Photograph by Toh Chay Hoon

New record of auger shell, Triplostephanus triseriatus, in Singapore

Location, date and time: Singapore Strait, off Pulau Hantu; 26 July 2015; around 1000 hrs.

Observation: An empty shell measuring 57.4 mm in shell length was found on the seabed during a dive. The shell was collected and deposited as a voucher specimen in the Zoological Reference Collection (ZRC) of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, at the National University of Singapore.

Remarks: The shell is slightly damaged; missing the apical whorls and nearly a quarter of the last part of the body whorl. This find represents the first published record of Triplostephanus triseriatus in Singapore waters. The species can be found throughout much of the tropical Indo-Pacific (Bratcher & Cernohorsky, 1987; Terryn, 2007).

Members of the family Terebridae appear to be seldom encountered and rarely
reported in Singapore. Thus far justover half a dozen species have been recorded (e.g., Tan & Woo, 2010 and references therein cited; unpublished
data). Further sampling and studies are therefore needed to provide a more accurate account of the species diversity of this family in Singapore waters.

References:

  • Bratcher, T. & W. O. Cernohorsky, 1987. Living Terebras of the World: A Monograph of the Recent Terebridae of the world. American Malacologists, Melbourne. 240 pp.
  • Tan S. K. & H. P. M. Woo, 2010. A Preliminary Checklist of the Molluscs of Singapore. Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, National University of Singapore. 78 pp.
  • Terryn, Y., 2007. A Collectors Guide to Recent Terebridae (Mollusca: Neogastropoda). ConchBooks/Natural Art, Hackenheim. 57 pp. + 65 pls.

Source: Singapore Biodiversity Records 2015: 126

Photograph by Toh Chay Hoon

White Nut Sheath Bubble Shell (Atys naucum) at Pulau Hantu

Location, date and time: Singapore Strait, off Pulau Hantu; 8 February 2015; around 1630 hrs.

Observation: An example of about 25 mm shell length was found during a dive. The empty shell shows signs of weathering and the animal is believed to have died some time ago.

Remarks: Atys naucum has been recorded from Singapore as early as the late 1800s (Pilsbry, 1893). However it appears to be rare with few mentions in local literature or sightings by beachcombers. There
appears to have been no confirmed records of this species since Chuang
(1973) mentioned that the species occurs on reef sand, presumably of
the southern shores and the islands offshore, and additionally recorded
two old dead buried shells at Telok Paku (Changi). The continued
presence of the species in Singapore waters is confirmed by the featured
example.

References:

  • Chuang S. H., 1973. Sea shells. In: Chuang S. H. (ed.), Animal Life and Nature in Singapore. Singapore University Press, Singapore. pp. 175–201.
  • Pilsbry, H. A., 1893. Polyplacophora (Chitons), Acanthochitidae, Cryptoplacidae and appendix. Tectibranchiata. In: Tryon, G.
    W., Manual of Conchology, Structural and Systematic, with Illustrations of the Species. Volume 15. Philadelphia: Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia. 436 pp + 61 pls.

Source: Singapore Biodiversity Records 2015: 91

Photo by Nicholas Yap

Wild dolphins! Sea turtles! In Singapore waters!
By Ria Tan, 16th September 2014

Sadly, on 13 Sep, Nicholas Yap and his students who were on a field trip at Pulau Hantu spotted the carcass of a dead sea turtle. The Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum is said to be working on retrieving it.

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Source: Wild Shores of Singapore

Based on this identification key, the shape of the head, colour of the carapace, and the lack of overlapping carapace scutes suggest that this might be a Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas), instead of the Hawksbill Turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) more commonly encountered in our waters.

Photograph by Toh Chay Hoon

Marbled Cone Snail (Conus marmoreus) at Pulau Hantu

Location, date and time: Singapore Straits, patch reef off western Pulau Hantu; 30 August 2014; 1115 hrs.

Observation: An empty shell of about 8cm shell length was found half-buried in the substrate. The contributor had exposed the shell to obtain the accompanying picture.

Remarks: The featured example appears to have died recently as the colour pattern on the shell is relatively distinct, and the surfaces, except for the rear end, were not eroded. This appears to be the second published record of the genus Conus, and the first confirmed record of Conus marmoreus, in Singapore since the 1960s (see Toh et al., 2014; Lim, 1969). This species has been depicted on a series of Singapore postage stamps on marine life that was issued in 1977.

References:

  • Lim C. F., 1969. Further new records and the distribution of Conus Linnaeus in Singapore and the Malay Peninsula. Journal of the Singapore National Academy of Science. 1 (2):45–50.
  • Toh C. H., S. K. Tan & M. E. Y. Low, 2014. Cone snail Conus recluzianus at Lazarus Island. Singapore Biodiversity Records. 2014: 135-136.

Source: Singapore Biodiversity Records 2014: 256

A member of the public very kindly sent me this photo of a dead Blacktip Reef Shark (Carcharhinus melanopterus). He found 4 dead ones about 30 metres apart in the lagoon at Pulau Hantu. They are juveniles as they were shorter than an adult person’s arm. Given their proximity to each other and the unlikely scenario that they were stranded when the tide receded, I suspect they were caught in drift nets laid by fisherman. This has been a constant problem in Singapore as fisherman tend to lay their nets indiscriminately in the lagoon areas of our Southern Islands. Pulau Semakau is also a favourite of fishermen and due to the indiscriminate nature of drift nets, many marine life which are of no interest to the fishermen also get caught, such as sharks, turtles, horseshoe crabs (F. Limulidae), reef fish, Blue-spotted Fantail Rays (Taeniura lymma) and so on.

Source: Singapore Reef Watch Facebook, via Rick Tan