Tuesday, June 5, 2007

First Naked Hermit Crabs Walk at Sentosa

Finally, the day has arrived - the Naked Hermit Crabs had our very first walk at Sentosa!

The tide was wonderfully low today, and we were able to walk far out to the intertidal area. We have three groups for the walk on the Family Trail, and the group names were Hairy Crab, Egg Crab, and Swimming Crab. Well, we are the Naked Hermit Crabs, so obviously our group names should be crab-related right? :P

Well actually, hermit crabs are not true crabs, but they are all crustaceans, and that's enough for me :)

I wasn't really guiding actually, as I was the coordinator and thus had to run around to make sure that everything was running smoothly. But every now and then, I managed to "persuade" the guides to let me talk at some of the stations.

It was a really good day, and we saw a lot of things. I had to run around, and thus I didn't manage to take many photos. Ria was busy filming as well, and thus also only managed to grab a few action shots.

But anyway, here are some of the things we saw today :)

The above is a huge omellete leathery soft coral (Sacrophyton sp.). This is actually a colony of countless animals living together in a shared leathery tissue. Each animal looks like a tiny sea anemone with a long body topped with tentacles.

We also saw a boomerang mushroom coral (Herpolitha limax). This is a free-living hard coral that is not attached to the substrate.

We also saw the five-striped ribbon worm (Baseodiscus quinquelineatus). While they appear soft and defenceless, in actual fact they are fierce predators . A Ribbon worm has a proboscis to snap preys. Some are armed with a piercing stylet that can inject a toxin. Studies also suggest that many ribbon worms harbour bacteria that produce powerful toxins that may make them toxic to eat.

The were lots of seaweed in the lagoon too. Above are some sea grapes (Caulerpa lentillifera) , that are eaten as a salad in some places.

The visitors were also quite excited to see the Raffles' pitcher plant (Nepenthes rafflesiana). Pitcher plants have leaves that form containers with fluid that is able to digest small animals.

We also saw a polka dot nudibranch (Jorunna funebris)! 'Nudibranch' means 'naked gills'. The name comes from the flower-like gills found on the back of many nudibranchs.

And near the Fort Siloso's gun emplacement, there was a beautiful tidal pool with lots of colonial anemones, which formed a nice green "carpet" on the rocks.

Colonial anemones are animals that live in a colony, and each animal is joined to the others nearby, sometimes by underground tubes.

And here are the participants of today's walk.

We have the Swimming Crabs led by July and Kok Sheng.

The Egg Crabs led by LK and May.

And the Hairy Crabs led by November and Ivan.

On the way out of the beach area, we bumped into Vilma leading an Nature Society's "Fun with Nature" activity.

At the end of our walk, some of our visitors drew really beautiful pictures on our colourful "guestbook", or rather, "guestsheets":P

The flag in the picture was our official Naked Hermit Crab Flag.

All in all, it was a very pleasant walk, despite the fact that this was our very first trip!

More about the day's trips on the blogs of other Naked Hermit Crabs!
wonderful creations blog by Kok Sheng
urban forest blog by Siyang
where discovery begins blog by July
leafmonkey blog by November and her flicker set

Ands thanks to all the NHCs for making our very first walk such as successful one - Ria, Marcus, LK, July, Ivan, Andy, November, Helen, May, Siyang and Kok Sheng :)

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