Thursday, June 7, 2007

Naked Hermit Crabs goes on an adventure on 7 June 2007

Ninth Discovery Posting:

Unlike yesterday, today looked like a splendid day for a walk on the Sentosa shores (picture below).
Today's the third day straight for the Naked Hermit Crabs on Sentosa and this morning was a guides and friends day and exploring the adventure trail was our objective of the day.

As I walked towards the starting point of the adventure trail, a peahen and its chick was also doing their morning walk (picture below). Hey, my first 'discovery' of the day.
Discovery Note:
1. Do you know that the male is called a peacock while the female is a peahen?
2. So instead of using peacock as a term to refer to both sexes, use peafowl.

3. Peacocks are best known for their extravagant tail, which it displays as part of courtship.
4. There are generally 2 species of peafowl, the Indian Peafowl and the Green Peafowl.

5. The Indian Peafowl is the nation bird of India.

6. The Green Peafowl is listed as vulnerable to extinction due to hunting and habitat lost.

Before we descended to the starting point, the walk had already unofficially began with Robert giving an introduction on the flower of Sea Poison Tree (picture below) and the tree itself. Second 'discovery'.
Discovery Note:
1. It is a large tree that grows on sandy and rocky shores.
2. The flowers are delightful puff balls of white stamens tipped with pink. They open at night and attract large moths and nectar-feeding bats with their heavy scent.
3. The next morning, the flower stamens are usually found strewn beneath the tree.

4. The seeds and other parts of the plant are pounded, pulped or grated to release the poison which can be used to stun fish in freshwater streams. But please do not do that.

5. It is among the plants that host the magnificent Atlas Moth.

And just nearby was a kapok tree (picture below). Third 'discovery'!
Seed pod of the Kapok Tree (picture below).
Discovery Note:
1. The Kapok tree is an emergent tree of the tropical rainforests, and is often described as majestic as it can grow to a height of 45 meters or more.

2. It is a native plant from South America.

3. The brown seeds are round like peas and are found in pods.

4. The seed pods are woody, smooth and pendulous, with a light green colour. They will burst open while still on the tree after the leaves have fallen. Inside a whitish cotton like fiber surrounds the brown seeds.

5. These white cotton like fiber can be used in pillows and mattresses.

These trees actually play an important part within the ecosystem of the forest. Click here to find out more.

Here was almost everyone (minus me) on the shores heading towards the branching corals found nearby. Corals so near the city, is it possible? Read my previous entry to find out.
As we headed towards the branching corals, this attracted our attention. A carpet anemone (picture below)! Fourth 'discovery' of the day.
Discovery Note:
1. Carpet anemones of the same species may have different colours. These colours are caused by the symbiotic algae that live in their tentacles.

2. At low tide, the oral disk shrinks greatly to reduce the area that is exposed to the drying air.

3. When it is really hot and dry, the entire oral disk can be retracted completely into the ground. 4. This can also happen when it rains heavily at low tide.

And lying nearby was a moon snail (picture below), let me count, this is the fifth 'discovery'.
Discovery Note:
1. Moon snails are able to inflate its body with seawater as it emerges from the shell and the fully expanded body can be much bigger than its own shell.

2. The Moon snail is able to warp its huge body around its prey to suffocate it.

3. It can also secrete an acid to soften its victim’s shell. A hole is then eventually created in the shell with its radula.

4. The Moon snail generally feeds on snails and clams.

Continuing our trail, this staircase (picture below) came into view. What is it?
Ron then said that this might be a old jetty. Evidence? Look at the picture below.
Walking on , i then saw this Angsana tree (picture below) which i missed during my trip here yesterday. Sixth 'discovery'.
Discovery Note:
1. The Angsana tree is native to the southern part of the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia and was introduced into Singapore in the early 19th century.
2. However, mature trees are known to have a weak structure, and break easily, especially during stormy weathers. So don’t stand near to an Angsana tree during a storm.

Well, the Angsana tree was actually an indication that the trail from there on will start to get rocky (picture below).
Some people might think what life can we find amongst the rocks. Well, my seventh 'discovery' would be one example. The dwarf turban snail (picture below).
Bottom view of the dwarf turban snail (picture below)
Discovery Note:
1. The door to the shell opening (operculum) is thick and rounded.
2. The hemi-spherical operculum is called a 'cat's eye'.

3. These ‘cat’s eyes’ are sometimes used as buttons.

With a ratio of guides outnumbering friends by 3:1, naturally our progress would be slow, as everyone was exploring the flora and fauna along the shores. We were behind schedule for about 20 minutes before hitting the second part of the trail where some have went there earlier to look for things. Here are some of the things they've found.

Eighth 'discovery'. A polka-dot nudibranch (picture below).
Discovery Note:
1. There are 3000 described species of nudibranchs worldwide.

2. They can be found from the lower inter-tidal zone to depths of over 700 meters.
3. They can be found all over the world, from the British Islands, the tropics and even the Antarctic.

Ninth 'discovery' was a unknown fish (picture below).
Discovery Note:
1. This fish has a false eye near its tail.
2. This fish was able to change colour from a electric blue to a almost black colour. We are guessing that it changes into the almost black colour when disturbed or when it senses danger, so that it can escape easily.

A photo of the same fish when it is in the electric blue colour (picture below).
Tenth 'discovery' was a mosaic crab.
Discovery Note:
1. This is one of the most poisonous crabs we can find in our waters.

Seeing that the tide was coming in, all of us had to leave the shore reluctantly.

but, We, the Naked Hermit Crabs would be back at Sentosa! So it's see you soon, Sentosa~

Final entry words: Thanks to all the Naked Hermit Crabs, friends of NHC and participants for making these three days an wonderful experience. The waves will wash away our footprints but memories will remain. =p

1 comment:

Redsagaseed said...

Sentosa is full of contrasts. I hope this natural shore will be conserved for our kids. Nothing beats seeing wildlife in our own backyard. Leykun