Friday, April 25, 2008

Star studded Cyrene

This morning, a gang of shore lovers were out with Dr David Lane, echinoderms expert at Cyrene Reef. We were out to hunt for echinoderms, in particular the Pentaceraster sp. that was found the other time.

Cyrene Reef proves to be really star studded. There are a lot of knobbly sea stars (Protoreaster nodosus), at least 15 that I saw today, though I've lost count.

More knobbly sea stars.

This one has the knobs at the centre bent inwards, which I don't really understand why.

Before you get a knobbly overdose, here is one more. This juvenile is quite small. Doesn't it look very cute?

The sandy shores of Cyrene again are star studded! Look at all the star markings by the common seastars (Archaster typicus).

And this particular one is special because it has four arms rather than the usual five.

This star search candidate found by Robin is a cake sea star (Anthenea aspera). I was just telling Jerald cake sea stars should most probably be only found at northern shores. Haha, this living star proves me wrong immediately. Can't imagine what else interesting things Cyrene holds.

An underside of any sea stars is important for identification purposes.

Sam found this cake-seastar-looking star which later as confirmed by Dr Lane is a juvenile cushion star! Wow. The scientific name of this pincushion star is Culcita novaeguineae.

And yes, the underside of the star :-)

Today's trip was like a movie plot with a climax towards the end. Look at everyone gathering, must be something worth the attention.

And yes! We found the champion of the star search. The new record in Singapore named as Pentaceraster sp., possibly Pentaceraster tuberculatus. This is the seastar Dr Lane was particularly interested in looking for. All thanks to Vyna who found it.

This charismatic star also has a beautiful underside.

Look at the pinkish tube feet coming out from the seastar arm. How cute.

Today's really a superb trip, I have much more to share, another time okie. Watch out, coming soon.

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