Saturday, June 27, 2009

Living Shores of Semakau

100th Discovery Posting:

Visitors or participants to Semakau with RMBR would always be assigned to a group name (participants to St John Island's inter tidal walk and students participating in other shore walks organised by RMBR would probably get these as well). And if you have ever wondered where these names come from, the names are actually from a series of 18 badges. And these 18 badges features the flora and fauna that can be found on Semakau and also on other shores of Singapore.

In this posting, i will feature all the 18 badges and have tried to at the same time show you how the real animal or plant look like in real life. What do i mean by that? Just look at the picture below to get an idea.
This (picture above) is a land-hermit crab. I have never personally seen it at Semakau, that is probably because I never made any effort to look for one. This particiular individual is from Sister's island. Maybe I should spend some time to look for a land hermit crab over at Semakau when I have the time.

Next up is the mangrove badge (picture below).One can find a great number of mangrove trees on Semakau. The mangrove survey done during Project Semakau (still ongoing) has yield results informing us that Semakau is a home to some of the rarer species of mangrove trees found in Singapore, one example is the Avicennia marina.

And on Semakau and other places, you can usually spot a number of fiddler crabs near the roots of mangrove trees and around sandy areas (picture below). Another animal you might spot near mangrove trees would be the mudskipper (picture below)And sometimes if you're lucky, you might even spot a horseshoe crab (picture below).By the way, it would be good to note that there are 2 types of horseshoe crabs you can find in Singapore. One is the mangrove horseshoe crab, the other is the costal horseshoe crab. The most easy way to tell one apart from another is by feeling their tails. The mangrove horseshoe crab's tail is round in cross-section while the coastal one is triangular-like in cross-section.

Next up is the upside down jellyfish (picture below). They are mostly found in an upside down position as there are algae living mostly in the upside down section of their bodies. The algae would share any extra food it makes and in return, the upside down jelly fish provides shelter and minerials for the algae. This kind of 'you help me, I help you' relationship is also seen in other marine creatures such as corals and ... giant clams (picture below).In our safety briefings for any inter tidal walks, we would always ask our participants to let us (the guides) to walk first and want them to follow our trail. This is mostly because there are creatures out there which can cause one harm if stepped on. One example would be a blue-spotted fantail ray (picture below). It would give you a really bad sting using its one or two venomous sting on its tail.
There are also some interesting and nice looking shelled animals featured on the badges also. One of them would be the noble volute (picture below).The other would be the spider conch (picture below).And if you look closer at the badge and photo above, you would see that the spider conch actually has a pair of eyes!

Besides the two shelled animals, there are also other creatures which we and our participants find them adorable. One example would be a nudibranch, which is a kind of sea slug (picture below).
The seahorse (picture below)And the clownfish aka NEMO (picture below)Next up is the octopus (picture below). You might not know this, but octopuses are actually quite common on our shores. They are just not seen so often as they are more active in the dark.

And of course, how could the stars of any inter tidal walk, the Knobbly sea star, be missed out frmo the series of badges (picture below).
Right now, although I have the whole collection of all 18 badges, I do not have the photos or nice photos of all the them. Some of them inculde the puffer fish (picture below)The great-billed heron (picture below)
And the hawksbill turtle (picture below)You might be wondering if there are any sea turtles in our waters. Let me answer give you the answer to the question. It is a big YES. Some of my friends have actually seen them with their own eyes on Semakau before.

So that is all the 18 badges for you. But before I end this post, you would find a series of group photos from the participants I've lead for yesterday and today. I've uploaded them so they could download them for memories and also as a memory for me. =D

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