Aug 11, 2007

Kranji: the hunt continues

A rather lean and mean team were back on the shores for the low tide. This time at Kranji with Dr Daphne's outstanding 'nem list at hand. I was determined to find those mangrove anemones for her.

Almost as soon as we got to the shore, we found them! The entire shore was literally covered with them! But they were a lot smaller than I last remembered. Or perhaps, the last time, I only saw the big ones? After going out with Dr Daphne, we've all learnt how to look for blobs properly.
These anemones are really pretty, with wide white stripes down the body, and strange flower-like structures around the mouth. They also have short tentacles on the outside. Hmmm. Hopefully, Dr Daphne can figure out what they are.YC notices that seems to be two kinds of them. One with black and white tentacles and other all plain.

YC has super sharp eyes and spots an anemone with a tiny crustacean (copepod?) in it! See the tiny shrimp-like thing at 12 o'clock?The area was just crawling with these little crusties (I only saw them clearly when I enlarged the photo when I got home...I'm getting old and eyesight is failing.)

YC also found 'patches' of other kinds of anemones.These turned out to be tiny anemones on hermit crabs! Wow!Each tiny hermit crab had at least two anemones, some had three! The anemones altogether were much larger than the hermit's shell, not to mention the hermit crab itself. Amazing.

The shore was crawling with worms of all kinds.Some bristleworms were even swimming around. While the very long, unsegmented and aptly named ribbon worms slithered through the soft mud.

YC grumbles that he's probably added to his internal parasite count by sloshing around in brackish water; and will no doubt contract some dreaded flesh eating bacteria on top of it. YC is not a field companion for the squeamish.

But he's one of the best hunter-seekers, and certainly the most kame-kazi in blob hunts.

As we searched for blobs, YC was startled by loud splashing nearby that suggested something very large was moving about, scaring the fishies. "Are there crocodiles here?" he asked. Well, they have been sighted at nearby Sungei Buloh. So he wisely made a quick retreat to shallower waters.

Alas, we also came across a freshly laid drift net that stretched across the sandy flat.It had already caught one victim, that probably died as the water went out with the tide.

YC saw a trapped horseshoe crab, and soon released it.The silty sandflat was full of mating horseshoe crabs. It's a pity these harmless animals are trapped just as they are in the process of producing the next generation. And the fisherman probably doesn't even want to collect these animals.

Driftnets generally result in a high percentage of collateral damage. More than half and sometimes more, of the animals trapped are simply thrown away, dead or severely injured. The net is more important than the health of these incidental victims, who are likely to be simply ripped out or taken apart when they are removed.

On the way out, I startled this fat frog! It was right at the edge of the mangrove. It must be a tough frog to survive there. And it looked well fed. I wonder what kind of frog it is? (I'm hopeless at things with a backbone).

Tomorrow, we work some more on that list.


Hai~Ren said...

Frog is a banded bullfrog Kaloula pulchra. I'm surprised to find one so near to the coast; I thought only the common Asian toad and crab-eating frog could tolerate brackish water.

- Ivan

ria said...

Thanks Ivan for the ID!

Yah, I'm also quite surprised to see this frog.

It was right at the high water mark. Perhaps it just fell off the ledge where the grass and park plants ends?