Friday, May 29, 2009

Dialling the sun at Saint John's

What's up about dialling the sun at St John's Island? Is it another cold joke I have from the whole week of field trips sleep deprivation?

It is actually because we all saw the Sundial snail (Architectonica perspectiva) for our first time today! In fact it was laying eggs! WOW.

Today the RMBR guides were doing a guided walk at St John's Island. And Robert, our top notch hunter seeker, found this special snail for all of us to behold. Chay Hoon and friends also saw this snail at Hantu for their first time just a month ago. Refer to her Hantu blog post for more of their account. The sundial snail is listed as 'Endangered' in the Red List of threatened animals of Singapore, thus explaining for its rarity.

This beautiful sundial produces a detailed pattern of bands and spots and they have rather flattened shells that coil to form a flat disc-shape with a flat base.

They prefer silty sand or mud near reefs and tend to be found at the subtidal zone, from depths of 10 to 120 m. That could explain when we don't usually see them at the intertidal shores. In addition, these snails are usually found at the Indo-pacific region.

So what does this snail feeds on?

Interestingly, they feed on the polyps of various types of corals and sea anemones!

Though from the top, this sundail snail looks flat like the Button snail (Umbonium vestiarum), by from the sideview, it looks slightly conical in shape and height. I just love the pretty spirals of this snail.

Now I better keep my eyes more open to look out for more of this pretty snail the next time I hit the shore, which is tomorrow. :P

Will blog more about today's trip after I get the energy to do it!

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