Celebrating 12 Years of Outreach with 12 Nudis (and a crab)

Date April 6, 2015

It’s that time of the year again when SCUBA divers in Singapore get to spend an entire day out at sea, uncovering Singapore’s magical marine mysteries! We do this once a year (that is, overdose on diving at Pulau Hantu) to celebrate the efforts of our dedicated and passionate volunteers, who have been reaching out to members of the public, both diving and non-diving, young and old, but all curious about the hidden world of underwater Singapore. (Above: Reef cuttlefish. All photographs by Toh Chay Hoon)

Today’s blogpost is accompanied by photos of by one of the blog’s most avid divers, Chay Hoon. She shares, “The visibility was about 2-3m with only slight currents. It was a wet wet day but we still saw lots and lots of critters! Fishes, flatworms, crabs, shrimps etc, and of course, sea slugs (nudibranch and non-nudibranch)! In fact, there were about 40 different kinds of them including 4 that I had not seen before! So much to see at Pulau Hantu if you really look carefully!” (Above from left: Batfish and Whip goby)

Amongst Chay Hoon’s finds was a tiny Elbow crab Velolambrus tuberculatus (just 5mm!) and a NEW RECORD for Singapore! Her photos take us on a discovery trail that shows us what awaits to be revealed if we just know how to pause and take a closer look!

A tiny filefish hides amongst a colony of bryozoans.

Crocodile flathead

Devil Stinger Fish (aka Indian Walker) is one of our reefs most cryptic creatures!

A tiny dragonet

Gorgeous tri-coloured shrimp

Transparent shrimp – just incredible! You can still see the detail of the bubble coral in the background through its body!

Tomato clown anemonefish

Just one of the many flatworms encountered during the day!

The sea slug Placida cremoniana (about 4mm) was amongst the handful of new sightings for Chay Hoon and a likely a new record for Singapore!

Elysia ornata, commonly known as ornate elysia or ornate leaf slug, is a type of sea slug that superficially resembles a nudibranch but it is in fact a member of the closely related Sacoglossa, the “sap-sucking” sea slugs.[1]

And here are just 12 of the several dozens of nudibranchs that Chay Hoon spotted during her day at Pulau Hantu! Top row: Hypselodoris infucata, Trapania caerulea (a likely new record for Singapore!), and Chromodoris lineolata. 2nd row: Bornella sp., Tambja sagamiana, and Hypselodoris sp.. 3rd row: Goniobranchus sinensis, Mexichromis mariei, and Dermatobranchus sp.. Bottom row: Hypselodoris maculosa, Trapania vitta, and Glossodoris cincta. While nudibranchs may seem bright and colourful at close up, their multi-colours and patterns blend in perfectly with the reef, making them extremely hard to spot! Chay Hoon uses her deep knowledge of the habitat and habits of these creatures to help us locate them on the reef! A skill mastered through years of experience!

Through taking divers from Singapore and abroad out onto our reefs, we get to share the wonderful potential that Singapore’s urban reefs have to offer! On top of that, we learn a great deal from the collective wisdom and experience of the volunteers and scientists we have had the opportunity to work with!

We need people to remain curious about our marine life so that we can continue exploring and discovering Singapore reefs! In recent years, the Hantu Blog has received an incredible amount of interest from ordinary people keen to participate in our work. THANK YOU for helping us keep our reefs alive with your participation! To see more of what Chay Hoon discovered during our 12th Anniversary Dive trip, visit our gallery!

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