Pulau Hantu - A celebration of marine life

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

Friday, October 29, 2004

Pistol shrimp

You are more likely to hear the clicks and snaps of the Pistol or Snapping shrimp then see them. They are common animals but are usually hidden in burrows, under rocks and even carpet anemones!

Pistol shrimp have one greatly enlarged pincer. In some, it be as long as the entire body!

This enlarged pincer has one moveable 'finger' held apart with a catch. When the catch is released, and explosive sound results. This blast of sound energy is used to stun prey, crack shells, ward off predators and intimidate rival shrimp.

This individual was observed during a low tide, gleefully swimming out of the Hantu Kecil lagoon with its pincers held forth like Superman in flight! It looked as if it was having a peaceful time of solitude amidst the expansive ocean.

Extracted from the Chek Jawa Guidebook

Friday, October 22, 2004

New Raffles Museum exhibit

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Bits of debris? They're Side gills!

Side-gilled slugs are close relatives of nudibranches but have only one set of gills on their right side. This one was found (after passing what must've been hundreds of them, overlooking them as black bits of debris) on the sandy bottom of the channel between the large and little patch reef along on Hantu West.

These side-gills are tiny little things, with the largest about the size of the nail on your pinky. They move really fast however and are good fun to observe!

Reference: Living Reefs of the Indo-Pacific: A Photographic Guide

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

News from CoP13 - Great WhIte to be protected

'Vilified in popular culture as a relentless man-eater, the great white shark finally received today global recognition as a persecuted species worthy of protection. Participants of the 13th meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna (CITES) adopted a proposal to improve management and monitoring of trade in jaws, teeth and fins from the world's largest predatory fish.

Led by the governments of Madagascar and Australia, the proposal to list the great white shark on Appendix II was approved by 87 voting in favor of listing, 34 opposed, and 9 abstentions. Proposals require two-thirds of those voting for approval.

"I'm thankful that the international community recognizes this species for what it really is - a perfectly adapted oceanic predator and a key player in many of the world's marine ecosystems," said Dr. Ramón Bonfil, a specialist on great white shark ecology and a conservation fisheries scientist for the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and member of the World Conservation Union's (IUCN) Shark Specialist Group. A strong proponent of this CITES initiative, he noted: "In spite of its reputed ferocity, this species is ironically a victim of what is undoubtedly the planet's most deadly species - humans. This listing will help us manage the trade that currently threatens the great white shark by requiring data that harvests are not a detriment to the species."' See WCS for the complete report.

See also Reuters and AFP reports.

Earth Negotiations Bulletin provides daily updates from CoP13; see all the highlights from Tue 12 Oct 2004, e.g. The Humphead wrasse (Cheilinus undulates) was listed in Appendix II (Prop.33).

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

From the 13th CITES CoP: Irrawady dolphin

Irrawady dolphin. Photo credit: WWF Indochina

Thailand introduced its proposal to transfer Orcaella brevirostris from Appendix II to Appendix I. Noting that destruction of the species' habitat poses a greater threat than its international trade, Japan, Norway and Gabon, opposed by Myanmar, the EU, Australia and Canada, rejected the proposal. Following a secret vote, the proposal was accepted by 73in favour, 30 against and 8 abstentions.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Nurse shark

Letters from a local diver...


I'm one of the forumer from Fins, followed the link and saw your unique pictures of Singapore waters. I have been diving in Singapore regularly and working as part-time commercial diver in Singapore waters as well. Here's one of the pictures I took at Pulau Salu (an island near P. Sudong) on 17th Jan 2004, which I suspect to be Nurse shark (2 of them).

Edwin Yeo (Fins nick "Sky")

Thanks so much for your contribution Edwin! We love receiving cool pix of our local waters! Keep on sharing your great experiences!

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

From the 13th CITES CoP: Trade in stony corals

This morning, the Conference of the Parties to the Convention urged interested Parties and other bodies from range and consumer States to collaborate and provide support, to produce practical guides to recognizing corals and coral rock in trade and to make these widely available to Parties through appropriate media. In addition, Parties were urged to seek synergy with other multilateral environmental agreements and initiatives to work for the conservation and sustainable use of coral reef ecosystems.

This was established through the awareness that stony corals (in the orders Scleractinia, Stolonifera, Coenothecalia, Milleporina and Stylasterina)are in international trade as intact specimens for aquaria and as curios. This recognises coral rock, fragments, sand and other coral products as well.

Read resolution Conf. 11.10 (Rev. CoP12)

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

From the 13th CITES CoP: EU Supports Thailand's Proposal on Irrawady Dolphin

The European Union expressed today, its support for Thailand's proposal to give greater protection to the Irrawady dolphin, so that international trade together with other factors will not have a detrimental implact on the species.

Thailand has proposed that the Irrawady dolphin move from Appendix II to Appendix I, so that no trade can be conducted unless it is for study, research or breeding. Apart from Thailand, the Irrawady dolphin is usually found in shallow waters in Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, India, Laos, Malaysia, and Myanmar.

Irrawady dolphin. Photo credit: WWF Indochina

The number of this species is on the decline and reproduction in nature faces limitations.

Spokesman of Thailand's House Committee on Natural Resources and Environment Siri Wangboonkerd said that Thailand's proposal on the Irrawady dolphin is rational. He wants the country to play an increasingly vital role to conserve the Irrawady dolphin to free it from uncontrolled trade.

Mr Siri also revealed that the Irrawady dolphin has reportedly been a sought-after animal by water gardens worldwide. - CITES CoP13

Monday, October 04, 2004

From the 13th CITES CoP: Proposal to include Humphead wrasse on Appendix II

The humphead wrasse is found in healthy coral reefs throughout the Indo-Pacific region. It can live at least 30 years, grow up to two meters in length and weigh 190kg. Its numbers seem to be declining throughout its range. The species is particularly threatened by over-fishing for the live reef food fish trade, which services the luxury restaurant markets in Hong Kong, China, Singapore and other countries. At the same time, its coral habitat is threatened by destructive fishing techniques, overfishing, dredging, mining, sewage, sedimentation from deforestation and agriculture, and climate change. Fiji, the European Community and the United States therefore propose including the humphead wrasse on Appendix II. A similar United States proposal was rejected in 2002.