Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Southern Islands

Description

Most of Singapore’s offshore islands are located in the southwest of the main island and are collectively known as the 'Southern Islands'. This name has also been used by some development agencies to refer to a cluster of islands consisting of Pulau Tekukor, St John’s Island, Lazarus Island, Kusu Island, Pulau Seringat, and Sisters Islands. The Southern Islands are used for varying purposes like, recreation, petroleum refining, and military training. Among the southern islands are numerous patch reefs that are revealed only at low tide.

Being a considerable distance away from the main island, many of the southern islands support good reefs, mangrove forests, and seagrass meadows. The intertidal habitats of these islands can be rocky, sandy or muddy. Some of these islands also support natural cliffs and coastal forests habitats. These islands are also surrounded by rich marine biodiversity.

Many coastal plants like the Otak Udang (Buchanania arborescens) and Sea Teak (Podocarpus polystachyus) are commonly found in the coastal habitats of our Southern Islands. The critically endangered Pelir Musang (Fagraea auriculata) can only be found in the coastal forests and rocky cliffs of the Southern Islands (Pulau Biola, Pulau Tekukor and Lazarus Island).

Among the diverse marine life of the Southern Islands is a new genus and species of intertidal sesarmid crab, Lithoselatium kusu. It is only known from Singapore thus far and has been found in several of the Islands, including Kusu Island from which this crab is named, and Sultan Shoal. The Basket Star (family Euryalidae) and Leather Sea Anemone (Heteractis crispa) have also been found in some of the Southern Islands. Dolphins and turtles have also been frequently spotted around the Southern Islands. The reefs also support good populations of reef bird specialists, including the Great-billed Heron (Ardea sumatrana), and the Pacific Reef Egret (Egretta sacra).


Getting there

There are public ferries to St. John’s Island and Kusu Island from Marina South Pier. A private boat have to be chartered to visit the other islands. Do take note however, that some of these islands require a permit to visit and some are off-limits to the public.

References

Chou, L. M., 2011. Coastal Ecosystems. Pp. 64-72. In: Ng, P. K. L., R. T. Corlett & H. T. W. Tan (editors), Singapore Biodiversity. An Encyclopedia of the Natural Environment and Sustainable Development, Editions Didier Millet, Singapore, 552 pp.

Chou, L. M., 2011. Southern Islands. Pp. 86-87. In: Ng, P. K. L., R. T. Corlett & H. T. W. Tan (editors), Singapore Biodiversity. An Encyclopedia of the Natural Environment and Sustainable Development, Editions Didier Millet, Singapore, 552 pp.

Ng, P. K. L., 2011. The Building of Semakau Landfill. Pp. 212-213. In: Ng, P. K. L., R. T. Corlett & H. T. W. Tan (editors), Singapore Biodiversity. An Encyclopedia of the Natural Environment and Sustainable Development, Editions Didier Millet, Singapore, 552 pp.

Ng, P. K. L. & R. T. Corlett, 2011. Biodiversity in Singapore: An Overview. Pp. 18-25. In: Ng, P. K. L., R. T. Corlett & H. T. W. Tan (editors), Singapore Biodiversity. An Encyclopedia of the Natural Environment and Sustainable Development, Editions Didier Millet, Singapore, 552 pp.

Tan, H. T. W., L. M. Chou, D. C. J. Yeo & P. K. L. Ng, 2010. The Natural Heritage of Singapore (Third Edition). Pearson Education South Asia Pte Ltd. 323 pp.

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