Monday, March 26, 2007

File Shell

This File Shell (Lima lima) was uncovered when we were looking for worms under some rocks at Tanjung Rimau. Its appearance took us by surprise. We were both fascinated by the bright red tentacles and its shell valves clapping locomotion.

File Shells use an adductor muscle to clap their valves in order to achieve their free-swimming ability. The red tentacles are sticky and as a mean of defence, they’ll break off when attached to predators. This will thus allow the shells to make a quick getaway.

Our intertidal shores are full of captivating fauna from a myriad of forms and colours. The species diversity is mind-boggling.

Do go out there and explore all the nooks and crannies!!

Pictures taken at: Tanjung Rimau, February 2007.


Tan, K. S. & L. M. Chou, 2000. A Guide to Common Seashells of Singapore, Singapore Science Centre, Singapore.

Tan, L. W. H. & K. L. Ng, 1988. A Guide to Seashore Life, Singapore Science Centre, Singapore.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Nannophya pygmaea

I remember a rather horrifying encounter with a dragonfly when I was very young.

I was a five year old kid visiting my grandma’s in a kampong in Malaysia. We were sitting at the dinning table when my uncle approached me with a gift. As he opened his fist, a huge back dragonfly suddenly flew into my face. It gave me a fright!! To make matters worse, he was holding a string tied to its abdomen and so the flying ‘monster’ was zipping all over me and the dining table. In an instant there was complete chaos as the dragonfly crashed into everyone and right into the dishes scattering all the food. It finally demised in a bowl of hot soup and my uncle got an earful from my relatives.

Now I’ve re-acquainted with the dragonflies and developed an immense liking for their beauty.

Dragonflies come in all colours imaginable. Their zipping and hovering flight are a delight to watch. They play an important role as indicators of environmental disturbances and many consider them a indicator species in streams and marshy habitats.



Nannophya pygmaea is one of the smallest dragonfly in the world. The adult male is bright red and will defend a small territory of only about one metre square. An interesting study on its territorial mating behaviour revealed that variations in male mating success is correlated more to the number of sunny days and less on male size.

Singapore’s plan to transform its concrete canals into landscaped channels has brought odonates into the forefront among local naturalists. There is now an initiative to study and update the status of Odonata in urbanised S’pore.

For me, this old song from 小虎队 best sums up the dragonflies.


Pictures taken at: Western part of Singapore, February 2007.


Orr, A. G., 2003. A Guide to the Dragonflies of Borneo. Their Identification and Biology, Natural History Publications (Borneo) Sdn. Bhd, Malaysia.

Orr, A. G., 2005. Dragonflies of Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore, Natural History Publications (Borneo) Sdn. Bhd, Malaysia.

Tsubaki, A. & T. Ono, 1987. ‘Effects of age and body size on the male territorial system of the dragonfly, Nannophya pygmaea rambur (Odonata: Libellulidae)’, Animal Behaviour, vol. 35 (2), pp. 518-525.