03 December 2010

Gobies of Singapore - a fabulous poster!

I was thrilled to see the beautiful poster done by Dr Zeehan Jaafar for the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research Open House.
The poster introduces these delightful fishes in a fun and easy way, especially suitable for the many kids that visited during the Open House.

Featuring awesome photos by Dr Tan Heok Hui and Jimmy Goh, Zee very kindly included some of my rather feeble (and badly labelled) photos in the poster.

The section on how gobies fit in with other creatures taught me quite a bit. There's a beautiful photo by Jimmy Goh of a yellow shrimp goby living with a snapping shrimp.
First of all, I learnt that the odd black wormy like thing that is stuck on the goby is a MARINE LEECH...eew! And the second thing I learnt is that the goby is NOT a Shadow goby but is Acentrogobius caninus. Oops. And the third thing I am reminded of is to shoot first and definitely ask question later. There's so many strange things we come across when we look closely at our shores.
Shadow goby (Acentrogobius nebulosus)
I also found out that the goby being chomped on in the photo is Favonigobius melanobranchus. And gobies as a group are important food for larger fishes.
Flathead eating a goby!
Like most animals, gobies also work hard to get the right mate. Some gobies show off to females their big mouth (reminds us of some human males?).And some goby females are impressed by this (reminds us of some human females?). Heok took the awesome photos of the nearly transparent gobies that do this.
Male gobies also dance to attract females, and of course, males fight among themselves too. I'm so glad Zee included the 'dancing' mudskippers that stand on their tails, albeit for a very brief moment. They are my favourite of all fishes. I was totally astonished when I first observed this on Chek Jawa. You can easily see this behaviour from the boardwalk.
Bearded mudskipper (Scartelaos histophorus)
Of course, gobies are just plain fun. And Zee has included some of their endearing habits. I just love Heok's photo of the mudskipper with its dorsal fin flared upright like a colourful flag. And this mudskipper is usually found on very VERY SOFT mud, so the photo must have been a challenge to take. Wow!
Did you know some gobies were discovered IN Singapore?! Wow! And aren't they beautiful and colourful?! And not all were discovered a long long time ago. The stripey one was discovered in 2001 from Sungei Pandan!!
So our shores ARE precious and there's lots to discover still!

See this poster and lots of other fascinating exhibits and enjoy all kinds of other interesting activities at the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research Open House. Tomorrow (Saturday) is the last day! More information on the RMBR website.

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