Friday, January 16, 2009

Windy at Chek Jawa

It has been real windy over this whole week of low spring tide trips since last Thursday.

I was at Chek Jawa on Wednesday for research and it was scenic especially during sunset.

At the northern seagrass lagoon, it was heartening to see many of these Sickle seagrass (Thalassia hemprichii) coming back and doing well.

Chek Jawa is probably the best location to find several of these carpet anemones (Stichodactyla haddoni) in all sorts of sizes. Some can even be really big and probably much older than you do

It was real windy so photographs were taken with ripples caused by wind.

I was relieved to see many of the beautiful peacock anemones (Order Ceriantharia) extending their tentacles in the tidal pools as the sun sets.

They come in different colours and I do fancy them in neon colours because it really looks attractive.

This hairy looking mass is actually an animal and it is a hairy sea hare (Bursatella leachii). Perhaps this is the start of the hairy sea hare season as we usually see them at the start of the year.

The Sea pencil are usually found half embedded in the substrate with part of it sticking out. If in the water, you can see the individual polyps extending out.

The Spiky sea pen (probably Scytalium sp.) is related to the sea pencil but please do not touch them because they have spikes at the sides.

Did you see something special in this photo?

Sharp eyes you have if you spotted it. Yes there is a pretty and yet tiny Painted porcelain crab (Porcellanella picta) that usually can be found residing in the spiky sea pen.

There are many snail-ey encounters at Chek Jawa as well, especially with moon snails.

What snail is this prowling on the sand flat?

Oh, this is a Ball moon snail (Polinices didyma).

More moon snails coming up, this one has orange lines and thus called Lined moon snail (Natica lineata).

This is yet another moon snail called the Tiger moon snail (Natica tigrina). I caught this fellow in action while eating a Razor clam (Family Solenidae).

Snails can also be huge and pretty like this Noble volute (Cymbiola nobilis).

Of course Chek Jawa is rich in echinoderms, which is my most favourite Phylum.

There are many Garlic bread sea cucumbers (Holothuria scabra) that started appearing after dusk. These are the species that are eaten during the Chinese New Year which is also upcoming. But it requires professional processing before it becomes edible.

Another sea cucumber that one can find in Chek Jawa will be this Smooth sea cucumber that is usually sighted in our northern shores.

Like Tanah Merah, the northern sandbar of Chek Jawa is crowded with really lots of Cake sand dollars (Arachnoides placenta).

Night time means you can see twinking stars in the sky and also sea stars on the shores like our sand stars (Astropecten sp.)

Last but not the least, we are glad that the common sea stars (Archaster typicus) are back in Chek Jawa. They went missing for eleven months in 2007 after the mass death.

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