Sunday, March 16, 2008

Worm Baiting

worm bait

At Sembawang Park, I saw an uncle doing a most peculiar thing. He was sprinkling water along the sandy shores from a container which looked like it contained orange peels. Observing attentively at the spot were he sprayed, with a swift motion, he dug his fingers into the sand probably observing some movement. And wow..., out came a worm which he passed to his daughter, probably to be used as fishing bait later. Quite amazing, I wonder how the water soaked in orange skins lured the worms out...

Fishing line
For people who have a passion for fishing, please do not throw away unwanted lines and hooks anywhere. This may pose a potential danger to birds which can get entangled or cut by them. See the sad story of the heron killed by such in BESG blog.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

The Anemone Shrimp

Anemone Shrimp on Carpet AnemoneFor the second time in a row, I did not take any pictures during Semakau guiding. Only took this on the left. Hopefully can recieve some photos from my participants soon :) But in the meanwhile, let me just share abit about this amazing creature here and prehaps clear some misconceptions.

Periclimenes brevicarpalis is commonly known as the glass shrimp, anemone shrimp or the cleaner shrimp. This strikingly beautiful animal has a symbiotic relationship with sea anemones and is known to inhabitat on 14 such species. The ability of anemone shrimps to reside on the anemone without being stung is not due to its exoskeleton, but rather by acclimating themselves coating itself with the mucus secretions of the anemone just like our anemone fish.

The partially transparent body of this shrimp enables it to break out its body outlines; an adaptation known as distruptive coloration, so that it is not easily visible to predators. It also gain protection from its anemone host.

Anemone Shrimp Periclimines brevicaparlis 1It is hard to define the exact symbiotic relationship of this shrimp towards its host, although it is commonly describe as being commensal. It is known that P. brevicarpalis clip off and feeds on its hosts' tentacles, the Bubble anemone (Entacmaea quadricolor) for food and thus had even also been described as parasitic. However, it is also possible that it have beneficial behavior to its host, of helping to clean the anemone of ectoparasites and/or supplying nitrogenous waste products to its host as seen in other shrimps of the same genus.

Hope this facts are not too much to digest! Now to lighten things a little.... Do u know the chinese name for anemone is 有没有钱?Just translate it to English and u will know. hahaa

Semakau intertidal seagrass lagoon
Semakau intertidal walk, 8th March 2008

Monday, March 3, 2008

Cockatoo @ NUS

cockatoo Tanimbar corella

Heard the unmistakeable noisy chatter of a cockatoo just as I was preparing to walk back to the lab from Kent Ridge. The Tanimbar Corella (Cacatua goffini) together with the Sulphur-crested cockatoo which have been sighted frequently here are exotic, probably escapees from pet owners (Tanimbar Corellas are under CITES appendix I). From their name, the Tanimbar Corella is native and endemic to the Tanimbar islands in Indonesia.

tanimbar corella

To me, cockatoos are remarkable acrobats for their size, hanging at seemingly impossible angles to reach their food. Their beaks also seemed to act as a third limb, just like how some monkeys use their prehensile tails.

And so, as I kept photographing the bird, another flew over (above). Just as I inched closer for a perfect shot, three more rushed to get into the limelight. And just so great that my battery died on me at this moment... =.=

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Praying Mantis

A little praying mantis flew onto my table just before I was preparing to retire for the day. In the end, in an attempt to take pictures of this marvellously wicked looking creature, I slept at 3.30am. It seemed similar to the one I caught last time, and I'm glad I have learnt better photography ethics since then, having enclosed it in a container previously...

Praying mantises are exclusively predators despite their seemingly holy name; "praying" comes from its prayer-like stance due to its modified forelimbs while mantis is a Greek word for prophet.

They are also notoriously known for their sexual cannibalistic behavior, where some female mantises species will decapitate their mate after copulation and devour them. Quite a controversial topic, some said it as male sacrifice to increase the fecundity of the female to increase the survival of their offspring, others said it might just be a form of female rapacity and many other theories which I should not bore u with. In truth, I actually need to read up more
Praying Mantis
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