Sunday, August 12, 2007

Predawn at Little Sisters

School semester is starting very very soon. And the last series of low morning spring tides is also ending soon. Early in the morning at 0300, like-minded shore lovers gathered at Marina South Pier and I managed to get there together with Evelyn and Aaron through the kind ride from Pei Hao.


And this was where we headed to... Sisters. Little sisters! Not the usual Big sisters which the gang usually visits. Though it is a smaller place, it deserves a good check too right.


Chay Hoon found this small fish on the high shores which is Harry Hotlips (Plectorhinchus gibbosus). We were a little early and the outgoing tide was still flushing out.


Another fishy business which caught most of our attention must be this black frogfish. They employ their first dorsal spine as a fishing lure to attract prey. Can you see the bait on the fish? Isn't this guy interesting?

And do you know that frogfish has the fastest movement of all animal? It can open it’s mouth in a whooping 1/6000 sec, creating an almost vaccum sucking in water and prey.


Today at little sisters we saw many many fishes and gobies... And these two are the little bit more fanciful ones that I bothered to take out a camera to take a snapshot.


Now over to the crabby business. Ria found this ghost crab high up the shore. Why are they called ghost crabs? Is it because they look as pale as the white apparitions?

Nah... It is because they have this great ability to disappear from sight almost instantly like a ghost. It can move at a high speed up to sixteen km per hour and these guys, like ghosts, usually appear at night only.

Are you convinced it's like a GHOST?


More friendly to the sight our "beachfleas" like us will be these swimming crabs found aplenty at little sisters. I like the blue-green coloration on the shells. These swimming crabs have paddle-like legs which can help them to swim quickly.


This huge charismatic red egg crab possess bright warning coloration and is slow in motion. All these is because it is poisonous and you cannot kill their toxin even after cooking. Therefore, it doesn't have to run away from its dear life like swimming or flower crabs upon sight of any threats.


Pei Hao spotted this octopus on top of a coral. These guys are common on sister's shore but sometimes hard to spot as it can rapidly change its colors and body patterns in order to blend with its surroundings.


Yuchen, top-notched hunter seeker, was on all fours and he found this tiny and almost transparent anemone on the muddy substrate. Well done!


I started to pay attention to the more subtle lifeforms around too and spotted this whelk with two anemones attached to it. Anemones are a great way of defence if you don't know, simply because they can sting. It's just like tying durians around your body in a crowded shopping lane, everyone will "siam" or avoid you...hahaha.


Detail-focused Chay Hoon shared with me that there are more that meets the eyes of these algae. With a closer look, I was surprised to find many and many of these tiny centimeter long sarcoglossid slugs on the Bryopsis algae. Aren't they cute? You can only spot these only if you care and take time to appreciate.


I was also caught up with these guys on the rocky areas. Nerites' streamlined shape is round and smooth which allows the snail to avoid being washed off the rocks when it is splashed by waves and swept by currents.

The marine spider is named as marine as it can live in the sea. During high tide, it waits in air pockets among rocks or rubble but during low tide, it will come out and hunt. Also, these guys can also literally walk on water through its furry feet which can repel water. Nevertheless, it still prefers to walk on land. Can you believe these spiders are listed among the threatened animals of Singapore due to habitat loss.


Hard corals can be especially beautiful when they are in the waters with the polyp tentacles sticking out.


And that goes the same for soft corals. Look at this leathery soft coral, it is so huge as compared to the chopstick scale.


And when in water, the tentacles from each polyp or animal will become very obvious though it is only leathery when exposed in the air. Isn't it amazing?

Though it looks really nice, leathery corals are generally not welcomed in a marine tank as they can release substances that stunt or prevent the growth of hard corals nearby.


Walking along the reef flat near the jetty, I found this spider conch through the distinctive projections. From the top, it looks very well camouflaged but when you flip it to see its underside, you can see the guy inside.


And here's a close up to the guy in it. It pretty fun to see how it reacts to being exposed.


Towards the end of today's trip, Evelyn showed me her find of this feather star that is bright red in colour.


And look how graceful it turns out to be when it is opened up. Definitely a great find before we call it a day. Too bad however, I didn't managed to see the little sister's resident giant clam which Ria did.


As we were waiting for the late boat after a hearty breakfast prepared by Ria, was looking around and like how St John looks behind a glowing sunrise.

4 comments:

Siyang said...

Ur photo skill is getting better! Damn nice pictures!

koksheng said...

hey thanks!

well, it's a pity you have no underwater camera to share all the wonders from your diving.

CH / SONNENBLUME said...

Hi Kok Sheng,

that sweetlips is called Harry Hotlips (Plectorhinchus gibbosus).

More info here: http://habitatnews.nus.edu.sg/guidebooks/marinefish/text/285.htm

koksheng said...

thanks CH!

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