29 June 2007

Seahorse, where are you?

Day: Thursday, 28 June 2007 - Night Dive
Crew: Myself, Angel, Allen, Andrew, Caryn, Boon Hui, Caroline, Reuben, John, Eng (Instructor), Bala and Jessie (Captain)
Dive Site: Princess Avenue
Viz: Good
Max Depth: 10m
Dive Time: 2hr (new record)

We're on a seahorse mission! It's all set. We're all gonna descend.. spread out.. and hunt for our yellow seahorse. The minute i got to the bottom, i looked around, directed the beam of my torch to my left.. to my right.. and i begin to wonder "how can we possibly locate the yellow seahorse?!"

A few minutes into the dive, i spotted a flounder/flatfish! It's the 1st time i've seen a flounder in Brunei.

Andrew suddenly nudged me. He gestured "Where's the seahorse?????" redface I dunnnooooooooo. Then a sotong came to my rescue! He squirted sotong ink at Andrew. That was so bloody cool. Haahaa. When Andrew stared at my hero with his not-so-cool face... my hero squirmed with fear.

.Pucat at the sight of Andrew.

.Like my new hair?.
.Meet Tom who's about a 1/4 the size of my palm.

From the first time i saw them, i've always wondered whether if decorator crabs are born the way they are or like hermit crabs find home in a shell that is so distatefully decorated.

Tuon once said, "How come the crab has got anemone on its head wan???" Haahaahaa

No, they're not born this way, nor do they find home in a shell. They are the fashion victims of the underwater world. The term decorator crab is loosely applied to a variety of true crabs which use various materials from their surroundings to disguise themselves. It's like shopping for a prom dress. Tom would shop around until he finds a suitable material, it could be anything like an algae, sponge, bryozoan or reef debris, instead of heading to a counter, Tom quickly spit at it with some gooey substance from his mouth that hardens in seawater, look around to make sure no one's watching, then hastily hook it on his back and legs. Whatta devil!

What on earth possessed him to do that?! Survival Instinct.

His costumes are more than just visual camouflage and food source, some such as sponges actually provide chemical defenses against fish and other predators, which find these organisms toxic or plain yucky. Who could ever fathom that Fashion can be someone's best defence!

Unlike a prom dress that'll go out of date, their costumes are alive, these organisms will grow and grow. Similarly, Tom will grow too, however not his shell. Therefore, Tom needs to molt as he grows.. shedding his old exoskeleton and forming a new, larger one. The old shell loosens as a new one forms beneath it. When the old shell splits, Tom is NAKED! Before its new shell hardens, Tom will absorb lots of water and expands to a size larger than before the molt. That's your juicy and fleshy crab. While the new shell is hardening, Tom needs to stay low before he gets caught for flashing, or more so to keep away from predators.

I am very proud of Tom and his kind. They promote recycling. They would remove their old and tattered living accessories during the molting process and reuse them to decorate their new shell. Considering the great lengths they go to decorate themselves, i reckon it's rather sad to call them ugly mathingies. Though i wouldnt exactly call them beautiful. Exotic, maybe...

Tom's nicking and picking behaviour is widely reported as a predator avoidance strategy, however to some... it is still a mystery.

Once you get to know these creatures, or corals, you will not again see it as just another crab, or just another seafan.

Marcel Proust quoted: The true voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes, but in seeing with new eyes".

Boon Hui and Angel bumped into the baby octopus that we saw last Sunday! and a coral cat shark that kept swimming towards Angel. There're so many things to see here. Definitely going back this Saturday..Caroline's housing suddenly flooded but thanks to Steven, our hero, her camera is working now. Mine has already reached Singapore for repair, thanks to *someone* and Fang Fang! And many thanks to my bummie Caryn for lending me her baby, also a G7!


On our way back to shore...

Reuben: "What would you do if you saw a saltwater crocodile down there?"

Caryn: "I'll freak out man!"

Lee: "I'll bend over like this and pretend to be a coral"



Related Posts with Thumbnails

My Adventures Underwater and On Land Copyright © 2009 Cookiez is Designed by Ipietoon