Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Dollars and stars of Sekudu

This morning I had a great time at Pulau Sekudu with several interesting sightings. But nothing interests me as much as echinoderms and we had a good time with the sand dollars and sea stars!

The best find of the day will be this Pink sand dollar (Peronella lesueuri) which I've never seen before. Ron found the first two of these pink sand dollars followed by the rest and myself later.

I think this is the prettiest sand dollar species in Singapore!!! It is circular and bright pink in colour. The star pattern and its petalloid on its surface is just so pretty!

The underside of this sand dollar reminds me of the torch ginger flower (torch ginger flower photo by Ron). Yea, me and my wild imagination again!

There was another one that is even more brightly pinkish but its underside has some dark specks.

So far, this sand dollar species has only been dredged in Singapore's Southern waters and sighted only intertidally at Pulau Sekudu.

Like Beting Bronok, there are plenty of large sized Biscuit sea star (Gonodiscaster scaber) all over the shore.

An orange-tipped Spiny sea star (Gymnanthenea laevis) was also sighted as well, similar to Changi and Beting Bronok.

There were many more bigger Cake sea stars (Anthenea aspera) at Sekudu! I just adore the different patterns on every individual, making each of them distinct and unique.

Somehow, the Cake sea star only has bright orange colour being uniform throughout. I don't remember anyone seeing it having another uniform colour. As for the reason why, I don't know too.

Later on, there were sightings of really cute tiny juvenile stars!!

And they fit snudgely on my palm. So sweet!

I quickly placed them into a tidal pool. Here are their names :-)

Top left: All the stars including baby Biscuit sea star (Gonodiscaster scaber) in brown.
Top right: A bright orange Crown sea star (Asterina coronata)
Bottom left: Common sea star (Archaster typicus).. first sighting of this species at Sekudu!
Bottom right: Eight-armed sea star (Luidia maculata)

Last but not least, we found five of these adult Knobbly sea stars (Protoreaster nodosus). They were quite close to each other!

Who can resist not taking a photograph with these charismatic creatures? Haha.

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