Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Changi rocks

At 0430, a small group of four checked out Changi early this morning. I have not visited this part of Changi before and it's a bit more rocky. Though seemingly there is no life from far, you will be surprised to find lots of life teeming underneath the rocks or at the crevices.

Other than the bigger blacker anemone on the right, can you make out the numerous invisible looking smaller ones?

Chay Hoon very quickly found this flatworm. The blue edge is actually not continuous. Look closer and you will find that it is made of of many blue dots lining at the edge of this beautiful flatworm.

Just beside the flatworm, I found this pretty nudibranch (Chromodoris tumulifera) which I encountered before at East Coast.

Soon, Ria, Chay Hoon and I each found one of this really stunning Hypselodoris nudibranch. I have never seen it before.

This one looks not so dark compared to the above one.

And Chay Hoon found the third one possibly eating at the blue-green coloured sponge.

Underneath rocks are teemed with life. Other than tunicates and sponges, you can also find tiny and cute porcelain crabs.

This crab is very interesting. A bit similar to velcro crab with bits of stuff like sponge on its body. But we don't know what exactly it is.

This hoof-shield limpet (Scutus sp.) was also found underneath rocks. Heard from Ria that is not common. It usually envelops its flat shell in its huge body and is often mistaken as slugs. My first time seeing this guy. :-)

This cowrie looks like the guy in the previous photo and also was initially found underneath rocks.

Yet again, under another rock, Ria found this lovely pair of snapping shrimp. The mama is carrying eggs, can you see? Wow.

It's a shame to say I've never see a rock star (Asterina coronata) before. They are usually found on or underneath rocks.

According to Dr Lane's "A Guide to Sea Stars and Other Echinoderms of Singapore", its small size (radius about 2cm) and dull, mottled colouration make it easily overlooked and could be more common than supposed.

Looking at the underside, this is the oral view of the rock star.

More than four of such rock stars were found on the rocks today. That's very exciting.

Basically underneath rocks are great places for creatures to hide is because that they will not be exposed to sunlight or air and can be kept moist at the same time.

Hydroids are also growing quite well at this shore, thus emphasizing the importance of wearing long pants or else the stings will ensure your leg to look like a horrible one. Haha.

I'm amazed to see so many live blood cockles on the substrate. But to think twice, don't think it's really safe to eat. :P

There are also several green and whitish corallites attached onto rocks. Wonder what species of coral is this.

Though no soft corals were found this time, there are still hard corals encrusted onto the rocks of the shore.

Ivan shared with us his find of this interesting sea cucumber which till now we don't know what is it.

It's interesting to see that octopus from the northern shores tend to be greyish pink, perhaps because at most of the time, there's not much rubble for it to change colour to.

Sponges come in different colours and this one in stunning red indeed attracted my attention. Pay attention to its surrounding and you might spot a greyish fishy looking creature.

This fish is long and looks eel-ish. Haha. Any idea what is this?

It's heartening to find different lifeforms on the shore. Within a snapshot frame of this photo, many animals are represented. And we didn't position them like that. There are ascidians, sea cucumber, a rock star and also a Hypselodoris nudibranch. Wow, that also adds the nudibranch count of Hypselodoris species to four.

Towards the end of the exploration, we found plenty of bristle worms. They are also known as fire worms. Why fire? You will know it since you are warned not to touch it.

One may wonder, what on earth feeds on these nasty worms? I'm glad the answer was revealed instantly when we spotted a swimming crab feasting on one. Soon, another crab approached to join the feasting.

A predawn (yet sleepy :P) trip usually ends with a stunning sunrise! What a great way to start a wonderful day in the morning.

Changi indeed rocks and is fascinating. Will be back tomorrow to check out the softer part of Changi. Too bad no astropecten sand stars were found today. Was there today mainly to document and recce for the sand stars.

That means more work to measure and document them tomorrow. Hahaha.

1 comment:

Ivan said...

That funny-looking crab is listed in Rhythm of the Sea as Schizophrys aspera. It's also one of the decorator crabs. =)

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