Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Crabs, fishes and echinoderms at Changi

Other than the delightful cartoon slug, weird snails, there are plentiful of other life teeming at Changi!

It has been close to a year ago since I've seen this Pebble crab (Family Leucosiidae) on the shores. It seems to be uncommon. Unfortunately, some of our pebble crabs are listed as 'Endangered' on the Red List of threatened animals of Singapore.

This Arrow-head spider crab (probably Menatheius sp.) is well camouflaged and I wouldn't have noticed it if I had not squatted down.

Another well camouflaged crab that has the same colour has the sand will be this Elbow crab
(Family Parthenopidae). As their common name suggests, their "elbows" are attributed to their highly elongated pincers that stick way out from the sides of its body.

Also spotted is the horseshoe crab which I didn't bear to dig it out of the sand. So cannot tell whether it is a mangrove or a coastal one. BUT horseshoe crabs are closer related to spiders than crabs, though spider crabs are still closer related to crabs. Are you confused? :D

Other than crabs and the "crab", there are also lots of fishes!

Yes, a seahorse is not a horse but a fish! This is an Estuarine seahorse (Hippocampus kuda) that James had found. How pretty is this yellow seahorse. Ria later spotted another seahorse!

My fishy finds include two flatfishes. One of which is this Tongue-sole (Family Cynoglossidae).

The other will be this Large tooth flounder (Family Paralichthyidae).

Why does both eyes face upwards? Find out more about this, together with other fishy finds of the day at the Wildshores of Singapore blogpost of this particular trip.

The shore was manifested with plentiful of these Hairy sea hares (Bursatella leachii) and we had to thread carefully not to stomp on these creatures. And Ria also did an entire post of the different seahares found during the trip.

Moving away from crabs, fishes, seahares, now is my favourite section: Echinoderms!

In this Changi shore, it is not unusual to find of these comical White sea urchin (Salmacis sp.). They have long tube feet and are often seen carrying all kinds of things from shells to seaweeds. It can quickly gather these things to cover itself.

Underneath is sea urchin you can find its mouth and if you look closer within you will see this eerie worm! It is thought to be eventually eaten up by the urchin, though I suspect there might have some parasitic or commensal relationships.

Well, what is Changi without seastars? Biscuit seastars (Goniodiscaster scaber) are never too boring as they look cute and really like biscuits. There are of course the ever abundant sand stars (Astropecten sp.).

On the other hand, I also found a huge brittlestar!

Changi is well known to be home to various types of sea cucumbers, some of which still unidentified.

I was suprised to find a colony of ascidian on top of this Thorny sea cucumber (Colochirus quadrangularis).

And here's one of the several unidentifed sea cucumbers.

Talking about unidentified, I was amazed to find this long alien looking sea cucumber! Could it be another morph of the Remarkable sea cucumber (Holothuria notabilis)?

Other sea cucumbers encountered include the usual Pink warty sea cucumber (Cercodemas anceps), Smooth sea cucumber and the Ball sea cucumber (Phyllophorus sp.).

OK! Now's exams over... Look out for more constant posts of my adventures!

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