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There is always a brighter side... ...

There is always a brighter side... ...

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

27 Feb walk-The first post since a long, long time ago...

Hi, its been awhile, as in REALLY awhile since I wrote on this blog. I think its dead. Though it wasn't even alive in the first place. Oh well, blame my lethargy, and the moon for not giving us good tides :) Well for starters, today was a really jellyfishy day, or is it called a sea jelly? Since, after all, a starfish is now a sea star. So I'm guessing this is an unknown jellyfish... Bristle worms (Eurythoe complanata)don't sting as bad as fireworms, but can still give a nasty sting. Horseshoe crabs seem to be in season... A noble volute with a really pretty shell...not encrusted by any animals... I'm not sure what ID this sea cucumber is... The usual sea cucumbers...first word that comes to people's minds when they see it: shit. Second word: poop. Really beautiful scenery at Chek Jawa... I've been seeing painted sand stars a lot on chek jawa now...the one in the center seems rather damaged... More jellyfish... And even a catfish! These catfish have venomous spines on their back, which give predators a mouth full of pain. Well, didn't really bother to take too many pictures that day, partly because I was guiding...but here are some amazing screenshots of MIRACLES of light...

Saturday, February 6, 2010

30 Jan Chek Jawa walk

I went for my first CJ guiding this month, also my last T_T. okay, so anyway, that day was quite a normal day at Chek Jawa. Hopefully, one day when the tides are low, I'll be able to visit labrador shore :D Well, I was quite surprised to find this mama wolf spider (I think) in the plastic bag which I kept my boots in! It must've snuck in side. Fortunately, it wasn't in my boot...Can you see the egg sacs being held on the underside of the wolf spider? These strange things were found on the pillars of the boardwalk. Nowadays, when I do hunterseeking, I find all sorts of strange things, like these strange blobs which look like cuttlefish eggs. However, they are hard, like volute eggs o_o The snapping shrimp (Family Alpheidae) never fails to amaze me. They are such interesting animals. Can you see the baby flower crab on the top-right hand-side of the container? Noble volutes (Cymbiola nobilis) are plentiful on Chek Jawa, one can see many of them laying eggs. Looks like Chek Jawa is making an excellent recovery! Somebody (Sorry, forgot who!) found this large blue flower crab (Portunus pelagicius), which kept trying to burrow back into the sand. The blue flower crabs are male, while brownish ones are female. There are also these strange things that are attacking the spoon seagrasses (Halophila ovalis). They seem to be...I don't know, fungi? Whilst moving around, I kept mistaking them for nudibranchs! The late afternoon sun was beating down hard! The first few groups started to make their way down... The peacock anemones (Order Ceriantharia) were as plentiful and graceful as ever, though the ones during my night trip were more fully exposed. I found a total of 3 cowries (Family Cypraeidae) whilst hunterseeking, and someone else found another 3! Can you see all six of them? A closer look reveals their reddish feelers. Here they are with mantle retracted. Can you see how shiny their shells are? They keep them free of algae and other encrusting animals by enveloping it with their mantle. The stripes on their backs show that they are ovum cowries (Cypraeidae ovum) This seems to be a thunder crab (Myomenippe hardwikki), though it looks a little different, perhaps its young? I thought this was an elbow crab, but after developing the photo, I'm starting to wonder what type of crab this is after all... I had the honour of finding this knobbly sea star (Protoreaster nodosus)! I know, maybe it doesn't seem such a big deal on places like Cyrene Reef, but after the mass death at Chek Jawa, at least we can find one knobbly sea star most of the visits here! I found the largest and smallest biscuit sea star (Goniodiscaster scaber) here, while another one of our hunterseekers found the medium-sized one. Here they are all together, taking a nice group shot :D (ignore the shoe) The number of green mussels (Perna viridis) on Chek Jawa is surprisingly large, ever since the pontoon was built! This one had a bluish-green lip. A rather large thunder crab was found in a fishing trap. Unfortunately, many inconsiderate people still illegally place fishing traps here on our shores. Three eeltail catfishes were also found, one of which was humongous! (about 40cm!) Unfortunately, I didn't get any pics! This is the largest cowrie shell I've ever seen! Although the shell was no longer occupied, the shell was large enough to cover my palm! Compare its size to the strands of seaweed, which are usually just slightly smaller than cowries! This spearer mantis shrimp (Harpiosquilla sp.) had a slight pinkish tinge. Was it cooked? Lol, just kidding, its probably a genetic thing. The green penaeid prawns (Famil Penaeidae) are also pretty easy to spot on Chek Jawa, considering they jump madly once you get near them :D And last but not least, a naked striped hermit crab (Cilbanarius sp.)! Coincidentally, there is also a guiding group known as The Naked Hermit Crabs! Chek out their site here. I'm not sure what kind of fish this is, probably a goby of some sort. A cute sponge crab (Famil Dromiidae) with a small black spot on its back. Somehow they remind me of teddy bears. The common sea stars (Archaster typicus) are getting common again, nearly 3 years after the mass death. Check out the Chek Jawa Mortality and Recruitment Project blog for more details. Cake sand dollars (Arachnoides placenta) of all shapes and sizes can be seen pretty much everytime at Chek Jawa. This ball sea cucumber (phyllophorus sp.) doesn't look too fascinating, but I'll share one special thing about it, that is it spurts out its toxic intestines when threatened. Here are Haddon's carpet anemones (Stichodactyla haddoni) out of water. They are very common on Chek Jawa, though they were even more common on Chek Jawa in the "glory days". At the top is a garlic bread sea cucumber (Holothuria scaba), or sandfish, as it is known in trade, while at the middle and bottom are smooth sea cucumbers. They are usually buried in the sand. And, a total of six sea cucumbers here, one of which, is the odd one out. Can you tell the only warty sea cucumber (Cercodemas anceps) apart from the other five thorny sea cucumbers (Colochirus quadrangularis)? The top find that day was this large brittle star! With arms all spread out, it was probably able to fit across my palm! The brittle star is really ana mazing animal, being able to stretch, twist and turn its arms in all directions! To prove my point, have a look at this video of a brittle star crawling across an Api-Api leaf. Sorry for the bad noise, its always windy at Chek Jawa (No HDB flats to stop wind! No wonder their also called blocks.) This leaf porter crab (Family Doripidae) uses a dead leaf to cover itself, similar to the hermit and sponge crab. The visitors were pretty amazed when the guide simple lifted a leaf to reveal one. How did he do it? Simple. It was a leaf that was moving against the current. This peacock anemone was still at the right side of the ladder back up to the floating pontoon. Bristle worms (Class Polychaeta) release their venomous bristles into the water around them too, so do be careful, they cause rashes. Well, it was all too soon before we had to go, and thus, I ended my trip with this magnificient view of the coral rubble beacon. On our way back to the info kiosk, this egret started hunting aroung at the seagrass lagoon. A rather bold oriental pied hornbill perched itself on a little tree right in front of the volunteer hub. It was holding something like a berry in its mouth. Near the jetty, there was still a tinge of wildlife left, like the flowers and fruit of the href="http://www.wildsingapore.com/wildfacts/plants/mangrove/sonneratia/alba.htm">perepat (Sonneratia alba) We took the traditional bumboat back to Changi :) And so, this post closes, with an enchanted photo... There is always a brighter side...