Friday, February 8, 2008

CNY @ Hantu

My first trip to Pulau Hantu, aka the Ghost Island in Malay, with Ria and gang. Heres some interesting little critters we found at the intertidals.

The Soldier Crab (Dotilla myctiroides) is a rather peculiar crab to me, with its pincers hunched over its shoulders like a praying mantis. Its common name comes from its massive swarms of crabs like armies of soldiers but sadly such occurence is not seen here in Sg (Ron corrected that he seen this at cyrene reef). But heres an example, and u will understand what I meant.

There were lots of common seastars (Archaster typicus) in Hantu! Just look at the number of footprints (or rather, starprints) they left behind. Although dubbed as "common", it is sadly not as common now. Hence, it is heartening to see so many of them around in Pulau Hantu

Finally got a picture of the clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris) on a sea anemone. This is definitely one of the most famous cited examples of mutualism with the anemone giving it protection with its stinging cells while the fish is known to help luring prey to it. Less known of the fish is that it is protrandus, meaning it starts off as a male and later changes sex to a female.

A special find by Ron, this is actually a nudibranch (Dendrodoris tuberculosa). And its huge! Far larger then anyone I have ever seen.

A strikingly red featherstar (Class: Crinoidea), rather timely for this festive season. They are not commonly found in intertidals but at deeper waters but we found 4 of them! These animals are suspension feeders that uses their outstretched feathery arms (and mucus) to capture food and transport to their central mouth.

There are many genera of corals around at hantu, especially the huge leathery soft corals that scattered the intertidal zone. But I have a particular liking to Acropora (above), with its nice distinct axial polyps. But this genus thrives in pristine environments, thus not commonly found here.

Synatid sea cucumber (Synaptula sp.). This sea cucumber are very much elongated then their fellow cousins.

Here are some other colorful animals we saw on that day.

Some more entries from KS & JL

1 comment:

aki-chan said...

WOW! Interesting critters you saw! So lucky! And yea, the ghost soldier army is amazing!!

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