17 11 2007

hello, this is sihui and i’m here with the research on MUDSKIPPERS


here’s a photo of a mudskipper we saw that day with the teachers

Mudskippers leap extremely quickly. We saw them at labrador that day when doing beach combing with the teachers, leaping around on floating pieces of driftwood, “stoning” for a few seconds, then leaping back into the water. They’re not the prettiest things, but they’re clever. And they look slick and slippery, judging from their “wet look”.


photo no. 2 of mudskipper seen that day!

Unlike hairy crabs and flower crabs, mudskippers do not refer to just one species but rather a number of species of fishes that are related to each other, in the subfamily Oxudercinae. They are generally known for their excellent amphibious abilities and they are mainly found in the Indo-Malayan region. They are rather common, I suppose, but they are difficult to spot as they have an unobtrusive brown colour that seems to camouflage them. you can’t really spot them until they move, quick little darting leaps that they take drawing attention to them.

Unbelievably, mudskippers are, as mentioned before, still FISH! However, they are not ordinary fish! They can “preserve” air bubbles in their gills to keep with them as they go on land, which is what allows them to survive on land for longer periods of time as compared to other completely aquatic fishes.

Some particular species even have cooler adaptations to allow them to last longer out of water. Some species (e.g. Periophthalmodon schlosseri which some laymen call the “giant mudskipper” ) slow down and accelerate their heartbeats when in water and out of water respectively. Also, some species of mudskipper even have the ability to reduce the rate of oxygen consumption rate in water, to the extent that even in hypoxic conditions (where oxygen levels are very, very, very, very low) they can still survive and only produce their lactic acid (a byproduct of anaerobic respiration aka respiration without oxygen to produce energy) after several hours.

And apparently, some species have such amazing abilities to last on land for so long, scientists are considering whether they can be analysed and compared to that to land animals, so that their amphibious nature can be developed in animals such as humans as well!

For more cool information on mudskippers, you can refer to! it’s rather profound though so it might need some time to digest.

*Did you know that NUS has a magazine publication called The Mudskipper? It’s editor is none other than Dr Sivasothi, the person who coined us with the name “Seagrass Angels”

[edit] hello people, sorry for the mistake, according to Dr Sivasothi, the editor of The Mudskipper changes annually! sorry! [/edit]


The Tedious Task of Report Writing

17 11 2007

This being our school project, sadly, we have to write a report covering our findings. Although of course, we still haven’t finished our project, we have started on our report. Then, sadly by next year April, our project will have officially come to an end ūüė¶ But this doesn’t mean that we’re through with Labrador Park! Hopefully, we will still be able to help monitor Labrador Park, and join Team seagrass in monitoring other places as well!

Ecopicnic @ Republic Poly

11 11 2007

Republic Poly is organizing an Ecopicnic and everyone’s invited to go! Details are as follows:

Date: 18 November 2007 (Sunday)

Time: 8am to 11am

Venue: Admiralty Park (next to Republic Polytechnic)


Flower crab!

10 11 2007

As jocelyne posted earlier, Mr Lim set us homework – to research on one of the creatures we saw that day we didn’t do monitoring. Mine was the flower crab. (Portunus pelagicus) [See, it even has alliteration, how nice!]

Anyway, the flower crab is also known by a variety of names, such as the blue swimmer crab, likely because the adult male crabs have blue markings on their shells and long pincers. Females, though, are dull green or brown. It’s known as the flower crab in East Asia, while in Australia, it goes by other names.

Flower crabs have a hard upper shell (carapace) which can be rough or covered with small grains. They also have pincers that elongate with conical teeth at the base of their “fingers”. Their legs are usually laterally flattened at varying degrees, with the last two segments of the last pair paddle like. Probably so they can paddle. haha.

Unlike the very docile and adorable hairy crab, the flower crab (or at least the one we saw) is vicious and not afraid to pinch people… It escapes really fast, too. Being highly aquatic, they cannot stay out of water for very long. It generally survives in a habitat with sandy mud or sand substrate.

The flower crab preys on small fish and other small animals, while people prey on it after steaming for their nice, delicious seafood dinners.

According to A Guide to Seashore Life in Singapore, because flower crabs are crustaceans, they frequently replace their shells after growing too big for the older ones. (just like how people change clothes when they grow fatter ;D ) These moults (shells without crabs) are then left on the shores. They are very easy to differentiate from real crabs as they are light, do not have flesh in the inner layers, and have transparent eyes. O_____O They also don’t stink.

