Thursday, December 11, 2008

Exploring Southern Semakau

In continuation of my old post on "Exploring Northern Semakau" which was during May, finally I got a chance today to explore the southern part of Semakau intertidal area since the place is HUGE. We were there with the Semakau book team.

Unfortunately, the weather did not look promising at all from the northern direction.

At this southwest part, the mangroves looks matured, different from the replanted juvenile ones at the eastern side.

There are rocky areas where you can find many onchidiums.

These onchidiums have tough skin to reduce water loss. Onch slugs graze on algae and lichen on rocks at low tide. They are more commonly seen on cool mornings or evenings. Perhaps today is cooling due to the imminent rain, thus we saw a lot of these slugs.

In between rocks, I got a surprise to see water squirting out. A closer look reveals an octopus inside!

There are also cryptic stars (Cryptasterina sp.) found. The aboral surface shows the mottled yet variable colouration.

The underside is not as cryptic but with many bumps on this oral surface which is probably important to cling onto rocks.

Found another cryptic star that is more reddish.

I like it that the stomach of cryptic stars is blue, which is quite special in my opinion.

More about the cryptic stars here.

What was interesting is that we saw many Stichodactyla gigantea anemones near or at roots of mangrove roots. How nice to know if there are nemos swimming at the mangroves during high tide!

Near the silty and sandy part on the extreme south, there are flatworms found including this commonly sighted one with yellow dots on its black body.

A special find there is this beautiful brownish black flatworm with white dot patterns on its body. I have not seen it before!

Flatworms can swim and they do it very gracefully don't you think so? Pretty right!

There are also many common sea stars found in this area, in different sizes.

Walking towards the seagrass meadow, there are more carpet anemones with nemos and this nemo here is a baby nemo. It's so small and not as shy as adult nemos, thus I can take a photograph of it. It looks photogenic in this photo and don't you think it is smiling? Hahaha.

Semakau is also rich in noble volute snail.

I later saw another large one with pattern and smooth shell.

On the seagrass meadow are also juvenile knobbly sea stars which we found two today, one by Marcus, one by Mei Lin! Can't wait for them to grow up?

Here's the adult one to show you. I found this at the coral rubble area. Too bad, no weirder stars were found today as the tide was higher than usual, possibly due to the barometric pressure affected by the rain that can affect the tides.

Also at the coral rubble area, I found many of these sunflower mushroom coral together.

Mei Lin found quite a nice find of two pipefishes, one in black (quite obvious in this photo) and the other in white (can you see?).

Off in a distance is another oil rig, in fact the waters nearby seems to be usually allocated for oil rig repair.

Going back to the high shore as the tide returns quickly, I saw this seashore pandan.

The fruits look very much like pineapples. Cool right?

Hahaha. Though the rain hit us for more than half of today's trip, we were quite resilient and tough, unwilling to surrender to bad weather. Took out all the rain gear like umbrella and poncho to explore the area. Was nice in overall! Be back at Semakau on Saturday for Team Seagrass monitoring!


Jeffrey said...

I am told that the "locals" used to make some sort of starchy meal from the seashore pandan fruits. Not sure how it is made though, but I think it involves a lot of boiling.

Cheers, Jeff

Unknown said...

Thanks Jeff for sharing about that. It's interesting that many plants can be eaten on top of their many uses.

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