Blog Log: 19 December 2010

Date January 2, 2011

The Hantu Blog closed the year with a great big bang! Volunteers, scientists and members of the public who joined us for our last dive of the year, were treated with encounters with some spectacular and usually shy critters, such as this prawn (above) that’s usually active at night, and remains hidden in the sand to avoid the jaws of hungry predators. You’d be pretty petrified too if you were a juicy, fat prawn on a reef!
Some creatures encountered aren’t shy per se but are rarely spotted by divers. Though this whelk is just a snail, it is more commonly seen in the shallow depths by visitors to intertidal areas. That appendage that’s sticking out from the front of the snail is called a siphon. In some species, the length of the siphon can be as long as the body! They feed on dead things, so they can often be found near animal carcasses. The shells of some whelks are “decorated” by tiny anemones that like to hitch a free ride through the sea bed. When you walk along the beach, look through the shells that have been washed up and see if you can guess, which shell belonged to a whelk!
From the shy, to the rare, to the cryptic. There are lots of animals hidden all over the reef. Sometimes the reef looks devoid of any life, but that’s rarely the case. It’s usually because what’s to be seen is to well hidden, that only the keen-eyed and experienced can spot a critter that’s evolved over tons of generations to blend in so perfectly with its environment, like this Allied Cowrie on a Gorgonian coral.
Here’s another cryptic critter. What do you see? A miss-fired shot on the sandy sea bed? It’s a flounder! Flounders are large flat fishes that have eyes on the left side of their head only. Some species in Singapore can grow up to 40cm, but most that are sighted are about half that size. As is evident, they blend in perfectly with the environment can even to the trained eye, can be very tricky to spot. So if you see a sandy patch along a local reef or a while walking in the shallow waters, don’t dismiss it so quickly! There might be a flounder resting there!
Some creatures are hard to spot because they are just so tiny. This Doto sp. nudibranch or sea slug, is usually no more than a quarter of a centimeter long! To see more pictures from this dive, visit our Gallery.

Thank you for your support in 2010! Next year, we hope to make more new discoveries and to continue to share news of our beautiful reefs with hundreds of divers and citizens of Singapore!

2 Responses to “Blog Log: 19 December 2010”

  1. Mallika said:

    Wished I was on this final trip in 2010 but luckily there’s always a brand new year. Here’s to cleaner waters and healthier marine environments in 2011! Thanks for this great post!

  2. Min Hui said:

    Nice shot Jimmy!

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