Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Synatid sea cucumber in Semakau is…

The large and long synatid sea cucumber that we often see feeding among the seagrass has an ID, or at least, is narrowed to the genus level.


This sea cucumber is commonly found in the tape seagrass bed of Pulau Semakau. We can safely confirmed it as Opheodesoma sp. based on the two distinctive shapes of the ossicles or skeletons below which were extracted from the body wall.


In case anybody ask, this was taken from a microscope, taken at x40 magnification. Each type of ossicle has a name, and this is called an anchor plate.


While is known as, well, an anchor. If you touch this cucumber, you can feel that it is ‘sticky’ and the reason for that is because of the hooks from these anchors.

The reason why I find it harder to ID Synatidae is because, firstly, I can’t rely much on its external morphology, since the colour seems variable for this family of sea cucumbers, and secondly, the sweet corn-like surface of the sea cucumber might not be present on the same species with a different form or variety.

The only Opheodesoma recorded in Singapore is Opheodesoma grisea. While most of the description fits, I will prefer not to assume its identity, at least not until I have looked at all the descriptions from other species in this genus. But we can just call it Opheodesoma c.f. grisea if we really want to force it in. haha~

There are ten species of Opheodesoma at the moment. I guess when I have more time, I should probably be able to get its species by finding more keys for all the species and extracting the ossicles from other parts of the body besides the main body wall.

One thing to note is that Dr David Lane had identified another similar cucumber in the ‘The Story of Semakau Landfill’ book as Synapta maculata. Will love to get my hands on the specimen if it is available somewhere for a comparison. No matter what, from my knowledge, this species was never recorded in other literature and is possibly a new record.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Pink month


Saw this beautiful pink moth (Chrysocraspeda olearia, Geometridae) flying around the kitchen in my house when I was having my breakfast this morning. Isn’t it cute?

It has flown off since and is hiding somewhere in my room. Hmmm…

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Smelly lotus pond in AMK park

Even though my secondary and JC were in Ang Mo Kio, I have never gone to the AMK West Town Park in my entire life. Luckily my friend who lived nearby kindly showed me around the park today. :)


I knew that there was a lotus pond there but I didn’t know that it was in such an unkempt state! A foul smell lingered from it and weeds were covering over the surface. There were a few people cleaning up the pond though, and this guy above tried pulling up a clump of grass that had covered part of the water.


There was a long climb up the park, guarded by these tall majestic cabbage palms, Roystonea oleracea.


My friend pointed out that we can sometimes find bats roosting under the folded leaves of Livistona chinensis. Sure enough, she managed to find one dog-faced fruit bat, Cynopterus brachyotis hiding at a palm leaf.


The Tembusu, Fagraea fragrans, is flowering everywhere now and we saw a bunch of small birds, like the white-eye above, feeding on the nectar.


At one end of the park, there was a big area for people who kept cage birds to let them enjoy the sunday morning. Who knows what the birds really felt though.

Most of the birds under the shelter are white-rumped shama, which is also a native bird.


Isn’t this a paddyfield pipit (another native)? What this ground dwelling bird doing it a cage? :s


I loved this park because it has a mixture of natural secondary forest (albeit a low quality one) and open spaces. Anyway, this tree with a large girth stood out among all the thin trees.


Looks like it is an Alstonia species, probably Alstonia angustiloba?


This bug looked like a hybrid of cockroach and wasp with centipede antennae. Creepy…


My friend pointed out this jackfruit tree, Artocarpus heterophyllus and we saw two plantain squirrels nibbling on the fruits. Cutez :)


After a loop, we were back to the lotus pond where the cleaners were still removing the weeds from the pond.


The pond is not entirely deprived of life though. We saw a lot of frogs inside it!

Awesome park for wildlife appreciation. I wish my neighbourhood park, Punggol Park can be half as nice as this…

Saturday, May 7, 2011

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