Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Anemones & co at Kusu

The anemone team were out at Kusu Island this early pre-dawn. Kusu is only about 15 minutes away from city area, yet is an amazing place to find much marine life.

Walking down the sandy shore, I spotted this sea anemone with white bars and dark parallel lines along the tentacles. A dug up by the team reveals the dark brown lines parallel to the column of lighter brown colour.

At both lagoons of Kusu, we can find Haddon's carpet anemones (Stichodactyla haddoni).

In a while, Dr Daphne pointed out her find of Stichodactyla gigantea. I was eager to take a closer look and as compared to Stichodactyla haddoni, it has longer and pointed tentacles that vibrate constantly. In fact I felt it look much more alike to Stichodactyla mertensii.

All I know is Stichodactyla gigantea is found more on sandy substrates and Stichodactyla mertensii tend to reside at hard substrates like the coral rubble and tend to be further out and deeper in the reef. Would like to know more about how to distinguish them, hope I can get help somewhere somehow.

Update: Aha! Thank you Ria for making me heard. She has given a detailed account from Dr Daphne at wildfilms blog.

Kusu has many different anemones and also definitely nemos or clown anemonefishes. We can see the bigger one is the female while the smaller one is the male.

Here's another shot of the nemo in another anemone from far...

and from near!

Anemones also host other organisms like this pretty anemone shrimp.

Heteractis magnifica sea anemone are very pretty and tend to come in purplish colour from what I've encountered at the other shores.

And believe me, there are many Heteractis magnifica sea anemones at Kusu! Here we have a whole bunch of them sticking onto the rocks or rubble.

At Kusu, we also encountered many of these Phymanthus sp anemones with tentacles of white ends. They are pretty common among higher rocks.

And more anemones! This is the Macrodactyla doreensis with very long tentacles evenly tapered to point, according to Dr Daphne's ebook of field guide to anemonefishes and their host anemones.

Dr Daphne also pointed to us something out from a huge carpet of zoathids. She showed us that some anemones do live among them. I took a similar photo away from her and I hope the brown ones are what she mentioned. Opps.

And this is what is NOT an anemone. Though named peacock anemones (Order Cerintharia). these Cerianthids are not exactly a true anemone.

The Kusu hunt involves and revolves hugely trying to find these Condylactis (not). Not as in these were once thought to be Condylactis sp. but Dr Daphne says its not. However, she needs a sample of it to go back to the lab and identify it.

To our dismay, though we encountered at least four, all attempts to nab this fellow failed. We were digging mud and sand all over and this guy is really quick and agile.

And here is the hardworking team at the edge of the reef.

Here are the other lifeforms found at Kusu!

There are many different types of beautiful corals.

And today I met Eunice! Yes, these "ugly" giant reef worms are called Eunice sp. They can grow up to 1.5m long.

Ria showed her special find of these two nudibranch which I don't know how to id. According to Chay Hoon, it looks like Platydoris scabra.

I found this nice large spotted black flatworm (Acanthozon sp.) where near the carpet of zoathids are. This one is really pretty in my opinion.

And Yuchen told me there's a beautiful yellow reef fish very near the edge and I managed to take a snapshot of it.

Kusu island is famous for being a turtle island with a legend behind it and also for the temple found in it.


Jeffrey said...

Kusu has always had a lot of Heteractis (magnifica), especially on the reef. It's been fondly dubbed "Anemone City" by a few of us who have had the chance to dive there. Not sure if other reefs have the same density of Heteractis ... would be interesting to find out, if anyone knows?

Cheers, Jeff

Unknown said...

I think Kusu has the most of these magnificent anemones :-)

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