Sunday, September 2, 2007

Discovery @ St John's Island on 1 Sep 2007

Twenty-second discovery posting:

The tides have changed!

What do i mean?
In a day, there are 2 low tides and 2 high tides, and one of the low tides is a lower low tide, which means the water level is lower at the shores, and it is at this lower low tide where we shore lovers explore the inter-tidal zones.
And from September onwards, for a half a year, the lower low tides will be in the late afternoon, which means more sleep for us. =P

Anyway, on Saturday, the wildfilms crew and some Naked Hermit Crab's crabbies gathered to head out to St John Island. And along the boat trip, almost all of us were snapping photos away, either taking photos of our urban cityscape, clouds, boats or the sea.

Here's a city scape photo shot below:
And here's our destination (picture below)!
First 'discovery ' was made as we approached the inter-tidal zone. A pong pong tree (picture below).Discovery Note:
1. The pong pong is a medium sized coastal tree which was once a commonly planted tree along the roads of Singapore.

2. The tree has been called Singapore apple because of the large, round fruits.

3. The seeds are extremely poisonous though so it’s advised not to eat the fruits.

4. They also have showy, white flowers which are very fragrant
(picture below)
Side note:
If you are interested, you might want to read more about the pong pong tree here.

Once hitting ground 'zero' (the inter-tidal zone), Ron was exclaiming the amount of onchidiums he could spot on the rocks. Here are two of them and second 'discovery'. Can you spot them (picture below)?
Discovery Note:
1. They are actually sea slugs, which are molluscs without a shell.
2. They are hard to spot as their skin often match the algae-cover rock, sand and sediment which can get stuck on it also helps to add on to its already great camouflage.
3. They are able to survive out of water as they have modified gills which allow them to breathe air.

Along the shores of St John, we also spotted small caves
which were formed by the waves of the sea (picture below). These naturally formed caves can also be found along the more untouched shores of Sentosa. Besides the caves, Kok Sheng also pointed out that the rocky upper shore really resembles the Sentosa rocky shores too (picture below).Side Note:
The little island you might spot in the picture is actually one of the sister islands.

As we spread out to explore the shores, Kok Sheng soon found one spider conch 'hiding' beside a huge rock. Third 'discovery'!Discovery Note:
1 Young Spider Conchs who have yet to develop their "fingers" look more like members of the cone family.

2. Once they reach maturity, they develop their spider like "fingers" on the outer lip of the shell. 3. It means this spider conch which was spotted is a mature one.

4. Females have longer fingers than the males.

5. Most live in shallow water, feeding on algae.

As the tide receded , the sky darken, the time was ripe for another shot of the city scape (picture below). As the tide got lower, we headed further out and spotted this gigantic carpet anemone (picture below). Fifth 'discovery'.Discovery Note:
1. They have stinging cells in their tentacles, usually these tentacles are only exposed under water, but there have been cases where people have been stung when these are touched when these anemones are above water, so for your own safety, don't touch them with your naked hands.
2. They lack an anus, so they split out any indigestible food through its mouth.
3. This is one of the species where you could find nemos aka clownfishes living with them.

Although we did not spotted any nemos living within, we did spot a anemone shrimp (picture below). So here's sixth 'discovery'.
Discovery Note:
1. They are able to live in or with anemones just like clown fishes.

One interesting thing about evening walks is that lots of animals come out to feed during the dark, especially crabs.

Seventh 'discovery' is a red egg crab feeding (picture below).Discovery Note:
1. The Red egg crab is listed among the threatened animals of Singapore due to habitat lost.
2. Egg crabs are highly poisonous and contain toxins which are not destroyed by cooking.
3. Since other animals don't particularly want to eat this crab as it is poisonous, it is slow moving and doesn't really bother to hide.

And there were also a number of swimming crabs swimming around and feeding. Eighth 'discovery' is one of them (picture below).Discovery Note:
1. They have paddle-like swimming legs which can rotate like boat propellers to enable them to swim rapidly.

2. They usually swim sideways, but they can also swim backwards and forwards!

Now tenth 'discovery' is something which left Ron, Kok Sheng and me wondering what is it. Ron said it looked like corallimorphs but he couldn't confirm (pictures below). Could anyone who knows enlightened us on this? Discovery Note:
1. Will insert them if i managed to confirm its ID.
2. Lesson of the day: There's always something new to learn on our shores!

Eleventh 'discovery' is a well camouflaged creature. Can you spot it (picture below)?Discovery Note:
1. It's an octopus, which is also called "devilfish".

2. Octopuses are characterized by their eight arms (not tentacles), usually bearing suction cups.

3. Octopuses have almost entirely soft bodies with no internal skeleton. This enables them to squeeze through very narrow slits between underwater rocks, which is very helpful when they are fleeing.

4. The only hard part of their body is a beak, which is similar in shape as to a parrot’s peak.

5. Most octopuses have a relatively short life span, and some species live for as little as six months.

6. Did you know that octopuses have three hearts? Yes, they have three hearts!

Twelfth 'discovery' is a flatworm which was found after some turning over of small rocks (picture below). Discovery Note:
1. Flatworms has both male and female reproductive systems, so when two flatworms mate. They may fertilise each other!

Thirteenth 'discovery'. Where's the picture? What is it?

A swimming camera.

It seems like after all the exploration near the seas, my camera decided to go for a dip too. Unfortunately, it did not survive the swim. =(

Well, nevertheless, got to look at the bright side of things, it's time to get a camera which can swim. haha. And at least the pictures i've taken did not "gone with the waves~". =P


ria said...

Once again, I'm so sorry about your camera.

But glad that your photos survived!

Thanks for sharing all the discoveries!

I think those anemone-like things are really sea anemones and not corallimorphs. But I don't know for sure.

But Dr Daphne will know :-)

DreamerJuly said...

Hi Ria

Well, at least i got a camera which can 'swim' now ..haha

Glad to share anything although it always takes ages for me to blog (as everyone says also) due to the research i do for the new things i see... but it's all for learning and sharing! =)