Monday, October 19, 2009

Semakau Inter Tidal walk on 18 Oct 2009

106th Discovery Posting:

Finally, after almost a month of non inter tidal outings, I'm back out at the shores again. Yesterday, I was back out on one of my favourite shores and island in Singapore, Semakau, doing guiding. Have to give a special mention to my group, the fiddler crabs, because they are mostly compromised of people who I have seen during the nature explorers' trip to Tioman Island during the September school holidays. Seeing them does brings back memories of that trip...

Anyway, past memories aside, here's one of the first few things we saw during the trip. The first 'discovery' of this posting an olive whelk (picture below). Something really common but I have not seen before or probably never taken note before.
Like all whelks, the olive whelk is a scavenger. Well, for example, if you died on the natural shore (touchwood) and no one removes your body. Scavengers such as whelks will come and 'clean' you up. Get what I mean? =D

Dead bodies aside, let's take a look at some live ones captured on photographs...hahaha (picture below).Our second 'discovery' for this posting would be common sea stars (picture below).Although their common name is common sea stars, they are actually not really common on our shores due to over collection and especially habitat loss. Maybe we should call them "uncommon sea stars" instead...=P

Okay, back to the trip. Next up, third 'discovery' is the really pretty juvenile cushion star which we have been spotting for the last few months (picture below). It looks healthy and has been slowly increasing in size over the past few months, which is great news. It's pretty amazing to know that cushion stars can grow to about the size of our heads or even bigger if given a good environment with sufficient food. Just to let you know, cushion stars of these bigger sizes are usually seen during diving trips.

However, you don't need to get wet to see all the beautiful marine organisms. An inter tidal walk along the shores can also bring you surprises comparable to diving trips. Take for example, this noble volute which spots a good looking shell, our fourth 'discovery' (picture below).
Due to its attractive looking shell, the noble volute has been harvested and its numbers have plummeted as a result.

Colourful creatures do stand out in the shores where it's usually brown and green around. For example, this nudibranch, the fifth 'discovery' (picture below). In the natural world. creatures with colourful colours are usually 'bad' to eat or what we say as warning colours. The result of eating them could lead to poisoning or even death in worst case scenarios. Probably that's why the nudibranchs grows up losing its shell. Cause it doesn't really need a shell to protect itself, its colours are already a protection or warning to others.

We also had the great luck to see our one and only unknown sea star on Semakau and probably in Singapore as well. Sixth 'discovery' (picture below)!
Our hunter seekers also found us one of the resident knobbly sea stars on Semakau (picture below) for our last station.And after a little coaxing, I managed to get my group to pose for a group shot with the knobbly (picture below) =D.All in all, another great day despite being real hot in the beginning. And it's great to see the familiar faces from nature explorers, I hope it would not be too long before I see you all again! =D