Monday, June 8, 2009

Discovery @ Hantu on 7 June 2009

Ninety Seventh Discovery Posting:

The time was near to 4am and a boat ferrying a batch of RMBR guides, including myself, docked at the jetty of Hantu. It has been almost a year plus since I last visited Hantu and therefore looking forward to this trip despite having to wake up at 1am plus.

So the first 'discovery' of the night, ops, i mean morning, are fiddler crabs. Here's a male fiddler crab (picture below).
And here's a female fiddler crab (picture below).Discovery Note:
1. Only male fiddler crabs have an enlarged claw. Female fiddler crabs, on the other hand, have two smaller claws.
2. The enlarged claw can be either on the left or right side.
3. The enlarged claw may be as large or even as heavy as their body and also it cannot be used to hunt, feed or effectively scare off predators. So what is it for?
4. It is used attract female fiddler crabs and intimdate rival mates.
5. The small claw is used for eating, so if you think about it, the females can eat twice as fast as the males as they have two small claws. This is logical as they need the energy for reproduction purposes.
6. Interestingly, fiddler crabs can change colours. They can appear different in the day and night and in some species, the male fiddler crabs have brighter when it's the mating season.
7. To read more about fiddler crabs, visit

One thing which I really wanted to see on this visit was feather stars. The reason being that I haven't seen one for quite a while and according to KS, one can find them more easily compared to other inter-tidal areas we visit in Singapore.

And I wasn't disappointed, I saw almost 10 red feather stars in that morning. Second 'discovery'.
Here's how one look like when it's 'closed' up (picture below). And when it's 'opened' (pictures below). And as I walked back into the lagoon on Hantu, I come across a black feather star (picture below)!Discovery Note:
1. This is not really easy to find feather stars near shore areas. They are however more commonly sighted during diving trips.
2. Their long and spiny arms are quite fragile, so don't handle them if you see them.
3. They belong to the Phylum of enchinodermata, like the sea stars and sea cucumbers. Like the other enchinodermata, feather stars are symmetrical along the five axis, have spiny skin and tube feet.
4. Read more about them @

The third 'discovery' is a fringe-eyed flathead (picture below). I'm not really good with fishes, so only after a check with KS, who was nearby, then did i know what this fish is. This also translates to more things to learn and read up on...hahaha Close up view of its head (picture below).Discovery Note:
1. If you look closely at the close up photo of its head, you will find that this fish has eyelashes!
2. The two times I've seen it on this same trip, both individuals were lying on the seabed. This might be a way for camouflage itself looking at its appearance.
3. Another reason for this appearance might be because it feeds on creatures that lives in the sea bottom.
4. Read more about them @

After spending almost 3 hours plus, our trip ended as the sun rised above the horizon (picture below).Thanks to R and LK for organising this trip and everyone else who helped to keep one another awake throughout the trip...hahaha

The above were not all the things we saw during this trip, I just highlight those which I wanted to, if you are interested...
a) Read KS postings on this trip:
b) ST's post:
c) Last but not least, E's post:

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