Friday, May 1, 2009

Semakau Inter-Tidal Walk on 1st May 2009

Ninety Third Discovery Posting:

Unlike the previous two mornings where storms raged above our skies, clear skies greeted us this morning. This prevented any disappointment to all shore goers, especially to the knobbly sea stars, the group which I was guiding today over at Semakau.

Here are the knobbly sea stars of the day with D, my 'lovey' assistant of the day, left-most person (pictures below).
Wacky Shot (picture below)One of first few things which are most prominent and stir our visitors' curiosity as one walks on the Semakau inter-tidal zone would be the sponges. Our first 'discovery' (picture below). Discovery Note:
1. The sponges you use at home nowadays are mostly made synthetically. But in the past, sponges are made from real living sponges.
2. Some bathing sponges which are on available are still made from living sponges though, you can tell the difference from the labels and of course, the price tag. =P
3. Not all sponges can be made into bathing sponges, so don't go around and pick up any sponge and use them to rub them against your body. This is because some sponges have sharp and poky spicules which can cause irritation and pain if contact is made. In other words, do not handle any sponges if possible.
4. Sponges can come in many different colours and we do not know exactly why. But there are some possible reasons mentioned by scientists: a) act as warning colours to inform animals that they are not good food, b) sunblock, c) due to symbiotic algae.
5. You can read more about sponges @

Besides having good weather, we were also lucky enough to spot a well-camouflaged spider conch! Second 'discovery' (picture below shows the top side). The spider conch is really a sea snail with a beautiful shell. Look at its underside to understand why I say that (picture below).
Discovery Note:
1. As a result of their really nice shells, spider conches are not only collected for food, they are also collected for their shells.
2. Due to this collection, spider conches have been labelled as a 'vulnerable' on the Red list of threaten animals of Singapore.
3. That aside, the movement of spider conches is quite interesting. They make use of a curved, knifed shaped operculum or in short, a 'leg' or 'pole' to pole vault around.
4. The spikes that are found on the shell helps to prevent the spider conch are rolling around after making a 'hop'.
5. Read more about the spider conch @

Awaiting at our next station was a small and cute animal, a stripped hermit crab. Third 'discovery' (picture below). Discovery Note:
1. Hermit crabs unlike the other crabs which are commonly seen do not have a hard carapace that can cover their whole body.
2. So they need an empty shell as a home to protect their soft buttocks. So before you want to bring home an empty shell you find along the shore. Think about the hermit crabs who cannot find a home.
3. As the hermit crabs grow bigger, they also need bigger shells to contain their ahem... bigger buttocks. So all sizes of empty shells are important to them.
4. Read more about them @

Today the knobbly sea stars also had the chance to meet themselves! A knobbly sea star, our fourth 'discovery' (picture below). And of course, the knobbly sea stars of the day just have to take a photo with the real guy. =P (picture below)
All in all, everyone was cheerful despite the hot weather. And what really made the day for everyone was a sighting which I didn't manage to photograph. That is the sighting of dolphins!

Some of our guides did manage to get some photos and even videos of them. Here are the links:

Extra (Other blog posts on this trip):

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