Wednesday, May 13, 2009

First time to Siloso islet

After hearing so much about the marine life at the artifical islet opposite Siloso beach from Ivan at his Lazy Lizard's Tales blog with his latest two posts of his trip there last Sunday here and here, I have been sort of convinced that reclaimed shores can still be worth a visit if left untouched for recruitment of marine life.

With a glorious sunrise, a gang of friends reach Siloso Beach, eager to check out this new shore.

It is amazing to find an wide assortment of soft corals growing by the sides of the bridge that leads to the islet off Siloso Beach.

Most of them are Flowery soft corals from the Family Nephtheidae. They can come in a variety of colours and that some of them harbour microscopic, single-celled symbiotic algae within their bodies. The algae undergo photosynthesis to produce food from sunlight.

This pinkish red flowery soft coral was found at the deeper waters.

Also attached by the side of the bridge will be this thumbs up sea squirt (Polycarpa sp.).

How about hard corals? Surprising I also found a couple of hard colonies at the deeper waters like this faviid coral.

A surprise for me will be two colonies of this Carnation coral (Pectinia sp.)!

By the side of the islet are rocky boulders. Beneath these rocks, one can also find living creatures like this colony of zoanthids.

By the side of the rocks, there are many snails like this pair of Toothed top shell snail (Monodonta labio). Monodonta means 'one-toothed'. Can you see the pointy single large tooth-shaped structure at the shell opening?

More snails spotted by the rocks include this Spiny drill that has a thick shell with blunt spines.

There are also several conchs on the sandy area. Like this Gong-gong or Pearl conch (Strombus canarium).

Another conch species that can be quite commonly found will be this rarer Black-lipped conch (Strombus urceus). It is named this way because of the black lips at the shell opening.

Such sandy and silty shore is usually home to many snails, out of which some are weird or unfamiliar looking. I chanced upon the shell of this dead cowrie on the high shores. It has a very nice pink shell! I wonder what species is this cowrie.

Another dead creature is this pink and purplish small crab that I also do not what is it.

But there are also alive crabs scurrying about on the shores. This Spotted moon crab (Ashtoret lunaris) is just so active in running about and burrowing into sand so quickly that it requires a quick reactiom to photograph this elusive crab.

Talking about crabs, there was a surprise find by Ze Lin. This is a juvenile horseshoe crab where its tail has yet to be grown out. But it's just so cute, because it is only about 1cm in diameter!! We have saw such a small horseshoe crab in Pasir Ris before. Pls note that horseshoe crabs are not true crabs, they are more related to spiders instead.

Another surprise will be the find of this Polka-dot nudibranch (Jorunna funebris). When I first found it, it was stuck on a dry rock and looks stressed out. I quickly put it in the water for it to recover from dessication.

Though Ivan said there was a huge colony of Common sea stars (Archaster typicus) at the islet, I was pacing up and down the whole shore but can't find it!

And when I was about to give up and proceed to another shore, I finally saw a colony of them! They are well camouflaged but once we saw it, the rest of the colony suddenly just "popped" into our sight. Bravo to find them!

It is heartening that many of them are mating! More stars to come!

The top special find of the day will be a rare sand dollar.

I didn't expect to find the rare Laganum sand dollar (Laganum depressum) in this artifical islet. So I was pleasantly surprise to find one of this sand dollar though I couldn't find more of it.

The underside is slightly purplish black in colour.

There was an oil spill during 1st May and I was worried if our marine life were affected. The beach still has some black stains which may probably be the remains of the spill. I'm glad that we could still find marine creatures still living on the islet.

In order to check the conditions of the natural reefs at Tanjong Rimau after the spill, we quickly later went over to take a look at the shore. More about the second part of the trip to Rimau here.

1 comment:

Ivan said...

Yes those were the hard corals I saw but couldn't photograph on Sunday morning as the water was too murky.

I always thought that the dead reddish crabs were the moults of the purple climber crabs.

And yes, it really takes a while to spot the common seastar colony.

Wow baby horseshoe crab? nudibranch? Laganum sand dollar? Absolutely amazing!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...