#53, Pulau Hantu


Credits to www.wildsingapore.com for the photo

Just today, a group of RMBR guides went over to Pulau Hantu - it's the Malay name for "ghost island". Gives you the creeps eh? I remember being really scared of the island when I last went diving at Hantu, two to three years back. Well, actually the place's really nothing to be afraid of. It's a pretty place, with wild grasses growing around, palmies (that's what my friend calls Palm Trees) and the likes. It's really great for camps/ gatherings etc.

Pretty!

As you can see in the map, the Hantu island is made up of two portions, the "Hantu Bersar" (big ghost) and "Hantu Kechil" (little ghost). Somehow, it reminds me of the many islands in Singapore that are found in pairs, like the:

(1) Sister's Island
(2) the Semakau Island (it's made up of two islands actually!)
(3)St John's Island & the Larzarus Island.

The Southern part


There are two jetties and during low tide, you can literally trod past the area between the two islands, like what we did today! There're two jetties as well. Eep.

Jetty at the South

Adjacent to Bukom, an oil refinery island

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Today we saw a grand total of

1 flatworm

1 nudibranch (NEW NEW NEW)

1 mosaic crab whose pincers and one leg were gonee on one side of the crab, wonder what happened?

This crab is the most poisonous crab found in Singapore as their toxins do not disintegrate on cooking, there have been cases of deaths when eaten. They're also poisonous. So don't touch/eat them! This beautiful crab is listed 'endangered'. They actually belong to the family 'Xanthidae', which are all poisonous crabs. (P: Arthropoda, SP: Crustacea, C: Malacostraca O: Decapoda,SO: Brachyurans, F: Xanthidae) It is understood that the toxins in these animals are made by symbiotic bacteria.

1 red egg crab

It's a close relative of the mosaic crab, poisonous/ venomous too.

1 sac of spiral melongela egg capsules


many many common sea stars, sponges, shrimps, gobies, soft/hard corals (e.g. sunflower mushroom coral)

1 orange-coloured shrimp

1 squid which squirted out ink when it was in distress!

Anyway, it was constantly changing its colour, and it's due to chromatophores, which enable the squid to change colours to camouflage into its surroundings.

quite a few fan worms (white, brown variations)

1 spiral melongela

1 male fiddler crab

The fiddle crab is pretty huge, and it has a nice orange claw.

1 baby giant clam

Yay..... :) Koksheng was look out for them. He GPS-ed the position of it.

1 giant carpet anemone

Unfortunately, no anemone shrimp/ oscellated clownfish ):

5 feather stars

They're filter feeders, which explains why it has so many hair-like protrusions of its arms used to trap the particle in the sea water :) saw the brown version too!

10 brittle stars

They're very light sensitive. At the sight of the (torch) light (we went in the early morning, so it was still dark), they hide immediately in the rock crevices. Only this brittle star was less shy but as you can see, this one's trying to hide too!

many many many common sea stars!

Saw a 6-legged one, 4-legged one, and the usual 5-legged ones, plus there were many small stars around, really in abundance - I daresay, more than P. Semakau's common sea star density?

It's interesting to note that these sea stars actually have a nervous system just that it's rather complex. They lack a true centralised brain and operate via the nerve ring on each arm. So you may ask the following few questions:

- Are the sea stars able to feel (pain)?
Personally, I'm not sure too but I'll say no. Though they've a nervous system, they lack a true brain so they are unable to process the action which causes them pain. I'm sure it's more complex than that.

I'll try to find out more but if you do know, pl leave a comment!

- How would they know which directions to move towards? (How are they able to think colletively?)
There is the leading arm that is usually observed to have its tip raised and curve backwards while the rest of the arms move in the direction of the leading arm with the tube feet with the signalling of the leading arm (chemical signals). Any of the arms have the potential to the be leading arm.

- Are they able to store information and where?
I don't know. But they can learn things..... and store them.

Read more about it here, it's pretty interesting!

I like the cloud :)

Goodbye, Hantu! Thanks to Ron/Ms Wang who organized the trip! Need to consider to get a point-and-shoot, lugging around the old DSLR is not fun.

Read other blog entries on:

(1) S's blog here

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Credits:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starfish#Nervous_system
http://www.madreporite.com/science/orientation.htm
http://www.wildsingapore.com/

3 comments:

~ mantamola ~ said...

for dates to huh?...mmmm very private hor :)

Ivan said...

The unknown snail is most probably the spiral melongena ( Pugilina cochlidium).

eunice said...

@mantamola:
haha. ok i changed it, no more dates! ;)

@ivan:
thanks for the ID!