Thursday, August 13, 2009

Sinking mud at Pasir Ris Part II

Muddy it may be, Pasir Ris is an oasis of colourful and interesting marine creatures. Especially for creatures that prefer this kind of soft sediment and muddy substrate.

One of which must be the peacock anemones (Order Ceriantharia). They look like flowers on the mud when they are still submerged in the water.

Given that different peacock anemone indivdiual come in different colour forms, the muddy shore is no more boring and dull anymore!

Since this shore is just situated in front of the mangroves, it is no surprise to also encounter several of these mangrove anemones that look so elegant in the water.

Other than colourful anemones, there are also large anemones like the Haddon's carpet anemones (Stichodactyla haddoni) which can sometimes be bigger than your face!

Like other sea anemones, the carpet anemone has stingers in its tentacles. Generally, these stings do not hurt human beings, but they can leave welts on sensitive skin.

There were huge patches of the Sea lettuce (Ulva sp.) and I saw this weird looking creature on it. There's this branching anemone-looking structure which made me guess it is an anemone. James said its a nudibranch.

After putting the creature into a tide pool, its identity was revealed. This is probably a synaptic sea cucumber though the exactly identity is unknown.

And also found at the same sea lettuce patch, there was yet another synaptic sea cucumber found as well!

In addition to sea cucumbers, the sea lettuce patches seem to have plenty of the Ball sea cucumber (Phyllophorus sp.). Like some other sea cucumbers, it will eject its guts if it feels threatened. Therefore, try not to step on or disturb them.

Once in a while among the seagrasses, there are long structures that stick out. Sometimes we named them as satay sticks. Actually they are the Slender sea pens (Virgularia sp.). The one on the left is exposed out of water whereas in water, the sea pen on the right looks much better when relaxed.

It is always fun to spot Smooth seagrass octopuses where you can observe how they can escape away from our presence.

During this trip, I get to also see live skeleton shrimps in the field for the first time, all thanks to James' sharp eyes! They are indeed VERY tiny.

According to the Chesapeake Bay Program website, skeleton shrimps resemble terrestrial stick insects in that they can remain motionless for long periods while waiting to ambush their prey, often protozoa or small worms.

Their long grasping claws and long appendages enable them to move easily up and down the stems of various submerged plants. They have forelimbs which they hold in similar attitude to those of a preying mantis.

Towards the end of the trip, we went to the mangroves to take a look at the colourful fiddler crabs.

It's very difficult to get too close to them because they will withdraw into their burrows. Unfortunately, this burrow was occupied, thus I managed to get a chance to take a photograph closeup.

We later went to take a look at the rare Lenggadai (Bruguiera parviflora).

But somehow, our attention was grabbed by this cheeky Long-tailed Macaque that seems to be holding on tightly to a pong pong fruit. Hahahaha.

1 comment:

Simon Owens said...

Hey Loh, my name is Simon Owens and I work for an Asian news organization. Can you shoot me an email at

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