Sunday, March 08, 2009

Scorching Hot Day at Semakau

It was scorching hot when we reached Semakau today. I had to settle some Project Semakau stuff, and as such couldn't do guiding. But guess that made things worse, since I had to run around a bit, and really caused me to be rather dehydrated and burned.

Along the way, I noticed several of the tape seagrass (Enhalus acoroides) flowering. This are the bracts which hold the little male flowers inside.

I also spotted a juvenile knobbly sea star (Protoreaster nodosus) among the seagrass. Perhaps due to the hot sun, there were very few other animals around the area I was at, except for a few crabs.

When I finally finished my stuff, I finally managed to join public walk, but it was already ending, and so I only managed to grab a few shots of the things the hunter-seekers found.

The mangrove horseshoe crab (Carcinoscorpius rotundicauda) can often be found on the softer substrate near the mangrove trees. Just saw a documentary recently which said that the eggs of this horseshoe crab are very poisonous, and sometimes the flesh also, and there are several records of death from consuming it.

This may looked like a worm, but it's actually a synaptid sea cucumber.

As usual, there were lots of sand-sifting sea stars (Archaster typicus) on the sand. These sea stars can burrow too seek for tiny bits of organic particles (aka detritus) to feed on.

Again, there were several noble volutes (Cymbiola nobilis) laying eggs. For the past 2 years, this has been a common sight on Semakau - a very good sign that there must be sufficient food and the the habitat is suitable for them to reproduce so well!

Tiny little hermit crabs (Diogenes sp.) were every where in the various tidal pools. Hermit crabs are not true crabs. You can differentiate them from true crabs (such as the flower crab or mud crab we eat) by their long antenna, and by the fact that they have 2 pairs of walking legs unlike true crabs, which have 4 pairs. Hermit crabs have 10 legs in all including their chelipeds (or claws), but 4 of them were hidden inside the shell, and are not used for walking.

Unfortunately, it's time to go then. But still, despite the scorching heat, it appeared that the visitors had enjoyed themselves, and were a really great and fun group to guide, as I heard from the other guides!

And on the way back, I had another nice surprise (or ok, maybe not surprise since I was keeping a lookout for them)! I saw 2 marine turtles! This was the third time I saw turtles at Semakau for the past one month. They were too far away and too quick for me to take photos though. The two of them were facing different directions, and surfaced at the same time to breathe air, before diving down out of sight.

Wow! If only one day I can get to dive or snorkel at the area that we have been seeing them...

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