Blog Log: 21 November 2010

Date November 26, 2010

Hantu Blog volunteers Cindy Tan and Lam Peimin take a group of divers out to Hantu waters and spots her first toadfish (above)! The toadfish is a sluggish bottom dweller of rocky shores and reef flats. It derives its name from the croaking sound it makes when it is disturbed or out of water. It feeds on small fishes, crabs and prawns, and has venomous spines. So don’t go touching it if you see it in a puddle on the shore! Divers only ever get to see the face of this creature, which can give you quite a shock if you’re surprised by it (it’s quite ugly!) but it does have a beautifully stripped body that’s really only seen if it’s caught.

Red Swimmer Crab
Cindy and Peimin returned from their dive trip raving about the good visibility conditions she experienced at today. They probably weren’t the only ones rejoicing. I bet several critters on the reef, including the millions of tiny corals, are all enjoying the breadth of sunshine they are basking under this weekend! (Above: Red Swimmer Crab)

Fan shell
One of the cool things Cindy shared with me was her sighting of a Fan clam or Fanshell (above). The Fanshell is a species of aquatic bivalve mollusk. Like other bivalves, fan clams are filter feeders. At high tide, they open their shells a little. They then generate a current of water through the shell and sieve out the food particles with enlarged gills. When the tide goes out, they clamp up their shells tightly to prevent water loss. These thin, fan-shaped clams are commonly seen on some of our shores, usually near good seagrass meadows. However, they are often overlooked as most of the shell is often buried with only about 2-3cm of the shell sticking out of the ground. Their razor-sharp edges can give a nasty cut to barefoot visitors. So please always wear appropriate footwear when visiting the shores. (Source)

Another rare critter she managed to capture on her camera was this large Shrimp, apparently attempting to scuttle backwards into its burrow. Cindy said that because of its size, it was slower than all the other shrimp she tried to photograph! These shrimp and their companion gobies require a lot of patience to capture in the field because they are extremely skittish and are very good at playing the waiting game.

Juvenile Six-banded Angelfish
A juvenile Six-banded Angelfish.

Whip coral Goby
A Whip Goby rests on a Whip coral. The Whip Goby is semi-transparent, and hugs the whip coral for shelter. It can “run” along the coral very fast, and will only leave the coral when it concludes that the threat is grave.

Something I’ve not seen in awhile, are the schools of Rabbitfish that swarm beneath the pillars of the Hantu island’s jetty. They are even easier to appreciate on a good day such as this, when the visibility is favourable.

See more of underwater Hantu.

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