12 June 2011

Anemone hunt in the mangroves!

An impromptu visit to the mangroves with Dr Daphne Fautin, N. Sivasothi and Andy Dinesh to look for anemones this afternoon, during a not so low tide! We first drop by Mandai mangroves.
Dr Daphne knows where to find the hidden anemones in the mangroves!

Here's some of those tiny anemones with spots that Dr Daphne finds very intriguing. She hasn't seen any like this before. Could it be new to science?! More study is required!
Many of the neat round holes in the mangrove dead wood has pimply things in them. These turn out to be the bumpy backsides of curled up isopods! So cute!
We also explore a tiny portion of the vast mudflats of Mandai mangroves.
Dr Daphne comes across a driftnet which has trapped a still-living horseshoe crab. Oh dear. Fortunately, we are all geared up for this. Siva quickly snips the animal free.
He carefully removes the monofilament that is entangled on the animal's many legs. This is a lot easier than the time Siva rescued more than 300 horseshoe crabs trapped on Mandai!
Siva then takes the entire net and washes it to make it light enough to remove. Andy finally hauls it out of the mangroves. Thank you gentlemen!
It was great to get an insider's explanation of Mandai mangroves from Siva. He explains how the mangroves have changed over the many years that he has been working here. And some of the challenges these mangroves face. See Siva's page about Mandai mangroves for more information and links.
We then hopped over to the mudflats at Kranji Reservoir Park to have a look for the mangrove burrowers that Dr Daphne is interested in.
As I was looking for the anemones in the surprisingly clear water, I noticed several pairs of Mangrove horseshoe crabs. Horseshoe crab eggs have been seen at Mandai and the Mandai-Kranji-Buloh mangrovey coastline seems to be an important habitat for horseshoe crabs. Sadly, abandoned driftnets trap many of these harmless animals.
At the Park, there are lots of fishermen with their driftnets and other gear at the Park. Including kayaks. They are probably waiting for the tide to turn.
Hurray, I find the Mangrove anemone that Dr Daphne is looking for.
Andy finds lots of them too! We also find tiny anemones stuck on snails, and more anemones tucked into pieces of wood.
Dr Daphne mentioned finding a special mangrove anemone with branched tentacles during her earlier trip. And I recalled taking this photo in 2009! Wow, we must try to find this anemone again!
Mangrove anemones are poorly studied. So who knows what we might learn by looking more closely at our mangroves for awesome anemones!

I can't wait for Dr Daphne's Sea Anemone Workshop which starts 15-21 Jun. Ordinary people CAN join in as day participants to the workshop. Here's more information.

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