30 December 2010

December wild facts updates: hermit crabs!

Thanks to kind comments by liwaliw on wildsingapore flickr, some of our hermit crabs have been named!
Very hairy hermit crab (Dardanus lagopodes)
This very hairy hermit crab is probably Dardanus lagopodes.


This mostly black hermit crab is probably Clibanarius virescens.
Black hermit crab (Clibanarius virescens)
This black hermit crab speckled with spots is probably Clibanarius cruentatus.
Black hermit crab (Clibanarius cruentatus)
Sometimes seen near our reefs, this orange-red hermit crab with white spots is probably Dardanus megistos.
Spotted hermit crab (Dardanus megistos)
The Striped hermit crab is quite commonly encountered on our Northern shores especially. It is probably Clibanarius infraspinatus.
Striped hermit crab (Clibanarius infraspinatus) with slipper snails
Hermit crabs are awesome not just because they are cute. But they are a walking habitat! All kinds of animals can be found living on a shell occupied by a hermit crab. From slipper snails, tiny porcelain crabs, and sea anemones small to large!

We've been seeing this hermit crab with blue 'elbows' at several locations. I haven't identified it yet. It sure is pretty!
Unidentified hermit crab with blue elbows
This pretty little hermit crab with banded legs also remains unidentified.
Banded hermit crab
Marcus, who just returned from a trip to Christmas Island, looks at the challenges faced by our land hermit crabs. And also compares them to the world's largest hermit crab: the Coconut crab!

Finally got around to doing a fact sheet for the awesome Raffles' pitcher plant (Nepenthes rafflesiana). We often find this plant draped on the natural cliffs on our offshore islands.
Raffles pitcher plant (Nepenthes rafflesiana)

From our trips, we also added to sightings for various locations. There were many sightings, kindly shared by those who came on the trip. Here are some of my favourites:

Rene spotted special corals at Sisters Island! The rather rarely seen Brain anchor coral (Euphyllia ancora) and a coral that looks like bracket fungus.
Kok Sheng saw a pair of Chromodoris lineolata at Pulau Ubin. Our first sighting in the North, although these nudibranchs can be common in the South.
A first time for me, this strange slug on Tape seagrass at Sentosa, which is probably a Seagrass seahares (Phyllaplysia sp.). While those I've seen so far have stripes, this one has pink patches!
Andy saw vast meadows of the very rare Beccari's seagrass (Halophila beccarii) at Sungei Mandai Besar.
Kok Sheng also saw a patch of what might be Hairy spoon seagrass (Halophila decipiens) at Punggol.
And I was very excited to see a mature Bakau mata buaya (Bruguiera hainesii) at Kranji! This is a globally rare mangrove tree and Singapore has three of them. Now four! Hurray!
Not my first time, but still magical, an encounter with a wild Smooth otter (Lutrogale perspicillata) at Woodlands Park.
From our trips in December, coral bleaching seems to be easing. While the corals hard and soft at Sisters Island seemed fine, we saw much fewer living corals at Sentosa. The oil spill situation at Tanah Merah seems unchanged, with quiet shores although we had special finds such as a seahorse and some unidentified flatworms, and on one trip I saw three stonefishes.

While many are doing a retrospective of the year (like Mei Lin and James), I can hardly cope with a review of a month!! There's so much happening on and for our shores. And much much more to do in the year ahead.

Thanks to those who found the critters, and who took photos and video clips and shared about them. See all the photos in full glory and read about the recent adventures on these blogs
Those who went diving had a spectacular month too! Check out these blogs for more:
I'd gladly include your sightings in the wild fact sheets. Just email me, Ria at hello@wildsingapore.com

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