Sunday, March 9, 2008

Semakau Inter-Tidal Walk on 8 March 2008

Discovery Posting Number Fifty!

For the second public walk of the year 2008, i was assigned to be one of the hunter seekers, which means i have to find interesting things and mark them out for the guides, which also equates to if i can't find anything, i will be very stressed... Anyway, today, CH was together with me on this 'job'.

Although this 'job' is stressful in a way, it does have its benefits, we get to have a bit of time (it's really not much) to take photos, here's a photo of part of the inter-tidal area of Semakau (picture below)
And be the first to cross the seagrass lagoon and enjoy the view of the clear waters (picture below).
And of course the feeling of finding something interesting is really great! Here's 'first' discovery', an upside down jellyfish (picture below)
Discovery Note:
1. Its name is thus because you will usually find this jellyfish upside down.
2. The upside down position allows zooxanthellae which lives on the underside of the jellyfish to get sunlight so they can photosynthesize.
3. And the zooxanthellae when photosynthesizing shares its food with the jellyfish, while the jellyfish gives the zooxanthellae a place to call home.
4. So they have a symbiotic relationship.

Second 'discovery' should be a juvenile noble volute found by CH(picture below).
Discovery Note:
1. Volutes are carnivorous.
2. They prey on bivalves, enveloping the victim completely with their foot forcing the bivalve to finally open from exhaustion and lack of oxygen.
3. They can grow to more than 20cm and used to be common but now threaten due to 'harvesting' from humans and habitat lost.
So it's really great to see a 'young' one!

Third 'discovery' should be a great egret (picture below) which was perching at the reef edge area (picture below).
Discovery Note (information from Sungei Buloh online guidesheet):
1. Great Egrets feed on mostly fish, but will also take amphibians (frogs), aquatic invertebrates (insects, crayfish), and reptiles (snakes).
Great Egrets are skilled hunters.
3. They stalk the shallow waters or mud flats, walking slowly or quickly with their strong neck coiled at ready. And when suitable prey is spotted they straighten out the neck, to instantly snatch the prey. When fishing, they may tilt their heads to one side, possibly to avoid the glare of the sun's reflection on the water.
Great Egrets may also use their feet to stir up the water and scare up a victim.
5. For more information on the great egret, click here.

As I walked around to find more interesting marine creatures, CH spot a blue-spotted stingray trapped in a net, and with the help of Shawn (NEA staff), it was freed. Fourth 'discovery'.
Discovery Note:
1. The position of the eyes allows the blue spot stingray to see almost behind it.
2. The gills and mouth are found on the underside of the body.
3. The blue spot stingray doesn't really have teeth—instead, the mouth is outfitted with two food-crushing plates.
4. Rays dart away when they sense trouble approaching. When caught off guard, these fish fend off predators with a flick of the tail, which is equipped with two venomous spines. Since its tail is so long, the blue spot stingray can even strike at animals directly in front of it.
5. The large tail spine of the blue spot stingray is dangerous and even deadly. The barbs in the tail are so large; people have bled to death from a sting.

In the end, we managed to find quite a number of marine flora and fauna for the visitors. However, in the view that many others might blog about this trip, I'll leave the job to them. Or you could say I'm a bit lazy. =P

a) See more creatures on Tidechaser's blog entry.
b) Read more about the anemone shrimp on Urban Forest.

Anyway, thanks to all again for this wonderful trip to a favourite place. =)

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