Monday, July 14, 2008

Coat Buttons

Coat buttons (Tridax procumbens) belong to the sunflower or daisy family (Asteraceae). Native in Central America, this plant was introduced as an ornanment but spread so quickly that it is now considered as a weed.

Day flying moth (Syntomis huebneri)

Many animals pollinate the flowers of the coat button. All the photos were taken at the same locality on the same day :). Above is a day flying moth (Syntomis huebneri). You can see the long proboscis of the moth reaching into the inflorescence (known as a capitulum).

Day flying moth (Syntomis huebneri)

And burying its head into it in order to reach the nectar!

Honey Bee on a Coat Button

Besides that, a honey bee was buzzing nearby doing the same action ^^


And many butterflies were hanging around the plant. No fear of pollination for this plant I guess.

Coat Buttons (Tridax procumbens)

As for the fruits? There are many long feathery hairs called pappus that helped it to drift in the wind, helping it to disperse efficiently. No wonder it can be found everywhere.

Even tiny things can be amazing if u take a closer look at them!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Semakau Guiding (10th)

It was another great day at the intertidals of Pulau Semakau. Today was my 2nd time guiding an adult group. Yupz, all my previous ones were school children. But it turned out to be as enjoyable as usual. :)

My Seahorse Group today were a bunch of fun-loving prison officers, and they were striking a seahorse pose! ^^

Just as one day before, we managed to spot an acron worm "shitting"!

There are several noble volutes (Cymbiola nobilis) laying eggs here. These snails are now vulnerable due to collection for their attractive shells and edible meat.

One of the common cucumbers in Semakau, the sandfish cucumber (Holothuria scabra). One thing interesting about sea cucumbers is that their respiratory system actually empties into the cloaca, and out through the anus!

A red swimming crab (Thalamita spinimana) was spotted near the reef edge. It had only 3 walking legs and one pincer left! However, if it can survive till its next moult, new legs will grow out again.

A pufferfish (Family: Tetraodontidae) are one of the most posionous fishes due to a toxin, tetrodotoxin found inside its body. This lethal posion is produced by bacteria, which is acquired through food. Hence, it is said that those pufferfish reared in captivity are not posionous.

The Oil Rig, Essar Wildcat, is stopping offshore of Semakau for 6 months for some repairs. This submersible rig can drill up to 8km in depth!

Lastly, along the way back in the forest, I stopped to take a picture of the fruiting screw pine ( Pandanus sp.).

Sunday, July 6, 2008


Was over at Changi last week for a short walk before going to work.

I found a horseshoe crab (Tachypleus gigas) half-buried in the sand. RY pointed out theres a larger one below. The smaller horseshoe is a male clinging on the back of the larger female, whereby she will lay a batch of eggs in the sand and which will be fertilised by the male later.

This is my first time seeing an acorn worm (Class: Enteropneusta, Phylum: Hemichordata) working its way in the sand. The yellow tube is the end of the worm where it excretes processed sand.

There were also many moon snails moving actively searching for their next meal.

Of cos, there were the stars, above is a sand star (Astropecten sp),

And a juvenile knobbly star!

I also managed to catch a glimpse of a tube worm. It seemed to be feeding on the seagrass... Mmm

This scaly thing on the gong gong is a chiton (Class: polyplacophora). They are related to snails, having a muscular foot and using a radula to scrape algae, bryozoans and bacteria.

The thorny sea cucumber (Colochirus quadrangularis) exposing its feeding tentacles in the water. There were also many of them clustering on fan shells, probably to get a good height for suspension feeding.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Coconut Germination Pores

There is always something new to learn, even something as elementary as a coconut (Cocos nucifera). I found out while preparing for one of the workshops that coconut fruits actually have three germination pores on the endocarp layer; which is the inner most layer of the fruit.

As RY described, it looked something like a bowling ball. However only one of the pores is functional, and a shoot will sprout out of that thin layered pore when conditions are ripe. The other two depressions are non-functional and impenetrable. Each pore actually represent a carpel when it was still a flower. So next time when you see a coconut at the beach (like the one above at Changi), you know what are those holes :)
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