116th Discovery Posting
Last Saturday, a small group of Project Semakau volunteers, including myself, went off in the early morning to do a survey on a different part of Semakau where we don't usually do our surveys.
In this blog posting, I will give a peek into the various organisms which we saw.
First 'discovery' would be a cryptic sea star (picture below).
Interestingly, this kind of sea star has not been seen on other places in Singapore other than Semakau. They are usually found under or on stones near the mid-water mark so sometimes we might have to turn stones over to find them. They are known to feed on algae and small animals found on the surfaces of stones.
Still in the area of the mid-water mark, the second 'discovery' would be this onch slug (picture below).
Compared to the cryptic sea star, the onch slug is much more common. The only reason why you might not see them as often is that they are pretty well camouflaged. They also feed on algae found on stones and unlike other sea slugs, the onch slug does not live underwater. Instead they are able to breathe air through their simple lungs and when the tide is high, they would burrow into mud or sand, trapping an air bubble to breathe in.
After suffering numerous sand fly bites near the rocks, we finally moved into the sandy parts of the area and we encounter this cute little spotted moon crab, third 'discovery' (picture below).
The moon crab is actually quite common on our shores. They however do hide buried in the sediments and are more active during the night thus you might not have seen them before. To help to bury themselves quickly into the sand, all ends of their legs (excluding the claws) are shaped like a paddle.
As you might have already read/know, we found a long drift net in the area and a number of things including three black tip reef sharks became victims of the net. Here's another victim, a big fish, I'm not good with the identification of fishes. And at the side was a red swimming crab trying to scavenge the dead fish (picture below).
As most of us had very little sleep the night before as we spent our night over on the island, the rising of the sun did provide us with some injection of energy into our lethargic bodies (picture below).
The last animal we encounter before we went to document the three dead black tip reef sharks was this dog faced water snake, fourth 'discovery' (picture below).The dog face water snake is another animal which is quite common to Singapore. They are usually seen in mangroves and sometimes the inter tidal area. They are much more active at night and spent the day mostly in hiding. Please do not try to handle this snake if you came into close contact with it as they are mildly venomous. You just need to move away and not disturb it and it would not attack you as it is mostly docile.
That about ends this blog posting and do come back in a few days as I still have back logged blog postings to make. =D