Friday, July 4, 2008

Back to Sekudu after a year

I've been missing all the trips to Pulau Sekudu for a year and finally I could set my foot on this froggie island, part of the Chek Jawa Wetlands.

The primary objectives is definitely to check out the sand stars there for my project.

And interestingly, those sand stars found are quite small, about 2-3cm in diameter.

There is this sand star which is suspected to be another species of the Astropecten genus which is as small as less than 2cm in diameter. It is very cute.

There are PLENTY of medium or large sized biscuit sea stars at Sekudu! There is this one which I tried to check the underside to confirm its identity. Low and behold, I disturbed its feeding process. This star had its stomach inverted out to try and munch the bivalve. So sorry! Nevertheless, it's quite interesting to see the star in action.

There are also many cake sea stars that are medium sized. I love cake sea stars because they can come in different colours and pattern variations.

I was looking closer at one of the above cake sea stars and wow, there's yet another star.... a tiny brittle star!

I was checking the coral rubble edges and saw this stunning cake sea star in maroon or purplish colour.

It is about 18cm in diameter, an adult size! How lovely.

My secondary objective is to look for knobbly sea stars for Chee Kong's project. And Collin helped me spot the first one!

Soon, I found the other three knobblies. They are near or adult sized and glad to see the survivals from the mass death in 2007.

Yet another star to be found is the featherstar found by Chay Hoon!

Well, I'm a star lover so they usually occupy the first half of my blog post. Below are also interesting creatures encountered.

There are quite a variety of sea cucumbers on the shore including the sandfish sea cucumber.

This reddish white one looks quite different from the usually thorny or warty sea cucumber.

Sekudu is the only northern shore one can find the black sea cucumber that we see very often at our southern shores!

There are also many peacock and carpet anemones and they look very graceful in the water.

Chay Hoon found this 20cent coin sized carpet anemone that could probably be a tapetum or Haddoni.

It's nice to see many of these brown and roundish anemones doing well near the coral rubble area.

There are also hard corals, porites.

They also can come in nice neon greenish colour. How beautiful!

One can also find soft corals, this one looking flowery and pinkish in colour.

In the lagoon, there were a number of filefishes swimming around.

And I was quite fascinated with this juvenile filefish that is really cute.

Ria spotted the find of the day: nemo in gigantea sea anemone! I think it's the first spotting by us in our northern shores. That disproves the hypothesis that no nemos in northern shores due to lowered salinity as compared to southern shores. Instead, it sort of proves Haddon's carpet anemones don't support the false clownfish species we have in Singapore and it requires a gigantea or mertensii carpet anemone.

I didn't see the nemo though but was furiously trying to find it after it. As a consolation, God is so nice to let me see a butterflyfish instead, this time on top of the Haddon's carpet anemone.

I chanced upon this octopus that looks that those we see in the southern shores. Weird ah. A little more about southern vs northern octopus on Ria's wildfilms blog.

Chay Hoon and I individually found these leaf slugs feeding on the algae.

Of course she spotted nudibranchs which I'm not sure of the species name.

Here's is another nudibranch she spotted.

And its underside.

Chay Hoon also found a pair of denison's nudibranch mating.

Not only mating, a closer look reveals egg laying, wow all ready for recruitment.

Overall, it was a good morning. Thank God the rain only hit us for a while and we could carry on with our documentations and explorations!

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