Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Super low tide at Changi

As part of the recce trips of the star search (for sand stars and button shells), I have a gang of seven wonderful friends with me this morning (3am plus) at Changi. This week's tide is the super lowest of the year so there's a huge patch of intertidal area which is rarely exposed. As such, we can also recce extensively too.

There were a lot of movements in the water and we stumbled upon this hermit crab "partying" moments where many of them gather and move around quite actively. Wonder are they taking turns to change shells?

I think I found the patch where lots of button shells used to thrive, but I couldn't find any alive on my own today. They are not as shallow as they should be, I think they just dead and it might be part of their annual cycle. Looks like we have to wait a while in June and July for the recruitment to kick in.

There are a lot of these sea pencils stuck on the substrates.

They are actually related to corals, can you see the polyps coming out in the water?

A couple of solefishes were spotted and this one is different, with white patterns on its beige body.

As usual, there were plenty of white salmacis sea urchins all over the shore! We had to watch our footing to avoid stepping on them.

I've also found a couple of this purplish peacock anemones and they are really pretty.

We used to call this the strawberry anemone when Dr Daphne was around as it has strawberry spots running down its base. I'm not sure its identification though.

It has been some time I've seen gong gong snails on Changi, glad to find one today. Hope they are not overcollected by poachers.

At night, the stars are partying out including this brittle star.

I saw several carpet anemones and this one has a really cute anemone shrimp.

There were other marine animals swimming around including this filefish. Hard to photograph swimming animals and I couldn't got a photo of the cuttlefish Pamela found as the water was murking up.

This shrimp looks interesting with the orange part near the head. Doubt I've seen such pattern before.

I think this critter excites me a lot. It has a long stalk (not shown in this photo) with a flowery thing on top. At first I thought it's just a flower or a plant thing.

But it shrunk all the way in when I tried to observe closer! I've totally no idea what is it! Is it a fan worm or a tube worm sort of thing? Anyone please help me with id?

Pamela also found this noble volute which is among the biggest I've seen in our shores!

Other surprises I've found include this pair of horseshoe crabs.

I also found this seahorse stranded during low tide and thus quickly put it back into the tidal pool. Hope its not too stress.

Back to the agenda, we found quite a lot of sand stars today along the trip. However, they are quite shy today as in they are not out in huge numbers like I've seen at Changi before. Glad we have quite a number of people looking for these stars today. Most of them seem to be burrowing.

Quickly, we gathered our stars and did measurements on the shore. I've noticed that the stars on Changi are smaller than usual as well. Are they starving out without button shells?

Zavier found this huge sand star, at 15cm diameter! It has different patterns as compared to the usual sand stars found above. I suspect this is another species, Astropecten vappa while the ones we are finding is Astropecten indicus. I've read that the Astropecten vappa feeds exclusively on button shells. Indeed, a quick touch check, I've found there are button shells in its stomach.

Compare the size of this sand star with the hand. It's really sharp and spiny to touch and feel.

There are several small biscuit sea stars found as well. A total of three as shown here.

It's weird to find someone's name on one of the shell.

I've also found this ghost crab and it sort of chased Pamela. So we can say Pamela was chased by a ghost at Changi today. Wahaha.

I guess Pamela's wish is granted eventually as she finally sees a live octopus on the way back.

As everyone gathers at the octopus area, it's also a great opportunity to take a group photo! :-)

Thanks to Alex, Robyn, Pamela, Zavier and Paul for helping me at such an unearthly wee hour.

Thank you (extra very much) Khairul and Benjamin for driving us. Hope you all enjoyed the trip as well.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...