All That Wrapper

Date December 27, 2016


Wrappers are pretty – that’s the idea. They are intended to attract, mesmerise, and evoke a sense of allure. But once we are done with them, we crush them up and toss them aside. In spite of its evocative potential, a pretty piece of wrapper, is alas, benign. But not these. These are wrappers of gorgonians, and a predator that sits atop another predator, is far from benign. Read the rest of this entry »


Date December 26, 2016

Guest blogger, underwater photographer and Singapore reef explorer, Katherine Lu, shares her experiences of discovering Singapore’s marine wonders in this very special Boxing Day post! Be blown away by some of her encounters! Above: Cuthona sp. Read the rest of this entry »

Little Creatures

Date December 23, 2016

Hantu Blog dive guide and Math teacher, Ng Boon Leong, took to the waters of Pulau Hantu on a day of clear skies and calm waters for a day of photography with our veteran guide Jeemee Goh and macro enthusiast Toh Chay Hoon. It was also a training day for one of our new guides! We’re always excited to take new people out, share our Hantu Blog story, and build our family so that more people can discover how very special Singapore reefs are! Boon Leong shares, “The visibility was a relatively good 4m, and this allowed us to spot some of the smaller critters on the corals and hydroids,” such as this Doto sp. nudibranch! Read the rest of this entry »

Monitoring our Reefs

Date August 1, 2016

Tomato Anemonefish and Bubble-tip Anemone (bleached)
A handful of our volunteer reef guides are being trained in Reef Check techniques that will equip them with the necessary skills and knowledge to help local scientists monitor our reefs. The first workshop and field trip was conducted in June and it was an opportunity for our guides to pay careful attention to the coral forms and the condition of our reef, while gaining experience in setting up reef transects with our volunteer trainers and instructors Jeffrey Low and Toh Chay Hoon. Read the rest of this entry »

Abandoned cats on Pulau Hantu: Update

Date August 1, 2016

The Hantu Blog got together with volunteers from the Cat Welfare Society to Trap, Neuter and Relocate (TNR) cats on Pulau Hantu. The Hantu Blog learned about the cats from campers who visited the island in June. Two cats were caught. They have been neutered, and we are looking for homes for two of them. If you are able to adopt or foster either of them, please get in touch with us. Otherwise, if you are a cat feeder and think that you may be able to assist in the integration of the striped tabby with your community cats, please let us know. The cats will not be returned to the island. We want to keep our islands free from cats and a safe refuge for migratory birds and native reptiles that use the island to feed, hide and rest. Read the rest of this entry »

New Species of Crab Discovered at Pulau Hantu

Date July 15, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 08.32.50
Leucosiid crabs resemble pieces of coral rubble so well that it is almost impossible to see them unless they move [1]. In Singapore, two such leucosiids have previously been reported, both originally encountered at Pulau Hantu [2]. In June 2016, a new species was added to the list, Nursia tohae. It was spotted by none other than our gifted macro enthusiast, Toh Chay Hoon. The individual in the photo above was a female sized just 3.90 × 2.69 mm! In 1993, a new genus and species of leucosiid crab was described from Singapore’s mangrove swamps [3]. There’s so much to be discovered around our tiny little island! The more we discover, the more we realise that our small and precious wilderness areas are incredibly diverse and dynamic. Which is why we shouldn’t discount the size of our wild places. Just because they are small, doesn’t mean they can be easily replaced or that their loss will not be significant. Keep your eyes peeled! And allow yourself to fall in love with the wonders of our natural heritage!

Cats on Pulau Hantu

Date July 14, 2016

A group of campers who spent the night at Pulau Hantu in June shared with us the sighting of 3 feral cats during the night, one of which they managed to get a photo of. We are deeply concerned that people have been bringing their cats to the island to be abandoned. It might seem like a nice idea for a cat to have the whole island to itself, but in reality the island is home to several other animals such as migratory sea birds that must stop to rest and feed on the shore (on the mainland, cats have been observed to catch kingfishers), reptiles like water monitors (small ones are easily caught by cats), and not to mention the many intertidal animals that live in forage in the lagoons. Please do not bring cats or any animal onto our islands. Read the rest of this entry »

Sea slugs in sunny Singapore

Date July 13, 2016

Our band of intrepid local divers capitalised on the abundant sunshine and headed out to Hantu’s reefs this weekend. The photographs from this blog post were taken by Toh Chay Hoon, Singapore’s informal macro specialist, well known for her tendency to spot the small and miss the big! Her special skill brings us unique insight into the lives of tiny creatures on the reef that are often missed. Through her eyes, we are able to perceive the reef at a whole new level. This colourful sea hare, Philinopsis falciphallus, was a new sighting for Chay Hoon. Sea hares are Opisthobranchs that are characterised by a vestigial shell and two pairs of tentacles, which tells us its ancestors looked much like our common image of a snail. Read the rest of this entry »

Coral Spawning in Singapore: A Natural Wonder

Date April 30, 2016

Not much is known about coral spawning events, and even less is known about mass coral spawning in equatorial regions. In fact, it wasn’t until 2002 that researchers finally managed to pin point a time of the year, and a time of the day during which coral spawning can be observed in Singapore! You can imagine why this remarkable event has remained a mystery for so long. Corals, as we all know, live in the sea. So to see them, we have to be in the sea. There are many hours in a day, and spawning occurs just over a few minutes. In order to witness such an event, you have to be at the right place in the ocean during the right time of the year and at the right time of day. As you would have to be SCUBA diving, the duration you are able to observe the corals is limited by the depth and length of time that you can stay submerged! A very challenging task indeed! But, thanks to the curiosity and tenacity of our marine scientists and volunteers, and not to mention the accessibility of Singapore reefs, this event is becoming increasingly well documented in Singapore! We bring you a glimpse of this very special event through the photos and videos by Toh Chay Hoon. Above, polyps of a Goniastrea coral colony begin to release their eggs. Read the rest of this entry »

Celebrating 13 years of diving in Singapore: Why Reefs Are Relevant

Date April 23, 2016

The Hantu Blog celebrated 13 years of bringing divers and reef walkers to Pulau Hantu last month! What better way to commemorate this milestone than to do more diving! Some of our most veteran volunteers who have been with us for over a decade got together with some of our most regular divers to discover more about our reefs! We continue to be surprised by the diversity of life in Singapore’s coral reefs. Divers keep coming back because there is always the possibility of finding something new or observing unusual behaviour on the reef! Above, a Hypselodoris bullocki nudibanch has just laid a ribbon of eggs – the next generation! Photographs by Toh Chay Hoon. Read the rest of this entry »