Sunday, August 9, 2009

Sinking mud at Pasir Ris Part I

A last minute change of plan led the four of us to Pasir Ris! And this location has proved to be a very soft and muddy where we could, at any time, sink up to our waist! But it was all worth it, because there's lots of life on this treacherous shore.


When I first stepped onto the shore, this female Orange fiddler crab (Uca vocans) greeted me on the high shores. I wondered why it didn't try to escape from me like their peers. Maybe it was just too sleepy? But the crab sure looks funny.


Liana later shared with us her find of this Blue striped hermit crab (Clibanarius longitarsus) in electrifying blue colour. It was trying to fiddle with a live snail. I think it was trying to find a larger empty shell to exchange or upgrade but since this snail is still alive, I guess it might leave the snail alone.

Nevertheless, I think it's my first time seeing a hermit crab in blue colour. Later on, we found more of them nearby as well. Actually these hermit crabs are quite common near mangroves areas, just that I don't venture into mangroves most of the time.


There are quite a number of Gong gongs (Strombus turturella) on this shore and this particular one is a young fellow.


So far, this Bearded mudskipper (Scartelaos histophorus) is known to be only found on this shore. Its preferred habitat is soft liquid mud and that explains why we are sinking while walking on the shore.

An amazing fact about this mudskipper is that the males is able to stand on their tails to attract females into their burrows and spawn! Check out this photo from Themudskipper.org to see this action!


The pointed features near the mouth are the barbels of the mudskippers. A barbel on a fish is a slender, whiskerlike tactile organ near the mouth. There are many black speckles on its greyish body.


Soon, I found the top find of the day: A Dog-faced watersnake (Cerberus rynchops)! This is my first time seeing this snake intertidally. Dog-faced water snakes are shy and blend in with the mud and the leaf litter. It is more active at night and are usually stays well hidden during the day.


Does its face really look like a dog?

It is said that this snake got its common name for its protruding eyes, which is rather unusual for a snake. Whether this makes the snake look dog-like is somewhat debatable.


Moving onwards further downshore, there are lots of life at the tidal pools like this Brown shore goby (Drombus triangularis). This interesting fish has a chubby face with small eyes and camouflaging patterns.


At more tide pools, I saw several snapping shrimps. This is probably the Flat-pincered snapping shrimp (Alpheus brevicristatus).


I glad that this shore is as sand-star studded as before with plenty of Plain Sand stars (Astropecten sp.).

Otherwise, I don't recall seeing other star species here before.


But Liana found this juvenile Biscuit sea star (Gonodiscaster scaber)! Unfortunately one of its arm was chomped off.

I was still greedy for more sea stars to be found and I said "Come on cake" (standing for cake sea star).....


Before I could say out the word "cake", I really spotted this Cake sea star (Anthenea aspera) instanteously! It was like an instant answer to my prayer. Wah...thank you God! This cake sea star is a juvenile one with pretty patterns on this aboral surface.


There are quite a number of wormy finds like this Solitary tubeworm (Diopatra sp.). Almost 95% of the time, we see their tubes more often than the worm itself.

On the upper part of their body there are reddish feathery appendages on the sides which are longer than the bristles on the body. I think they look really pretty though I wouldn't want to touch them. Anyway, did you managed to spot a crab on the tube?


On the mud is yet another worm and this is probably a bristleworm.


There is yet another longish worm with a springtail crawling on it.

There's part two of the day's adventure and finds, do so watch out for it.


Meanwhile... a special photo of James featuring him sinking beyond his knees near to his waist on the shore. :-)

1 comment:

ria said...

Looks like you all had lots of fun! And FINALLY James learns to love mud. Haha.

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