Saturday, April 26, 2008

Urchins, sea cucumbers and other creatures of Cyrene Reef

Other than the wide array and abundance of seastars that can be found at Cyrene Reef, there were also other echinoderms and creatures found admist our hunt for the Pentaceraster "superstar".

I found this pencil sea urchin on sandy substrate, which is possibly Prionocidaris bispinosa. This pencil urchin can be found at our northern shores. Somehow, Cyrene Reef is like Chek Jawa of the south.

There were two of such urchins sighted. This one has black spines.

While this one has black and white spines. This one could be Diadema setosum as adviced by Dr Lane. I saw this exact urchin during my last trip and emailed him regarding the ID. He commented that it'll be better for identification if we collect or let him see it. Glad he was there this time round.

Again like our northern shores, Cyrene Reef has also quite a number of Salmacis sp. urchins.

Other than the sandfish sea cucumber that we encountered, this long black sea cucumber (Holothuria leucospilota) was also brought to Dr Lane for him to take a look.

This synaptid sea cucumber (Family Synaptidae) has something more than meets the eye. Can you see the tiny crustacean on it? Thanks Dr Lane for sharing about this.

That's quite a fair selection of echinoderms found, given the short tide window for our hunting trip. Cyrene Reef also is home to other creatures. Below are some of them that I've found along the way.

While running around, trying hard to find the special sea star, I saw this snail-looking creature which might be a cone snail! Many Cone snails can inject toxins fatal to humans. Sorry for the blur photo as I did not have time to take a proper photo while trying to organise the guys to comb for the special sea star at that time.

I couldn't resist trying to take a photo of this acorn worm cast because we can see its buttock here. Ahhh.

In a tidal pool, something special caught my attention. This about 1cm in length creature looks very weird, it's not something I've seen before online or at any field trips. From the morphology, it looks like a fish.

What is so interesting is that it looks like it is carrying colourful and weird shape-like stuffs on its whitish beige body.

Chay Hoon suggested that its a dragonet (possibly Dactylopus dactylopus) This dragonet is really colourful and cute. Compare my photo with the one here I found online. What an interesting find.

Octopus never fail to make me impressed. They are not only masters of camouflage, they are also good actors! This guy was moving and stopped when it saw me. It became as hard as stone which left me wondering and scratching my head.

This looks like a sea hare. Hare reminds of me bunny Liana who was there too :-)

Towards the east tip of Cyrene Reef, there is quite a large area of reef which there was no time to explore, and I've yet properly visit it too. But there are huge and gigantic boulder-like corals. Wonder how old are they.

This is a beautiful frilly sea anemone (Phymanthus sp.).

Now seems to be the jellyfish season and most of us sighted them around Singapore's waters and reef.

This pinkish looking jellyfish is really huge!

And this one too. Very big. Wow, poor guys that get stuck during low tide.

To end off, here is a stunning red coloured featherstar found by Dr Tan Heok Hui.

Look at how graceful the crinoid is when it swims in the tidal pool.

Cyrene Reef is fascinating and I can't wait to return again. Now back to my books for the week's exams.



The fish looks like a Dragonet (maybe a Dactylopus sp.)

Unknown said...

Thanks CH!! Excited to know what it is.

Ivan said...

Wow, the (?)dragonet looks really unique. Cyrene definitely holds plenty of wonders, I wish I could have the chance to visit soon.

And yikes, it definitely looks like a cone snail to me. Another important reason why protective footwear is essential. (Suddenly wondering whether the venomous harpoons of cone shells can penetrate dive booties...) *shudders*

Unknown said...

Hi Ivan. Yes Cyrene is really rich. I've always been harbouring and toying with an idea of a metal-sole-like booties that is informidable against the risks of stonefish, venomous spines, stingrays and also mangrove roots.... Haha.

Wonder will that dream ever be realized?


The snail could be an Olive snail as the frontal part is spade-like shape that helps the snail burrows.

Unknown said...

It's possible. Blame it that I didn't get to take different angles and closeups of this snail.

Let's hope we'll see it again in the next Cyrene adventure. :-)

fernfreak said...
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