Monday, July 25, 2005

Frogfish on Labrador!

Wandered right to the end of the beach today, near the mouth of the monsoon drain. There are many seaweeds and a whole patch of Halophila growing there. Near the big mattress-like bags, a nice surprise awaited.

Frogfish! (Lophiocharon trisignatus) It was doing a good impression of a rock, fuzzy greenish-brown outline enabling it to blend in perfectly into its surroundings.

The spot-tailed frogfish is distinguished by the dark-margined translucent spots on its tail.

In addition, frogfishes also have...

a lure on the top of their heads attached to a fishing rod-like structure which they use to attract prey with. Lures of different species of frogfish resemble different types of food animals like worms or small shrimps.

They also have modified pectoral and anal fins which they use to "walk" on the ground.

Thanks Ria, for the photos. Was too busy trying to film the fish at the time. ;)

Sunday, July 24, 2005

People on Labrador

When there is a spring low, many groups of people can usually be found walking around on the intertidal. Wildfilms and wildlife photography enthusiasts can sometimes be found with their tons of equipment aimed determinedly at some unfortunate creature of interest.

From left: Hanpeng, Tom and Dr Chua EK.

We also saw Prof Leo Tan, who wrote the BP Seashore guidebook and co-wrote Rhythm of the Sea, THE book about Labrador's Beach. A very inspiring man, he's a fount of knowledge about the things that can be found on the intertidal (and many other things, I'll bet). I found him to be a really approachable person who liked to share interesting stories and facts about the things on the shore. I also found out later that he's the man who saved Labrador's fabulous rocky shore years back when they were planning to reclaim it.

Also on the beach were a group of SAJC students on a biology field trip. Prof Leo was happy to see them, as he'd just told me earlier that it would be good to get as many nature enthusiasts and volunteers as possible to visit the beach regularly. I guess a sense of ownership is the best way to ensure that the wealth of amazing creatures on this small strip of rocky beach is continued to be protected.

Everyone looks at something interesting that has just been found.

And it is indeed interesting! Shrimps are wonderful, colourful creatures to look at, and this is the very first time I've seen the commensal shrimp, Periclimenes brevicarpalis, on the carpet anemones at Labrador. They usually occur in pairs. This is the larger of the two, probably the female.

Other interesting things spotted were...


the striped eel-tailed catfish Plotosus lineatus which has been spotted regularly at labrador over the last few months. They seem to be growing happily, and are now about 12cm long.

The seahorses from the last visit were still hanging around the same patch of Montipora.

Many thanks to Ria Tan of Wildsingapore for sharing all the photos! :)