Monday, October 19, 2009

Semakau on a weekend

Weekends are meant to be a time of refreshment and recharge. And I always avoid going out especially to the ever crowded shopping mall. The best place to be will be our lovely shores!

And here I was at Semakau intertidal area yesterday afternoon helping out with Teamseagrass with the monitoring of seagrass as well as help Mei Lin locate the resident giant clam.

It was somehow also a busy day for Semakau with lots of actions going on!

There's as I said, Teamseagrass doing seagrass monitoring, Sijie and his scouts helping us as well, the water quality team doing their sampling work, the RMBR guided walk etc etc etc. Many things were going on at the same time. And it's good to know more people are visiting the shores and more about the shores is studied.

So much about talking, here's the animals that I saw yesterday after the seagrass monitoring with a new scout friend, Harold. He learnt very fast and was of great help!

One of the most special animals that one can always find at Semakau will be this resident Fluted giant clam (Tridacna squamosa).

After helping Mei Lin with a bit of her survey work, I went to check out what the hunter seekers had found for the guided walk and realized they had lots of interesting finds!

And here they have found the Hammer oyster (Family Malleidae) which is my first time seeing it at Semakau. Hammer oysters are bivalves like clams. They are hinged at the top of the "T", where a small byssus emerges at the back.

They also found a cute juvenile cushion star (Culcita novaeguinea) that is very pretty in yellow and black pattern. It was the first time Mei Lin seeing a cushion star in Singapore... haha.

This special yet to be identified sea star found by the hunter seekers is an individual that we have been seeing for some time. It looks like a hybrid between the Knobbly sea star and the Cushion star.

Cushion stars have no knobs like Knobbly seastars but this star has it. Yet the darker blotches on the upper surface is that similar to cushion stars. The underside and its mouth looks a bit like cushion star but its tube feet are more like the Knobblies. Haha.

Also an echinoderm, this Long-spine sea urchin (Diadema setosum) grazes on seaweed for food. If you dive, I believe this is not an animal you will want to get close to. Haha...

This well camouflaged animal is a Spider conch (Lambis lambis). It even has a patch of Porites coral on top of its shell!

So much of living creatures have been found by the hunter seekers, it was a treat for me. The best and last find from the guided walk will be this flatworm that I've only seen it once in 2007 and no more thereafter. I've not got a photo of it the last time so I'm really glad to see it yesterday.

During the second part of the exploration of the reef, I walked around the reef area and also towards the northern side where most of the seagrassers were. And I noticed a number of pretty Sunflower mushroom hard coral (Heliofungia actiniformis).

They never fail to amaze me. The thick tentacles and pretty purplish coloration of this solitary coral looks very attractive. Some say they look like Udon noodles.... :P

But if you get a closeup shot of this coral, you will understand why I think this coral is just so cool looking.

I was very happy to find this neon green version of the Sunflower mushroom coral. All these colourful corals add life to the reef.

This colony of coral that is also neon-green in colour is the Pebble coral (Astreopora sp.). They are not often seen on our reefs.

When I first saw this Gymnodoris nudibranch (Gymmodoris rublopabulosa), it was stuck and dry on sand. After putting it back safely into water, it's glory was unveiled, looking relax and pretty.

After which, I found this Swimming anemone, which the hunter seekers also found another one earlier on. I don't think I can recall seeing it before personally at Semakau.

Finally after a long walk, I reach Michelle who around the area after the end of her transect. She told me her find of a patch of area with lots and lots of Knobbly sea stars (Protoreaster nodosus).

She showed me the way and Wow I was totally blown away by the numerous number of mid-adult sized knobbly sea stars. And they seem to be all congregating at a certain area.

And more and more of the knobblies were sighted with just one or two steps distance away from the previous one.

Seeing that they are yet still so many more stars, I gathered some of them together for a star family shot. :) Of course, we put the stars back to their more spread out positions after taking photographs.

Also red on the shore like some of the knobbly sea stars will be this Red swimming crab.

And last but not least, on the way back, I spotted this pair of mating Horseshoe crabs.

The sandflies and mossies were all out in full force so we quickly walked briskly back out of the shore and forest after sunset.

That was a great trip to Semakau and definitely a good weekend getaway from the hussle and buzz of the urban life.

More photos of the day's trip here:

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