28 September 2009

Wildfacts updates: saron shrimp, giant chiton and more plants

We have just finished another exhausting but exciting series of low tide trips, so more updates to the fact sheets!
With lots of first sightings shared by fellow field trippers. Kok Sheng found the Batik slug (Philinopsis sp.) at Tanah Merah, while Mei Ling shared the other photos of interesting critters including the Sally-light-foot crab (Grapsus albolineatus), pencil squid (Family Loliginidae) and black eeltail catfish juveniles (Plotosus canius) at various shores.

More photos by Mei Lin of first time sightings at Labrador of the broadnose halfbeak (Family Hemiramphidae), the Fringe-eyed flathead (Cymbacephalus nematophthalmus) and Kite butterflyfish (Parachaetodon ocellatus).
As usual, James provided the bulk of great photos of first sightings. From a small-mouth peacock anemone, the Red lined flatworm (Maritigrella virgulata) - I haven't seen one of these for years, tiny black spotted nudi (Gymnodoris sp.) and upside down jellyfish (Cassiopea sp.) - the first I've got down for outside of Pulau Semakau.
To fantastic shots of the Spotted-tail frogfish (Lophiocharon trisignatus), a black eeltail catfish (Plotosus lineatus) and the brown sweetlips (Plectorhinchus gibbosus).
And this gorgeous photo of a young damselfish (probably Pomacentrus tripunctatus).
As well as a tripodfish (Family Triacanthidae). I haven't seen one for many years!
It's amazing how I still have first sightings to add to the various locations, even though we have been making these trips at almost every suitable tide for years. It just goes to show how rich our shores are.

The sighting of this enormous chiton prompted me to do a factsheet about these animals. Chitons are molluscs! In a class of their own, literally (Class Polyplacophora - which means 'bearer of many plates' referring to the eight overlapping plates on their backs).
They sure are strange. I found out that a chiton can create a powerful suction to cling tenaciously onto a hard surface. According to Ruppert "A chiton forewarned is almost impossible to remove without damaging the animal". So we shouldn't try to pry off a chiton. Like most marine animals we see, we should just leave them alone.

For some unknown reason, I've been seeing the fat stumpy Saron shrimp (Family Hippolytidae) on almost every trip recently. I even saw a pair at St. John's. Seems to be a sign for a fact sheet!
And also these cute orange crabs at Sungei Buloh, possibly the Orange signaller crabs (Metaplax elegans).
I've also updated the plant fact sheets with some commonly seen plants. These include: Tembusu (Fagrea fragrans) - a truly fragrant tree when in bloom and often found near our shores; Sepuleh (Fagrea racemosa) - also called the 'False coffeeplant'; Maiden's jealousy (Tristellateia australasiae) - commonly grown in gardens, but I found out it's a back mangrove plant!; Misi or Sea gutta (Pouteria obovata) and the glorious Jarum-jarum (Ixora congesta) that was in full bloom this weekend at Chek Jawa.

Thanks to those who found the critters, and who took photos and shared about them! Also thanks to Ivan of the Lazy Lizard's Tales who continues to share many comments suggesting ID for perplexing critters.

See all the photos in full glory and read about the recent adventures on these blogs:
I'd gladly include your sightings in the wild fact sheets. Just email me, Ria at hello@wildsingapore.com.


  1. I also found chiton in a shore in Sabah. It stick so deep inside the rock that I thought it was fossil. Now I know what it is. Thanks for the info!

  2. Wow, Murphy that's cool! Yes, I too wondered what it might be. It did look like a fossil! Our marinelife is just amazing!



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