Thursday, April 30, 2009

Back to Jong!

Yes, I'm back to Pulau Jong, one of the smallest island in Singapore. Supposed to go Tanah Merah today but during the last minute, Ron told me there's a boat space so here I am to my most favourite island of Singapore.

Why is this island my most favourite out of the numerous in Singapore? Because it is uninhabited, untouched and most important it has such a spectacular natural coastal landform!

Unfortunately, when we arrived there in the morning, the ominous clouds emerged from the southwest and covered the entire area! Thus, it was a long wait before the clouds cleared. Thank God that the second wave of rain and lightning did not head out to Jong and thus we could land on Jong.

Soon, the sun returned and one will be amazed to see that the intertidal area is many times bigger than the island itself! It is like a huge playground.

The reefs off Pulau Jong are well known to house both abundant and diverse number of soft corals. It is amazing that such beautiful coral reef exist in the middle of the surrounding petrochemical plants at Pulau Sebarok, Pulau Bukom and the landfill at Semakau (background of this photograph).

Different species of soft corals come in different sizes and patterns.

This one is what we usually call as the "dead man's finger" because it looks like many hands sticking out from the ground. Otherwise it is also called the smooth leathery coral (Family Alcyoniidae).

There are also soft corals like look like flowers, like this Asparagus flowery soft coral (Family Nephtheidae).

Strangely, it was mind boggling to find this smooth soft coral with neon yellow-green coloration on it. Is it bleaching, dying, or just another type of soft coral?

I went to check the maxima giant clam (Tridacna maxima) that was found during the trip last November. Yes this stunning clam is still there and still surrounded by soft corals. Though this time the tide was lower, this the mantle was less exposed to prevent dessication and stress.

OK, so there are many soft corals. Ah this seems to be a hard coral. Actually not! The Blue coral (Heliopora coerulea) in this photo is actually not a hard coral. Despite producing a hard skeleton, these corals are more closely related to soft corals. Blue corals are considered living relicts of fossil species known from more than 100 million years ago.

The blue coral is named this way because its internal skeleton is blue while the outside looks mostly brown in colour. Still, I managed to find this colony with blue coloration.

Sometimes, the blue coral can be home to Banded fan worm. Here you see that the blue coral is not blue.

Quite confusing right? Not blue, but called blue coral. Not soft, but is not a hard coral. Haha!

OK finally the real hard coral thing. The pinkish coral beside the blue coral is a hard coral that is probably the Boulder pore coral (Porites sp.). Think it's my first time seeing it pink.

This starry and flurry pretty coral is actually the Cauliflower coral (Pocillopora sp.).

And I also came across two colonies of this Acropora coral (Acropora sp.). When underwater, their tentacles are extended and look very beautiful.

Another coral with nice polyp tentacles sticking out will be the Disk corals (Turbinaria sp.) where individual corallites are actually quite well spaced apart.

Of course there are also many of the more commonly seen faviid coral (Family Faviidae) that have neon green colours.

Enough of corals?

Here's something else.... a jellyfish that I spotted when I first landed at Jong.

Siyang found this Mosaic reef crab (Lophozozymus pictor). Despite looking yummy, since it is red, it is the most poisonous crab in Singapore!

I stumbled upon this anemone which I am unsure of its identity. It does look similar to the Frilly anemones (Phymanthus sp.).

Jong today was a disappointment to me, being an echinoderm fan. Couldn't find the cushion star. Instead, there are plentiful of this Black long sea cucumber (Holothuria leucospilota). No more other echinoderms already, though Ron saw the stonefish sea cucumber (Actinopyga lecanora).

Nevertheless, this island has quite a fair variety of nudibranchs!

Like this Phyllid nudibranch (Phyllidiella pustulosa).

I also found three Black-margined nudibranch (Glossodoris atromarginata). WHERE is the the third one? The third one is actually beneath the right hand side nudi, possibly mating was in the process. Can you see a fringe of darker yellow behind? That's the third one.

The Hairy green seaweed (Bryopsis sp.) in Jong is home to many slugs like this Polka-dot nudibranch (Jorunna funebris).

Another slug that can be found in seaweeds will be this tiny wenny Dermatobranchus nudibranch (Dermatobranchus sp.). It was most difficult to photograph in the seaweed given the strong wind and waves today where the seaweed was swaying nonstop!

This is another tiny slug with the seaweed and it is Thuridilla gracilis (Thanks Siyang for the id).

And one more really tiny slug... All these slugs were challenging to photograph... but it's good to know that seaweed are good homes to these creatures.

Time past so fast and we had to leave the island before getting trapped with the incoming tides. See you next time Jong!

1 comment:

Ria Tan said...

Wonderful to hear that you managed to visit Pulau Jong. It's good for more of us to visit our shores and keep an eye on them.

Glad to see the special clam is still there. Thanks for sharing!

I was a bit worried knowing you were out there and the weather was quite bad this morning with quite a lot of lightning.

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