Thursday, 17 May 2007

Last week @ Raffles & Lazarus

Blogging postdate stuff seems to be becoming a habit... Here's some of the stuff we saw at Raffles lighthouse and Lazarus during the dives last week. Was playing about with mhy IXUS's digital macro function a little and managed to get shots of the little critters that live amongst the coral nubbins. What I can conclude is that I *did* manage to snap them but the grainy quality of digital zoom kinda took out the satisfaction if getting them... *sigh*

And so the photo parade starts!! First up's the stuff that we saw at Raffles lighthouse ^^ Bright red crinoids!!! Pretty, right? They're echinoderms (meaning spiny feet), and are related to cushion stars, sea stars, sea cucumbers. Those bumpy creatures that have circular symmetry (at least externally). Crinoids are also known as sea lilies or feather stars. Easy to see why, rite? ^^ You can see this one clinging to the substrate with its tentacle-like feet, and they actually do move about using these clingy feelers!
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Next up, nudibranchs!!! Only saw a few nubidranchs, these phyllids. The unusual thing about these particular ones are that their rhinophores (those antennae-like thingies) are out!!! Most of the times we can't really tell the front from the back of phyllids since the rhinophores are nicely hidden. Yes, the rhinophores are on the front end.
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What's more, this is the first time I'm seeing a nudibranch leave a trail in its wake!!
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E2 managed to spot this awesome cowrie in a crack between some rocks. Only the second time that I'm seeing a cowrie in Singapore~~ The reason why it's so recognisable and has such a pretty shell, is all because it's mantle (aka flesh) actually wraps round the entire shell, giving it the nice shiny look.
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And after working so much with this reef crab (aka thunder crab), Carpilius convexus, he wouldn't miss this one. It's called thunder crab because of the belief that once it grabs hold of you with it's mighty pincers, it won't let go unless thunder sounds.... Of course, it may also refer to the sound of your finger breaking in those pincers.... [EDIT] Seems like silly Juan here got her crabbies mixed up. Not a thundercrab after all. Tis the red egg crab. Supposed to be nocturnal so I wonder why we saw two of them on this dive. Maybe they can't really tell night from day on Singapore's sedimented waters?
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Then there's the omelette soft coral that I ALWAYS see during intertidal walks. Really looks way more impressive with it's tentacles/polyps out~~~ Just like a little sea of flowers.
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Another soft coral (I think). Polyps more spaced out but still as fascinating. ^^ Do let me know if anybody manages to figure this one out, k?
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Moving on to the Lazarus nubbins, the tables are ALWAYS so full of life. Meant as a coral nubbin nursery but nusery and shelter to a whole range of things!! Some are immediately visible, like the many many fishes that come here to feed (on algae and invertebrates), such as this filefish here. Somewhat shy and skittish but amazing all the same~~
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Other fish that are here are not as obvious, and try their best to hide from inquisitive eyes like these juvenile 8-banded butterfly fish. So many of them playing catching with us as we cleaned the nubbins, going this way and that....
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Taking an even closer look between the branches of Hynodphora and Acropora nubbins yielded a number of funky crustaceans. From these little crabs...
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To shrimps...
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The most unusual of which, was this GREEN shrimp (Coralliocaris graminea) that grows up to 1cm in length and is known to be a commensal with Acropora coral. Its color pattern is made up of black, white, and green chromatophores in alternating fine longitudinal stripes. Can *some what* see the stripes in my photos but these little critters were REALLY REALLY frustrating to shoot. Surge, small subject hiding in recesses of branches, digital macro => asking for a hard time!! But still managed to get a few decent shots ^^ It still looks like some tiny alien....
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2 comments:

Siyang said...

Woa...all the photos u showed me are up. Nice man. Btw that one is thunder crab? I thought it look like the egg crab.

tHE tiDE cHAsER said...

Hmm... That looks like a red egg crab (Atergatis integerrimus) to me too. Thunder crab in local context usually refers to Myomenippe hardwickii.