109th Discovery Posting:
Today (now: yesterday) is (now: was) the first day of 2010 and I was out on an inter-tidal area with friends at Pulau Hantu.
The inter-tidal area on the island itself isn't really huge but it does have a variety of 'attractions'. First, there are some mangrove trees which one can get really close up and observe their aerial roots (picture below).
Second, you are able to find some marine organisms found in some other inter-tidal areas in Singapore. Take for example, our first 'discovery', a common sea star (picture below). If you follow my postings, you will find that I sometimes bemoan the fact that despite being named the common sea star, this species of sea star is actually not common in Singapore. This is probably mainly due to the loss of habitat. However, in the past few months, they have been spotted at Sentosa and more recently, many in numbers at Tanah Merah (a reclaimed shore). I hope this is a sign that they can really become common.
Second 'discovery' would be something that you 'die-die also can see' unless something drastic happens (for example: water pollution), touch wood. Anyway, I am referring to corals. Here's a flowery soft coral (picture below).They are nice to look at but bad to touch. They will not break of course, but they can sting you, so it would be a good idea not to touch them. Anyway, do take a closer look whenever you come across one of these as you might come across tiny animals that can live on this kind of soft coral. I didn't really take a close look this time, but you can see some examples from this link.
Our third 'discovery' is also a coral. This is a mushroom coral (picture below)Mushroom corals are corals with a ... er ... two differences from other corals. One, unlike other corals which are attached on the ground/substrate/rock, the mushroom coral when as a adult lives unattached to those mentioned. Two, unlike corals which are mostly made up of many individual animals (named: polyps), mushroom corals are made up of either one polyp or sometimes a few.
Next up, our fourth 'discovery', a flat worm (picture below). As their name suggest, flatworms are really flat. This can help them to squeeze or move into narrow and small spaces to find food and at the same time to hide from their predators. At the same time, being really flat means that their bodies are easily tore when handled, so please handle them with them or don't handle them at all. One really interesting thing about them is that flatworms are hermaphrodites. In really simple terms, this means that a flat worm is both a guy and gal. In specific terms, flatworms have both the male and female reproductive organs.
Does this (picture below) look tasty to you? I bet crab lovers will drool over this...
However our fifth 'discovery', the red egg crab, is a crab which crab lovers should avoid as they are poisonous and more importantly, their poison CANNOT be wiped out by cooking.
Our sixth 'discovery' may look like a flatworm which you have seen earlier, however this is a nudibranch (picture below). To be more specific, this is a Bohol nudibranch, Discodoris boholiensus.As mentioned, you might have taken this as a flatworm. No worries, this happens to us sometimes as well. So how can we and you not make this mistake. Here's a site for help: http://www.wildsingapore.com/wildfacts/glossary/flatwormslug.htm
And lastly is the highlight of our trip, the seventh 'discovery', a....SEAHORSE (picture above and below)!I believe you might already know that an interesting fact about the sea horse is that the father carries the eggs of its young, in other words, get 'pregnant'. But do you know that seahorses are actually related to fishes but not horses. There are many more information about them, you can read them at http://www.wildsingapore.com/wildfacts/vertebrates/fish/syngnathidae/hippocampus.htm.
That about concludes this posting. Would like to thank R for organising this trip and all who were also there. It was another nice although short trip. =D