17 July 2012

Wildfacts updates: cool critter maps and more!

Wow, it's possible to map flickr photos so I can display the distribution of our marine life easily! Check out the display for Starry flatworms (Pseudobiceros stellae)!
This is just a screen shot, sorry. Live map here.
Also, finally, factsheets on some vertebrates, anemones, sponges and other creatures. It's amazing how I keep coming across new animals even though I've been exploring the shores for more than a decade!

I started fiddling with the idea of a map because my service provider told me the wildsingapore website is now 2GB! It's getting expensive to maintain, and takes a while to upload from backup if the server goes down. I thought of slimming down the website by removing photos and replacing them with a slideshow of my photos on flickr.

Then I stumbled upon iMapFlickr which generates these awesome maps! Of course, this means I need to geotag my flickr photos properly. And it will take a long long time to update the fact sheets.

But what do you think? Do you like the new look for the fact sheets? I've done an example for the Starry flatworms (Pseudobiceros stellae).

Well, on to the updates for the wild fact sheets...

I couldn't resist setting up a sheet for the weird 'Armoured' sea cucumbers that I saw at Changi. Although I have no idea what they are exactly...yet.
Unidentified 'armoured' sea cucumber
I've been coming across these strange flatworms that seem to eat the Beige ascidians that coat hard surfaces on our Northern shores. I still don't know the identity of both predator and prey.
Tanah Merah after the oil spill: Beige ascidian flatworm
With the help of James, Jose and others on the shore explorer team, I've been coming across several 'Neon' anemones which sometimes have bright flourescent splotches on their body column. Another mysterious beast!
Unidentified "Neon" sea anemone
We've also been coming across these pretty anemones with polka dots on the body column. Also still to be identified.
Polka dot sea anemone
While we have been coming across these tiny anemones stuck on seagrasses. Another one to puzzle out!
Unidentified sea anemone on seagrasses
Dr Daphne also found tiny sea anemone with spots in the mangroves. She's working on figuring out what they are exactly.
Mei Lin says these jelly-like ascidians remind her of attap-chee!
Unidentified ascidian
I've started pages for these colourful sponges with chimneys (Petrosia sp.) and another that is buried with large hole so it looks like a potato (Beimna sp.).
As we hunt for chitons (a kind of mollusc) we often come across scale worms that look very similar. Time to set up a page for them too.
Scale worm (Family Polynoidae)
I think the curious moon snail I saw at Cyrene is the Elephant's Foot moon snail (Polinices peselphanti). It looks so similar to the commonly-seen white moon snails. I must have overlooked them as they are only obvious when we look at the underside and spot the deep U-shaped depression there. [Update: On second thoughts, I now think it's just a white version of the Eggwhite moon snail (Polinices albumen). Oops.]
More commonly seen by divers in our waters, we have recently been seeing this stripey sap-sucking Thuridilla slug (Thuridilla sp.)
Thuridilla sp.

Recent sightings at the amazing Pasir Ris mangroves spurred factsheets on the Crab-eating water snake (Fordonia leucobalia) and Crab-eating frog (Fejervarya crancrivora). There sure are lots of crabs at Pasir Ris for these creatures to feast on!

As usual, I'm way behind on the fact sheets. During our recent field trips, there have been lots of other interesting sightings. Some are first entries to the wild fact sheets for the location. Others are interesting behaviours observed for the first time. There are also lots of interesting video clips! These photos and video clips have been updated on the wild fact sheets. Thanks to all the team members who shared their findings online. Visit their sites for more stories and photos!

Those who went diving in Singapore waters had spectacular sightings 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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