Thursday, May 8, 2008

More surprises from Cyrene Reef

Today, a gang of many people were out at Cyrene Reef. We have a mix array of friends: Dr Raju and Prof Teh, Siti from Nparks, Sijie with his knobbly checks and also the naked ones (NHC).

We were greeted by a breathtaking sunrise.

Of course, we were all impressed with Dr Raju's equipments, including Siti.

Today, I had Vyna with me to check out the reef.

Somehow, the common sea stars this morning was quite enthusiastic in gathering with each other. This time, I found a six armed one. Haha.

Like the horseshoe crabs doing threesome yesterday at East Coast Park, the common sea stars are doing that too. What's up? Mating season? Haha.

As usual, Cyrene Reef is filled with a lot of knobbly sea stars. It's really a treat!

I love sea stars so I won't find it tiring to keep searching and blogging about them. This juvenile knobbly seastar only has developed central five knobs. So cute.

The flags are to be planted for Sijie to come over and do measurements for Chee Kong. Way to go.

This knobbly looks really cool, quite different from others. Somehow, beside it is a synaptic sea cucumber.

One more interesting knobbly, this one has an arm chomped off. Poor thing.

It's quite fun to spot new stuffs on Cyrene. This reef never fail to surprise. This is called a snaky sea anemone (Macrodactyla doreensis). You could have already guessed why it's called snaky in common term.

I found this giant carpet anemones (Stichodactyla gigantea). Sijie later was saying it should be something else. After checking, it's quite confirmed it is not Stichodactyla mertensii.

From wildfilms blog, Ria shared previously that "Dr Daphne says anything we see on the intertidal is probably S. gigantea because she hadn't seen a single S. mertensii on all her intertidal trips here. She says S. mertensii tends to settle in deeper water among living corals, and holds its oral disk completely flat against the surface (not in folds)."

Nevertheless, I found this nemo!

As usual, nemos are difficult to photograph in their natural state as they are extremely shy fishes. :-)

The reef edge near South Cyrene Beacon is filled with soft corals that are huge.

Vyna and I encountered many leaf slugs today. I spotted about five. Looks like they are in season. That explains the find at East Coast yesterday.

The reef area also have many hard corals, like this plate or disk coral (Turbinaria sp.).

More mating in action: A pair of nudibranch.

Vyna was very impressed with this huge sized octopus, her first time to see such a big one.

A total of three melibes were found surprisingly. That's amazing!!

And this one is a juvenile one, also have a expandable hood which can trap and eat crustaceans

Somehow, every Cyrene trip uncovers weird sea stars that excites me. This one looks a bit like a biscuit sea star or also a cake sea star. It is about 8cm in diameter. After reading "A Guide to Sea Stars and Other Echinoderms of Singapore" by Dr Lane, it might probably be a Gymnanthenea laevis.

Gymnanthenea laevis can usually be identified by spine-like tubercles on the central radial plates, and the bottom surface is covered by bivalved pedicellariae (little oval-shaped structures).

I am not sure from this photo does it show spine-like tubercles.

Now turning over to check out the underside.

Yes, the bottom surface is covered by bivalved pedicellariae. Hopefully someone will confirm the id.

Another weird sea star was spotted. This beige sea star one looks either like a knobbly sea star or a Pentaceraster species. The diameter is about 20-25cm.

Closeup of the aboral surface.

Flipping over to see the underside.

And now the closeup of the underside. Could it be another Pentaceraster species? Hopefully Dr Lane will let us know soon.

There are also other little interesting things. Like this pair of tiny sea cucumber. Wonder what will they grow up to be.

Joseph Lai found a few sea hares. Apparently the purplish ink was released when we tried to move it a bit. :X

However, they are graceful "dancers" flapping in the water.

There are also a number of carpet anemones with anemone shrimps.

This sea urchin was in a good position for a proper photo to be taken.

A closeup showing the anal cone. Today quite a number of this urchin was found. Looks like they are permanent residents of Cyrene Reef indeed.

This shows the North Pandan buoy with Jurong Island at the background. All too soon, we had to leave and we we almost going to get stranded with the rising tide since we were late in departure.

We will be back at Cyrene Reef tomorrow!


Vyna said...

Oh wow, you DID put up the picture of the octopus! so shy, but gorgeous!

Ria Tan said...

Wow, those are really special star finds. I haven't seen Gymnanthenea laevis for years. And the new star is special too!

Let's hope we find more tomorrow!!

Ivan said...

Haha it's a blonde evil star. =)

Can't wait to go tomorrow!

Unknown said...

hi juanicths!

just chanced upon your blog today. cyrene reefs looks like really good stuff. can any diving be done there?

- cavin -

Unknown said...

Hi Cavin, I'm not juanicths but Kok Sheng. Btw diving should be ok, but I'm not too sure though. Cyrene is fascinating.

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