Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Pong Pong and the Cockatoo

Was walking towards 74 stop after work when RY spotted a Tanimbar Corella (Cacatua goffini) flying over to a Pong Pong tree (Cerbera odollam). A second one flew by soon after.

To my surprise, they started plucking the unriped, green fruits of the pong pong tree, and munching on it. I knew that they are poisonous, but apparently, according to YC from BESG, only the seed is reportedly poisonous, hence used to kill rats locally.

Heres part of the fruit dropped down by the bird, clearly showing the beak markings.

Look at the link earlier for a previous similar and more detail posting by BESG.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Intertidals at St. Johns

My first hunter seeking at St. John's Island again! Together with RB and JL, off we went to find interesting animals for Dunman High to see how rich our marine life is.

On the sandy lagoon, we saw tons of fiddler crabs, trails of moon snails and creeper snails and sand balls made by sand bubbler crabs.

Over at the natural rocky shore, I started flipping, rocks to see if there were any interesting animals hidding beneath. A brown flatworm was seen. RY said that this worm is more terrestrial compared to others.

To my surprise, I also found a baby pipefish (about 1cm) under a dried rock. Luckily it is still alive and started swimming in the container of water. Pipefishes belong to the same family as seahorses (Syngnathidae), so their males also play the role of the pregnant mother (see my previous post). However, not all of them have a developed pouch to carry the eggs, some have a partial one or even just a patch of spongy skin to contain them.

Another interesting animal which I found under a rock is this bivalve, Lima sp. This genus is characterised by their long byssal tentacles, which can break off easily, perhaps to distract its predators while it swims away by "clapping" its shells. If I'm not wrong, one of the tentacles (not visible here) which is thicker is the siphon of this animal.

It kindly opened its shell to reveal its internal organs.

Lastly, the find of the day (by LK), a stonefish! Can you spot it? Its at the centre, covered with green algae. Stonefishes are considered the most venomenous fish in the world due to the 13 spines located dorsally. The venom itself contain a mixture of hemolytic, neurotoxin and cardioactive proteins so can imagine how deadly that can be :S... In addition, being so well camouflage, one can easily step on one if not careful!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

My first hunter seeking at Semakau

Finally had enough photos to today to blog about an intertidal trip. This is because all the while I had been doing guiding and that my camera was too bunky to take out while talking. Today is my first time being hunterseeker so I had all the time to take all the photos I want, and in their natural habitat too!

Lots of the common sea star (Archaster typicus) can be found half buried in the sand. Its so amazing to see their 'starprints' all over the sandy habitat. :)

The anemone shrimp (Periclimenes brevicarpalis) is often thought as a commensal shrimp that lives inside its host, the sea anemone. But it may be sometimes parastic by feeding on their tentacles.

Ron found this is the jellyfish which seems to be in season for the past few months. However it is harmless to touch (at least for me), without any stinging sensation. Perhaps this is a different one from the one CH got stung by as I heard?

Ribbon worms (phylum Nemertea) have a long fleshy proboscis used to entangle their prey. They are also the longest invertebrate in the planet, reaching up to 60m long!

I also found two nudibranchs, Jorunna funebris and Glossodoris atromarginata. Both of them feed on sponges which might contain toxins so do not touch them!

Heres our resident giant clam, all exposed during the low tide. Giant clams feed through fliter feeding as well as obtain extra nutrients through their symbiotic algae on their colorful mantle.

The synatid sea cucumber is the longest sea cucumbers found around here among the seagrasses. Hmm, this one reminds me of a maize corn with its individually colored segments...

The ocellated sea cucumber (Stichopus ocellatus) have many pimpled like structures on their skin. It is said that they can eject their innards or melt when stressed.

This had to be the find of the day! Or rather, my find of the day ;p My second time seeing a seahorse only. Oops~ Seahorse are well known for their sex-reversed roles, whereby it is the male that becomes pregnant rather than the female. It was said that they practise internal fertilization, whereby the female deposits her eggs using an "ovipositor". A study actually revealed the sperm duct not located inside its pouch~ which means that it have to somehow absorb back the germ cells back to their pouch.

Saw a new nudibranch today. My fellow guides told me that it is probably a Platydoris scabra.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Red Pineapple

These shrubs have been here decorating the "Bedok Reservoir Punggol" signboard for years opposite Hougang Mall but this is the first time I have seen it fruiting. It looked just like the pineapple that we eat but the reddish tint on its leaves and fruit doesn't seem to tally.

A check on 1001 Garden Plants in Singapore showed that this is the Red Pineapple, Ananas bracteatus, which is in the same genus as the commercial pineapple we eat, Ananas comosus. This plant also originates from Brazil and the fruit is also edible though it not as well developed. Because of the sharp spines on the leaves, they are sometimes grown as hedges for security.

Saturday, June 7, 2008


Woa, Dolphins again! Hehe, spotted by me once more. Today was a Semakau walk with Jurongville Sec and we were taking the big ferry. About half of us were sitting at the roof when I saw a big dorsal fin went up, Dolphin! I shouted :) We saw about 3 grey dolphins swimming in the opposite direction. I went down to call the rest up to see, but they were all gone by the time. That was when I remembered I got my x12 zoom camera with me. Alamak... Forgot to take a record of this sighting... Pity pity. Later, heard from one of the teachers that there were a total of 5 dolphins.

Wild dolphins are frequently sighted in Singapore. Our waters are full of life!

Jurongville Sec
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