Sunday, April 29, 2007

Polychaete (Family: Polynoidae)

Prof. Peter Ng gave a good speech at an Earth Day event last weekend. He touched on nature conservation in Singapore. Two main points stuck in my mind: 1) There is much more to discover from Singapore’s natural habitats. 2) We have to conserve and protect because our natural heritage belongs to us and nobody else and is ours to keep.

His speech strengthened my conviction to partake in local nature-related work. We must fight for nature conservation because if we don’t, we’ll not only lose our heritage but also things that maybe new to science.

Small invertebrates are a case in point. Many of them have been largely ignored by science. Some of them are difficult to study, some are hard to find and most are largely disregarded because they lack the ‘cute’ factor. But in actual fact, many invertebrates are fascinating and cute.

When I spotted this little critter, I thought it is some kind of sea slug. On closer examination, it turns out to be a polychaete from the family Polynoidae. It hardly looks like a worm and even has a bug-like motion.

There are 64 polychaete species in Singapore waters with only two species from the Polynoidae family. This is based on the last major polychaete study by Prof. Chou in 1993 where he reported 29 first time records for Singapore. 14 years has passed and Wilson has found several more new records.

Singapore certainly has many more minute fauna waiting to be revealed.

Picture and video taken at: A southern offshore island, March 2007.


Tan, L. T. & L. M. Chou, 1993. ‘Checklist of polychaete species from Singapore waters (Annelida)’, The Raffles Bulletin of Zoology, vol. 41 (2), pp. 279-295.


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