Friday, August 1, 2008

Back at Changi

After the quick check of East Coast, we took the remaining low tide time to look at Changi. Though I've visited the same place just yesterday, the marvellous shore still have surprises to reveal to those who are willing to explore its richness.

Indeed, Chay Hoon spotted this spoon worm that I've never seen before! At first, we thought it was a sea cucumber or an aneomone. But no, its a worm!

It is thus named because it has a spoon-like structure at one end. The Teamseagrass team saw one before at Chek Jawa last year as well. Read the blog for more about these interesting worms.

Another worm that caught my attention will be this tubeworm that emerged from its tube. I've never seen something like that before either.

It's quite a wormy day but this fan worm is really pretty with purplish tentacles.

Peacock anemones tend to have weird wormy companions. These worm-like creatures belong to their own Phylum Phoronida and are possibly Phoronis sp. These phoronid worms have a double horse-shoe shaped spiral of feathery tentacles.

Also encountered will be this carpet eel blenny that is not so often spotted in our northern shores as compared to the southern shores.

Ria spotted this cute toadfish hiding in a crevice.

And there is this large catfish that was trapped in a tidal pool during tide. It doesn't seem active, perhaps because the tidepool was quite shallow.

We also saw quite a number of seahorses and this one looks rather yellow-red in colour.

Another first time for us will be this living murex snail. More about how this snail lives at Ria's post for today's trip at wildfilms blog.

The "clams of the north" (as compared to the giant clams of the southern shores) will be these living fan shells that are usually buried in the sand.

As usual, Changi never fails to surprise me with its starry companions.

Other than the usual resident biscuit sea stars and sand stars, there are also this pretty Gymnanthenea laevis sea star.

Beside the moult of a horseshoe crab, I've spotted this adult sized cake sea star!

As I always mention, I love cake sea stars because they come in various colours and patterns.

The underside reveals prominent pincer-like structures called pedicellariae which is more visible in this adult cake sea star. Each darken oval is one of these structures.

We also encountered a much larger sand star that is believed to be of another species of the Astropecten genus.

It has very stiff and sharp spines by its body so handling it requires some caution. In fact, there are many Astropecten species recorded in the Indo-pacific region and to identify them to species level requires careful study of their marginal spines arrangement.

Today, we also encountered the rare Luidia hardwicki sea star that was seen yesterday.

Not only one, but two. And these two are different from the one I've found yesterday. This proves that this shore supports quite a number of these rare sea stars! How exciting.

What is even more exciting will be yet another rare sea star that we usually only can find at offshore islands of the north. This eight-armed sea star is Luidia maculata. Yes it is of the same genus as the previous rare sea star.

Not too long after the above find, we saw another Luidia maculata! This sea star usually burrow in soft sediments and feed on small infaunal echinoderms and molluscs.

According to Dr Lane's "A Guide to Sea Stars and Other Echinoderms of Singapore", the upper surfaces of the arms and body are paved with special flat-topped, pillar like ossicles known as paxillae, each crowned with numerous spinelets. It gives the surface a tessellated appearance.

The tube feet of Luidia species are pointed and without suckers. But if you take a closer look, the end of its pointed tube feet seem to have a club-like structure, which is absent in the hardwicki species.

In Dr Lane's book, it was stated that these spectacular sea stars are used to be found between the tide marks on mainland shores but is now recorded only sub-tidally. It's amazing that they can still be found on mainland shores like Changi and we hope it remains this way.

Roaming about are also several of the brittlestars.

These brittlestars are wonderful creations of God, they come in different colours and pattern arrangements.

Another brittlestar, that looks different.

This poor brittlestar looks like its central disk was being bitten off or makan-ed.

Though Changi is home to several colourful adult peacock anemones, I find the juvenile ones more cute.

In each tentacle is a band of alternating colours, this one in yellow and purple.

We saw another peacock anemone-looking anemone that is not a peacock anemone. It is a true anemone that is stuck onto the shell of a hermit crab.

Read more about this interesting kiasi krab at the wildfilms blog on how this shell is well utilized by the hermit crab. :-)

I guess today shall be the last visit to this shore that allows me to explore a wider area due to the super low spring tide. Looking forward to next year to explore this shore more extensively!

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