Sunday, 30 September 2007

Back at Kusu!!

Part 1 of this month's intertidally weekend ^^ It feels great to be back at Kusu with the BWV bunch after 2 months of break. Judging from the signup response for this month and next's, the public has also been anticipating our return to the shores! And Kusu didn't disappoint! Just to list some of the things we saw (thanks to our brilliant spotters thebluetempeh and D) nudibranchs, big jellyfish (~30cm in diameter), 2 octopuses, rainbow wrasse, egg crab, flower crab, hairy crab, many many common seastars, an increasing amount of carpet anemones (including one ~10cm in diameter), pipefishes, anemone clownfish (aka Nemo), stonefish, branched anemone.... It seems like the anemones that we have been seeing since the start of the year are here to sta, and have been joined by their friends!

Sadly, me being me, was a little distracted coordinating and guiding that I only took photos of the rather big stonefish and one of the pipefish we saw. Didn't even take people photos. Probably hafta wait to snitch them off MS (along with any other animal shots) and post on the RW blog/community. Anyway, on to the pictures and little snippets of information ^^

Meet Mr Stonefish. Think this is the first time for the guides to actually see a stonefish at the Kusu Lagoon. Mr Stonefish here was apparently very stoned since even with the rather rough handling it had to endure from one of our helpful "uncles" it still remained rather still. However, this does NOT mean that you can treat a stonefish thusly, even if you do come across one. Sticking a metal rod in its mouth ain't exactly very nice, even if it's a convenient way to hull it around for the rest to see. The whole purpose of the ReefWalks is to introduce people to our intertidal biodiversity that is also nature friendly to the critters and their environment (so no screaming or shouting from kids either!!) Stonefish keep very still mainly as part of their passive camouflage, so as to appear like a stone (thus its name) while it lays in wait for unsuspecting prey. Another reason why "playing" with a stonefish (even minus the rod) is not a very good idea is that the spines of its fins are actually hollow and filled with venom, so if you get scratched or pricked.... Let's just say that you won't be very happy either.

Here's another shot of Mr Stonefish, minus the offensively invasive rod. As grumpy as its face is naturally, I think I can safely say that its way more comfortably without the rod in its mouth. 'Coz with the rod in, Mr Stonefish was raising its spines up in defense....

On to another fish that is less threatening but just as adapt at camouflage. This is a pipefish. Sorta a cousin of the more well known seahorse (and leafy seadragons). Think straightened out seahorse and *wahlah* you get a pipefish! Unlike other fish, pipefish, seahorses, and sea dragons all have very small mouths located at the end of their snouts, and it's the DAD that is "pregnant" and has the honour of carrying the young in their pouches! This pipefish is around 5cm in length, and when it keeps very still (especially when near the sea bottom or amongst algae/seagrass) they look like just another random stick floating around in the sea! Isn't that amazing?

And of course, to round up an excellent walk (and evening), a few of us had a very nice dinner at Akashi, VivoCity~~

EDIT: MS has put up more of the photos at the BWV blog. Thanks dude! (Though I didn't really describe the organisms here... only did for the stonefish and pipefish~~)

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