Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Semakau Walk with St Nicholas Girls on 16 Nov 2009

On Monday, we had our last Semakau walk for the year. I was guiding this time round, and my participants were a group of students from St Nicholas. Our group name was "Hermit Crab".

It was rather cloudy when we reached the island, but fortunately, the weather stayed that way until towards the end of the walk, so we managed to have a nice walk with a number of interesting sightings.

Sand-sifting Sea Star (Archaster typicus)
As usual, there were lots of Sand-sifting Sea Stars (Archaster typicus). We saw a rather special one with only 4 arms instead of the usual 5.

Flathead (Platycephalus sp.)
This little Flathead (Platycephalus sp.) was so well-camouflaged that none of the students saw it until I pointed it out to them.

Noble Volute (Cymbiola nobilis)
We saw at least 5 Noble Volutes (Cymbiola nobilis) laying eggs! It's always a good sign seeing eggs on our shores, and it indicates that our shore is very much alive and the animals are reproducing!

Sandfish Sea Cucumber (Holothuria scabra)
The Sandfish Sea Cucumber (Holothuria scabra) not only blends into the sand very nicely, but it can also burrow into the sand too! This is the sea cucumber that we usually find in Chinese restaurants. Note that they are toxic, and must be processed properly to remove the toxins before they can be eaten.

Purple-dotted Flatworm (Pseudoceros laingensis)
I had not seen this Purple-dotted Flatworm (Pseudoceros laingensis) for quite a while on Semakau, and was really delighted to see this one! Been very flat, this animal is very fragile, so please never handle it with your bare hands when you see one. Some flatworms can secrete chemicals too, and are not safe to touch. These flat animals can slip into tiny crevices to escape from predators or to seek for its prey, which are usually either small or sessile animals.

Blue-spotted Fantail Ray (Taeniura lymma)
The girls were all quite excited to see this Blue-spotted Fantail Ray (Taeniura lymma), as most of them have not seen a live stingray before.

Radula Scallop (Comptopallium radula)
The Radula Scallop (Comptopallium radula) is rather common on Semakau. This clam can swim by opening and closing its valves, effectively creating some kind of jet-propulsion pushing it forward.

Group Photo with Knobbly Sea Stars (Protoreaster nodosus)
The stars of the trip, as always, were the Knobbly Sea Stars (Protoreaster nodosus). And we happily took the usual traditional shot with them.

Fluted Giant Clam (Tridacna squamosa)
By the time we reached the Fluted Giant Clam (Tridacna squamosa), the sky was turning rather dark. This clam is the biggest clam species you can find in Singapore, and can grow up to about 40cm wide.

Eventually, it started raining. But despite the rain, we still found a few interesting animals on our way back, including this little octopus. This was yet another master of camouflage, and blended in really nicely with its surrounding.

We were rather fortunate that it only started raining towards the end of the trip, and all the students brought their poncho with them. So all in all, it was still a very enjoyable trip! :)

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