Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Morning visit

Finally, a chance to visit again after a long hiatus. The posts were a lovely read in the meantime. :)

The water at Labrador has been amazing lately. At low tide, just a bit higher up from the choppy waves near the corals, it's so nice and clear, even walking around chasing a pack of camera-shy catfish doesn't seem to muck it up much.

Juvenile striped eel-tailed catfish (Plotosus lineatus) - if you look closely you might even be able to see the barbels!

Near the rocks, an octopus was spotted trying to eat a swimming crab. When we found him, the poor crab was still moving. The octopus was mostly inside his hole, except for tentacles sticking out, but for a moment his eyes and siphon were clearly visible as he tried to consume the crab, which proved to be a bit big to drag into the hole. Unfortunately he spotted us peering at him and decided to retreat behind his half eaten meal.

Octopus hiding under breakfast. Can you spot the sucker discs of the octopus?

Another crab, this time alive. The red egg crabs are quite common on Labrador, found around the corals where the water is a bit deeper and usually quite choppy.

Red Egg Crab (Atergatis integerrimus)

The colonial anemones have been back since my last few visits. They are of all colours and cover certain areas of the beach. Really beautiful to look at. But not to touch. Anemones are stuck in the same group as jellyfish and coral. They are called cnidarians because they have stinging cells which can leave a painful sting! I'm surprised there haven't been photos of these amazing creatures around.

Pretty brown ones. Quite hard to photograph due to moving water surface.

And the solitary anemones which seem to be quite commonly found on Labrador as well. This one looks a bit different from the usual ones spotted..

Quite strange. No one seems to know what they for the moment, unknown anemone.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

concrete beach

think there's nothing on the seawall? look closer...


seaslugs (They're well camouflaged. At least 5 of them in this pic)

mermaid's fan (padina)

you'll be surprised to find species that are seldom found on the natural shore on the seawall instead. The star limpet is one of them. These guys are 3 times bigger than a normal false limpet.

With more areas becoming urbanized, natural shores are rapidly replaced by artificial structures (If you can find old pictures of labrador beach, you'll see that the park and seawall replaced a part of the natural beach). These structures have the potential to affect the biodiversity of intertidal environments and it may be worth your time to take a walk along the seawall and compare what you can find there (there are more species than those shown above) as compared to the natural beach.

working late has its rewards...

tread lightly and you'll realise the best things are for free
let the sea breeze caress your hair, makes you feel carefree
standstill and listen to the music of the sea
let the waves around your ankels cool your tired feet
the sky changes colours and golden rays retreat
you'll be sad to leave but good memories are yours to keep

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Long live the snails

Ya as ya'll can see i'm running out of titles to use. anyway.. back to our pix..

unknown... mitra? had diffculty IDing (even for snail expert reuben) coz din take it back as a specimen. i mean, what if it's the only one left in labrador right? didn't see any similar ones after that day. Look at the intricate patterns... ok this isn't a good shot but... u can squint and see... so pretty!

next off is this nice green littoraria... fat and shiny...

and another one... this one was found on high shore (the sandy area)

we have strombus... the genus of gong gong.. you know the snails that they serve for supper? Sad to say I think it's endangered now... this is the only one I saw. The rest are empty shells. So you can imagine how excited I was to see a live one! You can't see it from this picture but they have really sharp knife-like operculums that help them turn. Read about it at
Next off, we have another unknown. Ok my ID sux. (anyone who knows the IDs pls do inform me) Think this one is an oyster but experts told me that it could jolly well be just another bivalve. The only way to know is... chisel off the whole thing and bring it back to the lab to look under the microscope.. which, I obviously did not do.
That's it for now. Won't be hearing from molluscs soon coz i have run out of clear enuff photos to upload. :) NOT that there are only so few types of molluscs on labrador but I only took a few shots. but fear not, me and my mates will be gg back to take more pix. till then.. taaa

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Algae Galore~

Besides corals and snails, there is something out there in Labrador beach where people seldom bother to take note. They are the marine plants found there. Wide variety of greenery there, from seagrasses (maybe need SS to blog on tis!) to seaweeds. Yes, there are many different types of seaweeds on the beach. So let's check them out!

this is Borgesenia forbesii. It's identity will be confirmed very soon. Isn't it cute? Reminds u of flubber?

Caulerpa lentillifera aka sea grapes. Do you know that fishermen in Thailand and Philippines actually harvest this species of seaweed and sell them in the market? they r known to be a delicacy especially in salad. Maybe we can give it a try when u r there, not here in Labrador cos we dun have much of them left!

Gracilaria. A type of red seaweed abundant on Labrador beach. It is widely grown and harvested in some areas as extracts from this species are industrially useful. I still haven't found out the species of this type of Gracilaria found in Labrador beach because it is very unique. so.. pls stay watch of this blog to find out more!!

Return of the snails

Decided to post more before I get sucked into the craziness of preparing for papers. So anyways, here's more gorgeous creatures for all you smart pple who visit this site to feast your eyes on...

