Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Semakau with the flatworms!

It has been a long time since I guided. Finally the projects and exams are over, I can visit the shores again!

I guided with yw a group of hyper and interesting ITE Clementi students from the Green Club at 28 Feb (: Thats them crossing the seagrass, also known as the 'death zone'.

The seagrass lagoon is a very good nursery ground for the animals to lay their eggs and juveniles to live in. To minimise trampling and damage from people, a 'death zone' is created as a passageway.

Love is in the air for the sand sifting seastars. For the first time, we could not find a single seastar to talk about since they were all in pairs!

Though the seastars are stacked on top of one another, they fertilise externally. This position only helps to increase the chances of fertilisation. The male, being the smaller one, is usually at the top. I have seen them swimming in this position before! (;

That's yw talking about the seastars..

Can you spot the anemone shrimp? The five-spot anemone shrimp gets protection from the anemone's stinging tentacles and feed on any remaining food of the anemone.

The flatworms (group) was excited to see the Knobbly Seastar. They may appear to be poisonous but they are not. Their knobs help to deter their potential predators. These knobblies prefer to feed on snails and clams though they do eat sponges and soft corals as well.

Mushroom corals are free-living animals and live singly. When it is young, it is attached to the ground with a stalk, just like a mushroom. The stalk eventually breaks off as it grows older. Food is passed in and out through the central opening.

The seahorse is a true fish! Being a poor swimmer, it can hook itself onto seagrass to prevent itself from being swept away. Few things I admire the seahorse about:
  1. With no stomach and a simple digestive system, the seahorse eats a lot continuously and the babies can eat up to 1000 shrimps! I eat alot ended up accumulating the fats zz.
  2. The male gets pregnant instead of the ladies. As ladies deposit their eggs in the males' pouch where it get fertilised.
The giant clam feeds in two ways. Besides filter feeding, the algae found on its mantle can make food and contribute to its nutrient intake. Its mantle is eaten by people in some countries. Its lifespan can be up to 100 years!

Not a very clear shot of the stonefish sea cucumber. It is edible but must be properly treated as tests have shown that it contain toxins.

A pretty nudibranch (Jorunna funebris) was found by the hunter seekers. It is carnivorous since it feed on immobile and slow-moving creatures like sea anemones and corals where they acquire their toxins. Its pair of rhinophores in front is used to detect chemicals in the hunt of their prey and mates while the flowery gills at the back is used for breathing.

We also saw a rather big cowrie (about the size of my palm!) found by Robert. A pity it was dead though.

Despite the hot weather over the weekend, it was a good trip and I hope the participants had enjoyed too!


carerot said...

It's definitely a nice gesture to showcase the biodiversity of Singapore to everyone. I would however hope that you would choose the least intrusive way of doing so.

Visiting the aquarium is one of them.

Stepping on poor marine creatures home and scooping them out of their comfort zone is rather unfriendly to those poor sea dwellers who are already having a hard time to surivive in polluted water.

I don't blame you though for I have been doing the likewise for 20 years and it took me that long to realise my mistake.

Since we share Gaia as a home, let's show our neighbours we do care and we are not showoffs.

Kiki said...

If you visit any aquariums Touch pool section, there are signs that say do not take the starfish out of water because it is stressful for the starfish.

But here you allow visitors to hold the starfish out of water.

Please do not stress the starfish!