Saturday, February 09, 2008

Exploring Semakau with Trainee Guides

Finally had our first Semakau trip of the year. I wasn't bringing a group of visitors though, but was bringing our new guides on a field trip to familiarise them with the route and the organisms we usually see on a guided walk.

Didn't have the time to take many photos when it was still bright as I had to quickly intoduce as many things as possible to the new guides before it got dark. Here are just some of the interesting things we saw among many others that wasn't photographed.

A synaptid sea cucumber, at least 1m long.

Found 2 noble volutes laying eggs.

The sandfish sea cucumber, which is edible, but must be properly processed first to remove the toxins.

Here's a strange little spider crab JL found. Looks somewhat like a sponge crab, but yet the shape of the pincers and legs looks a little different, so can't say for sure. Could be a different species. (Update: The crab is a Micippa philyra. Thanks LK for the info.)

Found the resident Haddon's carpet anemone, but noticed that it appeared to have actually shifted a little further south from its usual spot, and we also couldn't find the 2 resident anemone shrimps.

A hairy red hermit crab (probably Dardanus lagopodes) - one of the less commonly encountered hermit crabs on our intertidal areas. This hermit crab can be identified by its red to dark red exoskeleton covered with hairy spikes, a yellow band near its black cornea on each eye stalk, and yellow or pale green antenna.

A cute frogfish found by one of the trainees.

Found this marine spider on a colony of zoanthids. The smooth brownish stuff are actually encrusting sponges, rather than colonial ascidians that some of us had previously thought.

We found several conches today, including the pretty spider conch in the above photo.

Aslo found this huge ocellated sea cucumber in a tidal pool.

As it got darker, many little octopuses started appearing.

Found this pufferfish hiding among some seagrasses.

Many of the sponges had lots of tiny brittle stars living in them.

Another sea cucumber - the dragonfish.

And here's one of the fastest runner on the shore, a ghost crab.

Didn't include much details this time round as the trainees are supposed to do their own research for more information on the things we saw today :P

Anyway, other things we saw which I didn't managed to take any photos include the fiddler crabs, sand bubbler crabs, common sea stars, a gigantic carpet anemone with an ocellaris clownfish, turban snails, a polka-dot nudibranch, a chromodoris nudibranch, several marine flatworms, a giant clam, a stonefish sea cucumber, and lots of hard and soft corals etc etc. Unfortunately, we couldn't find any knobbly sea stars though, as the were so many sargassum seaweed that it's just impossible to search the area properly with the little time that we had.

Hopefully we'll be able to find them during our public walks :)

Special thanks to JL for helping out with the hunting-seeking, and also LK for organising this trip and the other volunteers for helping to seek things to show the new guides!


EUNICEEESH(: said...


yay. the walk was really cool & interesting. esp bashing through the mosquito forest (haha). thanks for 'guiding' us! btw im eunice. yeps.

SJ said...

Bah... there goes another chance of a Semakau trip... i'm still in search of the knobblys that have been eluding me... will join u guys someday soon!

tHE tiDE cHAsER said...

Thanks for visit my blog, Eunice :)

SJ, u mean u din c the knobblys during the last TSG trip? Alamak... We found 2 of them.

Guess u can try to look for them during the Feb TSG trip :P

Hopefully the tide will be better and the sargassum have cleared.