#30, Semakau OJT 3

Soooooo, today was the Semakau OJT 3. :-) Had an amazing opportunity with the Octopus group! Ahhhhhh it was a major cause of confusion cos July simply went "Octopus!" (to call for the group's attention), but the other groups thought we'd found an octopus. Haha. We found five octopus as well, pretty amazing.

Thank you Ms Wang/ SY/ Ron for organizing the trip :-)

We saw many of the same kind of flatworm.

Can you spot the octopus? It's not easy y? Really proves that octopus are creatures hard to spot because of their soft body's ability to squeeze through crevices but members of the Octopus group managed to spot 5 altogether. :-) Anyway, octopuses are the smartest invertebrae (animals without backbone) around. They have brains, which is a real advantage for animals.

Noble volute laying eggs
We saw about two noble volutes laying eggs that day. This creature has a unique way of hunting; it usually hunts on bivalves. While the bivalves are open, the volute takes the opportunity to seize the bivalves' soft body and slurp it up with the help of its radula (something like the "teeth" of the volute). They can both prey above and below the sand.

Walking through the seagrass lagoon
It was really pitched dark then...

We saw many fanworms that day as well ;) They filter feed as the current comes, they take in microscopic particles from the sea.

Dragonfish sea cucumber
:) Careful with these fragile creatures

Giant Clam
The resident giant clam. In the larval stage after external fertilization, the puny little larval swims in the ocean till it finds a proper substrate to anchor itself unto, and then stays at that spot for the rest of its life, thats why you can always find the clam at the same place.

Group & the Giant Clam

Mushroom Coral
Mushroom corals exist only usually as one polyp, if not multiple polyps but not like the usual corals, which have many many polyps in one "building". They are also capable of detaching themselves once mature to plant themselves on te ocean floor.

Back of Knobbly Seastar
Great care must be taken when handling these creatures; i.e. holding these animals from their central disc and not their arms. As much as possible, these creatures should not be taken out of the water for too long as well. Ater all, they are still are inter-tidal creatures ;)

Front of the same knobbly sea star

Underside of Cushion star
Rarely seen on land because theyre more likely to be found in deeper waters ;) It is also an echinoderm, having a five-point radial symmetry, which is more evident when turned under side.

Front of cushion star

Sponge and dead top shell

The various groups

Polka-dotted Nudibranch
Two of them!!! Anyw, these creatures are haemophodite, which means they have two genders. In the event of mating, both animals would have to lay eggs. :)

Oscellated Sea cucumber

Rock bund opening
The rock bund that's not yet sealed.

Acorn worm cast
Worm that's hardly seen though more than often, it leaves behind its cast, which is actually its waste material. This is the by-product of the worm which sieves through the sand and later egesting the sand/detritus out.

A great trip all in all ;) Got to see new creatures, learnt many new things and gained new insights to guiding!

Other creatures seen but not mentioned: Synaptid sea cucumber, sandfish sea cucumber, other nudibranches (2 other species), other flatworms seen, the usuals: hard/soft corals, sea algae, sea grass, sand bubbler crab & fiddler crab, a small hermit crab, mangrove horseshoe crab, butterflyfish, wandering cowrie, red swimming crab, ascidian, anemone shrimp and its host anemone, spiral melongela, turban shell

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