Saturday, June 16, 2007

Rainy Semakau Walk on 16 Jun 2007

It was a windy morning when I reached West Coast Pier. I was supposed to guide a group from St Nicholas today, and Lahiru was my assistant.

Anyway, we had to walk to the intertidal area today again, since it was too early for the NEA people to drive us there :(

The HSBC guides were also there to practise their guiding.

Anyway, we soon reached the shores. Was supposed to head all the way out to the reef edge since the tide was rising. But I decided to stop just a short while to talk a little about the common seastar. Was a little worried that by the time we came back the tide may be high and all the common seastars might have burrowed into the sand.

It turned out to be the right decision, as you will find out later that we didn't get to stop by the common seastars zone later :P

Anyway, there were actually 2 seastars in the above photo - the other one (the female) was below the male one in the sand, getting really to do something sexy.

We had to cross a long seagrass lagoon to get to the coral rubble area.

The above was a group shot of my participants from St Nicholas, with Lahiru at the back.

When we emerged from the seagrass lagoon, a sea cucumber was waiting for us!

That's the sandfish sea cucumber. It can be eaten, but must be properly treated first as it contains toxins.

Next to the sea cucumber was a flatworm. Had earlier read in some book which said that flatworms have a nerve ring instead of a proper brain. But did another search online recently, and fount that indeed it has a brain! Guess the book I read earlier was either outdated or just incorrect!

Pai seh, Lahiru, you were right to say that they have eyes. Thanks to Siyang for providing the info (Added this upon Siyang's request. HAHAHHAhahaaaa...). The book I read previously just called them light sensors. Guess I really need to read the more updated resources :P

Anyway, the eyes are not capable of seeing images but are sensitive to changes in light direction and intensity. A flatworm has a cerebral eyespot where numerous eyes appear to form round clusters. Further eyes are located on the ventral and dorsal pseudotentacles. Chemosensory detectors were also located at the pseudotentacles to help the flatworm "sniff" out its prey.

There were lots of hairy crabs around. Can you spot it in the picture below?

Hairy crabs are actually poisonous and thus can't be eaten. It obtain its poison from zoanthids, which it sometimes feed on.

And below we have a zoanthid colony. Not sure if hairy crabs feed on this particular species though :P

There were also lots of corals around.

The above were hard corals, which had hard skeleton made from calcium carbonate.

We also saw several pretty sunflower mushroom coral.

The one above is a lovely green one. The ones we usually saw were brown in colour. Unlike the colonial hard corals which are stuck to the ground, this mushroom coral is a single free-living animal!

At the coral rubble area, we also found a scallop!

And like what they show in Chinese Opera, this bivalve can swim by flapping it's shells!

We also saw a few species of nudibranchs.

The above is a Bohol nudibranch.

But what got us really excited was this nudibranch below.

It's probably a Platydoris scabra. This was the first time that we saw it at Semakau! Thanks to Samson for the ID! Sorry for the blurry image though - dark clouds were gathering, and I had to grab the shots quickly. Guess I didn't focus properly.

Here's the underside.

Hopefully will find it again tomorrow.

We also found a spider crab.

There were some ascidian growing on the crab, which allowed it to camouflage into the surrounding. As you can see, this was out of focus as well. So you can tell I was really rushing through things... darks clouds gathering fast...

We managed to do a quick photo of the beautiful knobbly seastar though. There were 3 of them.

And here's the traditional group shot.

See the dark clouds gathering behind... We had to walk really fast towards the upper shore soon after this shot.

But still... we were too late... halfway to the forest, We could see the rain moving towards us from the south... and it started pouring like mad!!!

Never had such a horrible storm on a Semakau trip before!!!

Although the rain might have spoilt our plans to further explore the amazing intertidal life at Semakau, but it could never spoil our mood!!!

How many of you have enjoyed a shower under a pouring sky before? Just look at the smiles on the faces!

Most of us were really drenched. Obviously, most of them did not read my guide on how to survive a storm on the shores.

The following shots were taken at the shelter near the entrance to the forest.

The above showed Tiong Chin, Siyang and July in front of the visitors and HSBC trainees.

And here 1st-time OJT, Jenn Chye, and Robert, both in fiery colours.

Not to forget the people at the back...

...people at the back on the left...

...and Samson was there on the right trying to grab a photo of the record-breaking shelter-squeeze.

Last but not least, here's Helen taking a good look at Siyang's figure.


Have to say it was a great day, despite the rain.

Sorry Siyang, for teasing you so much today.


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TS said...

Yes yes Ron =.= Wei and is me tell abt abt the flatworm one la. Give credit to wrong person... =.= haha >.< Go change!

Ron Yeo said...

Ai yoh, Lahiru said earlier during the walk that flatworms have eyes lah. I said pai seh to him in my blog entry because I told him earlier flatworms just hv light sensors, not eyes. But later when I checked with you and also the web, then I realised my info was wrong :P

TS said...

opps hehe... btw wats the flatworm's name ar?

Ron Yeo said...

Should be an Acanthozoon sp. Not sure about the exact species though.

Shopping Bag said...


Shopping Bag said...

Tell the kiasi mantamola to F the rubbish there! All of these are real Idiots!!

Ron Yeo said...

Sometimes, it's just kind of sad to see such things happening on the web. It's obvious that the "Samson" in the above is not the real Samson.

But yet, such people often did not realise how obvious things are.

I don't intend to delete the above 2 comments, as they are really excellent examples of some of the challenges we nature volunteers sometimes have to overcome.

To the real Samson, you have our support!

JC said...

Oh man. What a pathetic 1st pix of me on ur great blog.


Ron Yeo said...

Well, at least you hv your poncho on :)