The flower crab takes about one year to mature.

The flower crabs we see at Labrador are really tiny but fierce, though, so I doubt anyone would eat them. Perhaps they’re toxic too, like the hairy crab! That will teach people to steal crabs from labrador..¬† (cue evil laughter)

*will post a picture here, after we get it*

Photos uploaded

7 11 2007

Thanks to the constant reminder from the girls I managed to upload the pictures.

Again those 2 trips were excellent, perfect weather and excellent tides. We will be compiling our data very soon.

Meanwhile here’s the link to some of the pictures taken.


Hairy crab!

2 11 2007

Since we did not conduct monitoring on Saturday, Mr Lim set us some homework! Each of us had to go home and research on a particular creature we saw that day.

As the title suggests, I’m doing hairy crabs (Pilumnus vespertilio)! From what I’ve read in various websites, hairy crabs are common in Labrador Park and rather a favourite, as they’re really adorable and docile.

It has hairs covering its body, giving it a very furry look, much like a cuddly teddy bear! It will also sit nicely on your hand and not scuttle all around like other crabs, thus I always get very excited when i find one! xP

If you’ve read The Sunday Times on 28/10/07, you’ll see that in the Life section, there was a recipe on hairy crabs. It appears that the Shang Hai counterparts are considered a delicacy in many places, and it is best eaten steamed. I was rather put out at the fact that such a cute little creature would be eaten. And there was even a section teaching readers how to eat hairy crabs without getting very messy. The details were rather vivid, I could imagine the poor hairy crab being eaten very clearly ūüė¶

Nevertheless, from what I’ve read on habitat news, those in Labrador Park cannot be eaten because these crabs “may eat toxic zoanthids (colonial anemones) which can make this crab mildly poisonous.”

-still waiting for a picture…-

SUCCESSFUL monitoring session!

1 11 2007

Haha.. reading the title, you probably know what this post is about already. It’s about the monitoring session we had in replacement of the one we missed cause we forgot to bring our quadrats. Yes, such a crime we committed! Sorry for the inconvenience caused to our poor mentor and anyone else..

As the tide was too high when we arrived, we took the time to walk around and do some exploration.¬†For this particular monitoring session, we had a few special guests from school with us – the teachers! Our special guests were Mr Lim Er Yang, Ms¬†Chia Ming Huei and Ms Grace Lim. Mr Lim didn’t tell us why they were around, but we¬†suspect that they came along to recce the place for our school to see if it was suitable for students¬†to do¬†ICCS (International Coastal Cleanup Singapore) there, since 2/3 of the teachers are the ones in charge of such things. The teachers were very enthusiastic, taking many photographs and videos of the interesting sights, such as horseshoe crabs, and spotting many things too.

After wandering around for two hours or so while waiting for the tide to recede, we finally went back to our plot. It was growing and expanding nicely, and it looked much bigger than the last time we came. Because the tide was still going out and much of the seagrass patch was still submerged in water when we started, it was sometimes difficult to see clearly cause of the slightly clouded and murky water, and because of this, we also had to begin from the shallower end of the plot, nearer to the beach. Despite our unclear start, being highly efficient, we managed to finish 33 quadrats in around half an hour! xD

After that we took off some more time to explore. Exploring is so fun, you never know what you’ll find!(: ¬†Altogether we¬†saw many turban shells,¬†a flatworm, 2 horseshoe crabs(Limulus polyphemus), hairy crabs(Pilumnus¬†vespertilio)¬†(which we agree look like teddy bears), hermit crabs, a¬†teeny red¬†eyed reef crab (Eriphia smithi), a very long polycheate,¬†a flower crab (Portunus pelagicus) and a kingfisher. We learnt (from Mr Lim’s comments to the other teachers) that crabs escape predators by throwing their limbs away, and that the feet of the (whatever resides in a turban shell) is commonly used as cat’s eye jewellery, that snails generally crawl into crevices and wait out the low tide, and that the black stuff on the rocks was tar lichen.

We had such an informative lesson indeed. It was such a pity that it couldnt last longer cause our parents were waiting to pick us up ): ohwell, maybe we’ll see more stuff next time! (:

Many thanks to the teachers for coming along and looking around, hopefully the beach will be much cleaner after ICCS! And also, thank you very much Miss Siti, for spotting the spelling mistake in the previous entry! (:

Okay, got to go, byebye! (: