Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Project Semakau Survey on 2 May 2010

Apologies for the shorter and less frequent entries these days, as work was really piling up. We were back on Pulau Semakau for a Project Semakau survey last Sunday. I was running around checking on the various groups and looking out for ascidians (for the upcoming Ascidian workshop organised by TMSI) at the same time, and hence once again, did not take many photos.

Extraordinary sea hares (Aplysia extraordinaria)

One of the animals that caught my eye to pause for a quick photo were these sea hares, probably extraordinary sea hares (Aplysia extraordinaria). They appeared to be in season, and I saw quite a number of them during this trip. The one on the top in the above photo was burrowing into the substrate as I was taking the photo. That's possibly why we tend to see less of them at other times of the year - they were probably hiding underground!

Dragonfish sea cucumber (Stichopus horrens)
I walked passed so many dragonfish sea cucumbers (Stichopus horrens) that I finally decided to take a photo of this one.

Stonefish sea cucumber (Actinopyga lecanora)
There were many stonefish sea cucumbers (Actinopyga lecanora) too.

Striped eeltail catfish (Plotosus lineatus)
I also came across this huge school of striped eeltail catfish (Plotosus lineatus). Talk about safety in numbers!

Spider conch (Lambis lambis)
This pretty spider conch (Lambis lambis) got its common name from the long spines, which resemble spider legs.

Red maiden's fan sponge (Oceanapia sagittaria)
There were many red maiden's fan sponges (Oceanapia sagittaria) in the intertidal of Semakau. This pretty flower-like organism is an animal, not a plant.

Bleached coral
I came across this partially bleached coral. Hope it would recover soon and start recruiting zooxanthellae...

Knobbly sea stars (Protoreaster nodosus)
One of the highlight of the day must be this mass gathering of knobbly sea stars (Protoreaster nodosus)! Robert said he stood at one spot and counted to 50 before he gave up. There were so many of them around the same area, and mind you, we did not take and put the ones in the photo above together - they were in this position when we found them! We estimate there must be at least 100 of them around this spot!

Fluted giant clam (Tridacna squamosa)
And Robert also found this fluted giant clam (Tridacna squamosa), and I finally managed to get its GPS and passed it to Mei Lin, who's studying them.

There were definitely more or them around. Just hope that I have my GPS with me the next time we spot one!

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