[Update-18 Dec: Scientific names of fish added in, thanks to Meryl!]
Today (15 Dec) I went out on a field trip with one of Siva’s Honours students, Meryl Theng, who is doing her project on otters! We went with Dr Tan Heok Hui, who works on fish taxonomy in the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research [/edit: who is Meryl’s other supervisor!].
So how are fish and otters related? Otters eat fish! And otters have been spotted previously at our latest collection of reservoirs, Serangoon reservoir. What was previously Sungei Serangoon has been dammed to form a freshwater body, just like most of our other natural rivers. I really wonder if this might lead to some unforeseen, unknown consequences in the future. But anyway, part of Meryl’s project involved catching fish and measuring their lengths, hence I went fishing!
It was really great fun 😀 We did cast-netting at several spots along the bank. Dr Tan, with all those years of experience, obviously netted the most number of fishes. After Meryl taught me how to use the cast net, I attempted, and only managed to net 4 small Mayan Cichlids (Cichlasoma uropthalmus), an invasive species! But considering it’s my first time using such a huge net, I think it wasn’t too bad 😛
We also retrieved one of two traps that Meryl had set previously. We couldn’t find the other trap though, it probably got stolen by some member of the public as it was next to the road People really shouldn’t take what is not theirs. But from what the guy from PUB who was driving the boat told us, seems like there is quite a number of foreign workers who fish there illegally.
Most of the fish we caught were invasive species. Apart from the Mayan Cichlids, there were lots of Tilapias (Oreochromis spp), some Gobies (Glossogobius aureus),some Green Chromides (Etroplus suratensis), an Archerfish (Toxotes jaculator), a Catfish (Arius sagor), a Peacock Bass (Cichla spp.) as well as a number of Glass fish (Parambassis spp.). All of them are invasive, save the Catfish, Gobies and Archerfish (I think, correct me if I’m wrong please!), meaning that they were not originally found in the wild in Singapore, but were introduced in some way or other. And I’m not exactly sure of the exact species of fish we caught, I’m terrible with fish ID
All in all, it was a really good experience and I had a lot of fun. And managed to escape relatively dry, for their evil ploy to throw me overboard was forgotten 😀
/edit: How could I forgot to add last night? Thanks to the PUB guy who drove us around on the boat, and especially to Meryl and Dr Tan for the opportunity to go fishing! 😀