This... is what i call mollusc-on-a-mollusc. Limpet (cellana) on a top shell (trochus). And this time the limpet is a true limpet.. the real deal. Not like the false limpet in my virgin post. This one has resplendent colours.. like the colours of a pearl... now there's a term for that kinda colours but....... i forgot. Anyway back to Mr limpet. He sticks on really hard to stuff. Difficult to pry them out. (yes i was curious, but being the nature lovers that you all are, I know you will not do the same). I still prefer my pretty little red limpet coz this one's kinda common.

Next off, we have Mr Turbo (turban shell), happily crawling past some rocks looking for some yummylicious algae to munch on.. ok not really munch.. graze.

And then... Ms evil author turns his shell over. hehehe. Well, giving him a chance to show off his muscles what... Look at the yellow meat... doesn't it look yummy?! okok. i'm evil. This particular turbo was relatively big... the size of... a golfball? See the brown part at the opening? on top of the yummylicous yellow meat? that's the operculum. Didn't take a pix of the operculum coz all my photos are for ID purposes and turbos are easy to ID coz of their operculums: the only one made of calcium. It's really hard and pretty with a spiral pattern on the flat side. but sad to say, humans are evil. and selfish. These trap doors that protect Mr Turbo from the prying of crabs or any other predators are often targets of collectors. They're used to make buttons. ya buttons.

Ok to deviate away from my pretty snails.. (saving more pix for later post. :) anticipation is good.) here's 2 other photos that I took during my sampling days... those were the days...

Heron? I dunno what's this bird but he always sneaks around, attacking some poor snail (actually i'm not sure.. ) or some poor fish.... yeah. resident birdy of labrador. along with a kingfisher. but never got a close up of the kingfisher. camera shy.

and here's a sight that really took my breath away....... photos dun even show the wow-ness of the sunset. I don't have a religion but when you see the sunrays and all, you really feel like God is looking at you from behind the clouds, blessing everything the rays touch.. oooooh.... I'm definitely gg back to take more photos.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

pretty pretty snails!

One of Danwei's UROPS mates here to share our sightings. More mates to come. :) Corals... not my thing... What I'm about to show you are the most commonly sighted AND most beautiful creatures you can see on labrador. Of course my frenz will beg to differ.... but still... here's some of the gorgeous creatures that have been accompanying me for the past semester... enjoy.

ooohhh... what did I tell u? Gorgeous. HA. of course there's more to the angaria than just a muddy cover but.. this is really pretty rare. It's the only one I saw in 4 months! So I really love this pix.

Cowrie!!!!!!!! see the 2 little red tentacles sticking out? cool right? I never knew my camera could be so powerful too. haha. you can just feel him feeeeeling his way about.

Certithium cerithium cerithium... recorded for almost every quadrat I took.. These creeper shells are the most abundant lot of gastropods (snails) on the beach, second only to the false limpets... which look like........ this:

They're really tiny... average size probably like half of your little fingernail. Found mostly on the higher parts of the shore, the sandy part with the least rocks. These pretty little red limpets (called them that when I couldn't ID them) are false limpets because they are pulmonates, meaning unlike other gastropods, they are air-breathers and do not breathe through gills.

Really wanted to upload some of the more fascinating stuff that we've seen.. like the spider conch turning over! heh.. too bad i didn't have my camera with me then.. Ok 4 pix for my mollusc section... more coming soon.... akan datang.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

More Corals!

Continuing the feature on corals...

There are just so many nice nice corals here besides the favids (boulder corals) and the soft corals, take a look at these... (images may underestimate the beauty of these ANIMALS due to the cannot-make-it-ness of the author's photography skills though...)

Porites sp. (pore coral) - this is one of the cutest... with those small small corallites less than 1.5mm in diameter, but the coral colony can be quite BIG... like this one is about 0.5m in diameter... Those found at the lower shores can even be as massive as 1.5m in diameter (they're there! go see them!)

Porites sp. (pore coral) - another growth form here... so pretty with the algae... Liyan blogging soon? Tell us more about those algae!

Goniopora sp. - this is one of the few hard corals at the Labrador intertidal which you can actually get to see the polyps and tentacles extended... those are the living parts of the coral that build up the calcium carbonate skeleton we see! If you bother to count the tentacles, there will be 24!

Turbinaria sp. (disc coral) - this is also very pretty, with the irregular disc-shaped form... And even prettier are the extended polyps below (submerged)...

Turbinaria sp. - with polyps extended to feed when submerged!

Montipora sp. (plate coral) - very distinctive to Montipora with the laminar (plate-like) growth form... but of course there are other corals with plate-like forms ya.

One thing I like about them is that they are sessile and don't move around ya noe... so it's easier to locate them and study them... BUT BUT... they do move in one circumstance... as in they are MOVED... guess how???

Who else but some inconsiderate HUMAN BEINGS... and I really mean only some... I believe majority knows how to appreciate the corals... in its natural environment!

I've heard quite a lot of reasons (silly excuses rather...) why people poach the corals from Labrador... but this is really unbelievable:

You see there is a signboard outside that says that the rocky beach is a gazetted nature reserve...
(Source: WildSingapore website

A poacher actually said, "The sign say cannot take crab and shell, but never say coral."

Coral = marine creatures!!!

And how about, "It says rocky beach. I never take anything from the rocks."