Archive for February, 2015

Mass Marine Mortality at Pasir Ris

For the past few years around this time of the year there have been occurrences of mass fish deaths on our northern shores. This year is no exception. Ria was here earlier as well, and has done a comprehensive blogpost about the situation. I’m just posting photos of cool dead things. I know I don’t sound sad but I am, kay 😦

So CNY is over, and the food guilt finally set in so I decided to try and run to work some of the sin off. As soon as I hit the path however, my nose was immediately assaulted by a foul stench. I had seen some of my friends posting about fish deaths on facebook, so I decided to go see for myself what the situation was like (totally not an excuse).

The first stop was a breakwater, and LO AND BEHOLD, I was greeted with a friggin mass grave.

This is

This is NOT what we asked for when we shouted “年年有鱼 (year year got fish)” during all those lou heis.

Because of how the water flows, a large number of fish carcasses were gathered at the breakwater, and it was quite a sight (and quite a smell too). Elsewhere on the shore, individual bodies were strewn along the strandline along the entire length of the beach, as far as I could tell.

So like, screw running right? THIS is important. Walked along the shore instead and took some photos, so here they are. As sad as it was to see all this, I can’t say it wasn’t interesting seeing a new fish every few metres.

There were many other fishes like rabbitfish and whatnot that aren’t shown here, but show up in significant numbers.

So what’s with all the dying? Clearly something fishy is going on?

For now we know that dissolved oxygen levels are high, so it can’t be due to low oxygen. Seems the deaths are a result of Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB).

Again, for better clarification of the situation, I’d like to direct you to Ria’s blog (Wild Shores of Singapore), where she does a great job of explaining what’s going on.

Given how this happens every year, hopefully something will be done soon to address this :/

UPDATE!
Sankar and I went down this morning to check out the site again. The mass grave was cleared, and there were cleaners on site to clear up the carcasses, but there were also new bodies. Notably, there were numerous HUGE pufferfish on the western side of Pasir Ris beach. Seriously, check it out.

UPDATE 2

Went down again with Sankar and Ingsind (and Nam and Sara) at night to take a look, and the high tide brought in a fresh batch of bodies. At least 7 puffers along the 100m stretch we walked. They also found a large reef stonefish, which I have not seen in the flesh before. Yikes.

Check out the whole album here:

https://www.facebook.com/balloonspider/media_set?set=a.10152890221393551&type=1

Valentine’s Day is for Roving

Sankar and I hung out with the NUS Rovers (not a engrish spelling of lovers) at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (SBWR) on Valentine’s day! Lot’s of cool things and giant spiders were seen (not that giant spiders aren’t cool), but here are a select few highlights from the walk.

RANDOM DOGE!

Wild dogs do sometimes wander into the reserve, and this is a concern as they may attack native wildlife. This dog, in comparison to the others, looks rather well-groomed though.

Wild dogs do sometimes wander into the reserve, and this is a concern as they may attack native wildlife. This dog, in comparison to the others, looks rather well-groomed though.

CROC ISLAND!

Is that a dead log on that mangrove island? I think not. (what a crock!)

Is that a dead log on that mangrove island? I think not. (what a crock!)

ANT MIMICS!

This "red ant" is actually a Myrmarachne jumping spider. This female makes a pretty convincing ant from afar, but males have gigantic jaws that make them more attractive to females, but also look less like ants. Survival/food, or sex? Can't have both hehe.

This “red ant” is actually a Myrmarachne jumping spider. This female makes a pretty convincing ant from afar, but males have gigantic jaws that make them more attractive to females, but also look less like ants. Survival/food, or sex? Can’t have both hehe. More on those spiders here

This "black ant" is actually a mantis nymph! Young mantids and leaf insects typically mimic a variety of ant species, which apparently serves to improve their survivability. They turn green/brown as they mature.

This “black ant” is actually a mantis nymph! Young mantids and leaf insects typically mimic a variety of ant species, which apparently serves to improve their survivability. They turn green/brown as they mature.

And last but not least… a PIZZA MIMIC!

The resemblance to a slice of cheese pizza is really uncanny - scientists are still investigating the possible benefits of pizza mimicry in spiders. Jokes aside, the red tent spider (Cyrtophora unicolor) is not often seen as it usually hides in a dead leaf suspended in the middle of its tent-shaped web. (Not pictured - the incredibly beautiful and neat web this species builds.)

The resemblance to a slice of cheese pizza is really uncanny – scientists are still investigating the possible benefits of pizza mimicry in spiders.
Jokes aside, the red tent spider (Cyrtophora unicolor) is not often seen as it usually hides in a dead leaf suspended in the middle of its tent-shaped web.
(Not pictured – the incredibly beautiful and neat web this species builds.)

This blog is almost dead, but I’ll try to cough things up now and then D: