Thursday, November 5, 2009

Under the rocks and among seaweed in Sentosa

I'm back to Sentosa! And this time we are off to explore a long stretch of this rocky shore which is definitely coupled with a good "foot reflexology course".

With the charming natural coastal cliff at the background, my attention yesterday evening was mainly focused on the underside of rocks and among the bloom of Hairy green seaweed (Bryopsis sp.).

Under the rocks, one can find a trove of marine treasures that are seeking shelter from dessication and exposure to the external environment. Like here are numerous Purple under a stone sea cucumbers.

Coincidentally, together with an-under a stone sea cucumber was a Tiny under-a-stone porcelain crab (Family Porcellanidae).

When we placed one of these purplish sea cucumber in a pool of water, the cucumber looks pretty when relaxed. The rows of tube feet were extended out from the angular body.

Another interesting animal from the underside of rocks will be this Snapping shrimp (Family Alpheidae).

Once in a while, after flipping rocks, fishes will start darting out as they were probably surprised. And I saw this goby-like fish that I've no clue what it is.

I've also found a pair of tiny Sponge crabs (Family Dromiidae)! Yes, they are crabs that carry sponges on their carapace as a form of camouflage. :)

Of course, there are plenty of molluscs that are near or under the rocks. Like this Spotted top shell snail (Trochus maculatus).

While Stephen was flipping another rock, he saw this very cute-looking Wandering cowrie (Cypraea errones) that is orientated in such a way that we can see its eyes and red tentacles. I think the other snail was just blocking the way of this cowrie.

Another cute looking gastropod will be this pinkish unknown snail that are quite commonly but also usually overlooked. Maybe because they are small and look like pieces of stones from far.

From the rocks, we also saw a number of clams. The shell of this Ribbed venus clam has thick 'ribs' made of up large squarish beads. They are usually plain white without any patterns.

Another clam here, this time much larger, is found by James. From A Guide to Common Seashells of Singapore book, this clam probably belongs to the genus Anadara. One side of this clam is larger than the other.

Ria found a more familiar and attractive clam and that is this living Scallop (Family Pectinidae)! They have well developed but tiny pinkish eyes along the mantle edge.

A scallop can swim by flapping its valves and using jet propulsion. It sucks in water and then forces out a jet of water from either sides of the shell hinge. And it was quite irritating when it squirted water at my camera!! Hahaha... thank God my camera is alright.

There were several anemones seen today and I only managed to find one of these Wiggly star anemone (Family Edwardsiidae). They are ultra shy and will shrink into the sand when they have the slightest sense of danger.

Last but not least, this under-a-rock flat animal is still unidentified. It looks a bit like coral surface but its not a coral. Is it related to ascidians? Hmmm...

Next in line are all the amazing animals found in the bloom of Hairy green seaweed (Bryopsis sp.).

One of the very tiny animals spotted will be the Bryopsis slug (Placida dendritica).

These longish yet super tiny slugs are abundant but they require your most detailed attention to find them. Their soft body is filled with lots of finger-like projections that are transparent or white.

Another sea slug found that are really tiny will be the Woolly leaf slug (Elysia sp.) that appears wolly or fuzzy. Like the other leaf slugs, it has a pair of 'wings' but are often held in ruffles.

The best slug find of the day will be this Gymnodoris nudibranch (Gymnodoris sp.) that is less than 1cm in length. It was really back breaking and tiring to squat and take photos of this tiny slug. But it's just so amazing pretty with its tiny orange spots on its body.

There are lots of other tiny life among the seaweed like crabs of all sizes, bristleworms, amphipods, flatworms and brittlestars. Too bad these seaweed are sometimes seen as junk by normal Singaporeans.

The most surprising find among the seaweed will be the numerous Peanut worms (Phylum Sipuncula). They are not common in Sentosa and it's my first time seeing them here and in quite a number of them also. Could it be that the shore is changing to be more silty for these worms to thrive?

If you are observant, you may spot the tiny white clams stuck on top of the worm too!

At the end of the trip, Ria shared with us her find of several fascinating Land hermit crabs (Coenobita sp.)! This pair was probably communicating with each other.

It's good that during this trip, I focused more on the rocks and seaweed that are usually overlooked. And they are full of life! And thank God for the clear weather despite the huge rains these days. Just on our way to Sentosa, there were drizzles and thunderclaps. But the sky cleared when we started the trip.

Unfortunately, we noticed an oil spill on one stretch of the shore. Hope the animals can survive these terrible things that happen to them. Sigh....

More finds of the day in my Flickr page:

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