as much as I had.

Thank you to all the participants... you all are amazing!

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