Pulau Hantu - A celebration of marine life

Secret lives and secret worlds hidden in Singapore's most popular coral reef.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Blog Log Nov 12, 2006: Frogfish & Harlequin sweetlips!

We had a bounty of critters surface during our dive at Hantu this weekend! Lots of adorable baby fish such as goatfish, 8-banded buttefly fish, and heaps of damsels! Our volunteer guide Gina Tan also spotted a tiny cuttlefish on the reef. Though it had rained on the mainland over Sunday, the weather out at the islands was fantastic - nice warm sun and comfortable waters. The crew was a little nervous at first because of the heavy and continuous monsoon rains we've been having before the weekend, that increases runoff and can influence the quality of our waters. But here's proof that visibility should never be a deterrance when visiting Hantu!

Juvenile harlequin sweetlips can be tricky to photograph. The video should show you why - they never keep still!
A large ascidian: I found out over the week that ascidians, echinoderms (i.e. sea cucumbers, urchins) shared the same ancestors as humans just 500 millions years ago!
Crinoids at Hantu tend to hide inside rock crevices. But with the currents that swept the reefs picking up during our dive, this large individual has creapt out for easy pickings!
The white patch close to the tip of this Mushroom coral is actually a custer of tiny ascidians. Mushroom corals are the largest single-polyp corals on the reefs and are freeliving, which means they have move themselves about on the reef albeit with much patience..
The prize find for this trip was this small, yellow-orange Frogfish we found hinding quietly in the sargassum seaweed. These fish are extremely rare on the reef and have only shown themselves to a few lucky people! With fins that resemble feet, these fish prop themselves against the coral substrate and attract prey to themselves by waving the lures perched on top of their noses. Can you spot the critter?
Egretta alba nudibranch
Flabellina nudibranch
This pipefish is one of 4 piepfish you can expect to encounter on dives at Hantu. This species is relatively common, and upon closer inspection, you will realise that this particular individual seems to have a significant bulge along its midsection. Could it be a gravid female? Or male???
Good vis allows us to appreciate Hantu's colourful coral scape
Icon Seastar
The ever entertaining False clown anemonefish