Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Clear Water at Sisters

The water was ultra clear when we went to Sisters Island last Sunday. There was another gang of 15-20 odd people on the island as well. Probably anglers, I guess.

Didn't have much time to explore as I had to assist Alvin, but that didn't stop me from snapping a few shots of the interesting stuff I saw along the way :)

Here's Alvin with his latest invention.

Heh heh, can't remember what's the name they give it. But anyway, it's a plastic box with a hole in front (ok ok, and another on top of course, I know I know) which Alvin covered with a piece of clear plastic. Anyway, he made it such that the thing was kind of waterproof, so that he could place the video camera inside and shoot through the hole... or rather, through the piece of acrylic covering the hole.

And here's the wild thing he was shooting, a yellow-lipped sea krait (Laticauda colubrina)!

These pretty snakes are highly venomous, but don't usually attack humans. I had several encounters with them on Sisters Island actually.

And here's a mole mushroom coral (Polyphyllia talpina).

This coral is a free-living colony! It is also listed as one of the threatened animals in Singapore.

As the water was so clear, all the other corals also looked exceptionally beautiful! Here are some of the hard corals I saw that day.

There were splashes of Halymenia red seaweeds (Halymenia sp.) here and there as well, and they looked really pretty underwater.

Some Halymenia species are eaten by people, but I'm not sure about this one though :P

But the highlight of the day must be this ultra cute little animal!

What does it looked it to you? Adapting from the line they often used in Superman...

It's a squid! It's a cuttlefish! It's a... slug???

Yes! This is a slug. A slug that swims. It's a sidegill slug (Euselenops luniceps).

I remembered reading Dr Chua's book sometime back when I saw a picture of this slug, and I was thinking when will I finally get to see this cute little animal.

And finally! I got to see it!

This slug can actually dives under the surface of the sand to feed and hide from predators. Like other slugs, they are also hermaphrodites and each has both male and female reproductive organs.

They are, however, not nudibranchs, but pleurobranchs. According to the Sea Slug Forum, we can differentiate pleurobranchs from nudibranchs by the enrolled head tentacles and the large gill found along the right side of the body. Nudibranchs have very distinctly shaped rhinophores, and the gills, if present, form a circle in the dorsal midline.

And we found three of these slugs last Sunday! What a great day :)

However, on our way back to the jetty, and unsightly sight was waiting for us...

Read the Annotated Budak's blog for for details...

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