Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Another night out at Tanah Merah

It's the last trip of the low tide season this week and Tanah Merah seems to be a great destination that is worth many visits especially at night where the animals are more active.

Thanks to Ron for pointing out, I get to see these pretty little Soft coral false cowrie (Family Ovulidae) on the Spiky flowery soft corals. I previously didn't know that the false cowries can also be found on these soft corals as well.

Here's another soft coral that is white in colour. How many false cowries can you find here? Great if you can find all the three of them in this photo.

Here's two of the three false cowries together from the above soft coral.

Their shells are white with three blotchy orange bars while the pretty mantle is transparent with irregular blotches or projections. These snails look gorgeous underwater!

Another pretty snail found will be this small Pink moon snail where its shell is actually more orange in colour. The foot of this snail has a pattern of white bars and orange spots.

During the incoming and outgoing tides, the not-so-low tides allowed us to have a look at the elegant Peacock anemones (Order Ceriantharia) underwater with their tentacles extended out.

The peacock anemone is a large, solitary polyp that burrows in soft ground and lives permanently in a tube. So it is also sometimes called the tube anemone or the burrowing anemone.

Here is another peacock anemone underwater. As you can see here, the peacock anemone has two types of tentacles. An outer ring of long graceful tentacles which help gather food from the water and an inner ring of shorter tentacles that can tuck food into their mouth.

The Haddon's carpet anemone (Stichodactyla haddoni) can be sometimes resided by the pretty little Five-spot anemone shrimps (Periclimenes brevicarpalis).

Here's another Haddon's carpet anemone on the left (though there's no commensal shrimp) and a small transparent-looking anemone on the right.

On a closer look, the small anemone is actually the Striped bead anemone.

Looking like anemones, these animals are actually worms and they are called Fan worms (Family Sabellidae). Fan worms live in a flexible, leathery tube. Some fan worms have eye spots on their tentacles to detect movement. Fan worms will slip instantly into their tubes at the slightest sign of danger.

Within the lagoon, once in a while we will come across small colonies of hard corals that has been recruited in like this uncommon Acropora coral (Acropora sp.). Hope it will grow up to become a larger colony here!

Tanah Merah is a fish haven. One of the many fish sighted will be this Painted scorpionfish (Parascorpaena picta). This species is quite commonly sighted on this shore.

This stranded False scorpionfish (Centrogenys vaigiensi), as its name suggests, is not a true scorpionfish. It belongs to the Family Serranidae which includes the groupers. True scorpionfishes belong to the Family Scorpaenidae. Unlike scorpionfishes, the false scorpionfish does not have spines on its head.

As we were looking at the high shores, we noticed several fish that were also stranded like the above False scorpionfish, the pinkish-yellow Lined cardinalfish (Cheilodipterus sp.) and the silver one which I don't know its identity.

I saw three of these juvenile Striped eeltail catfish (Plotosus lineatus) together and wondered where are their siblings since they usually swim together in a "ball" with many of them.

Here's a bigger individual of the Striped eeltail catfish that was stranded in a tidal pool. It was still alive.

But not for fortunate for this much bigger catfish, it was dead and can you see the swimming crab on the top right hand corner of the photo feeding on the fish?

The special fish find of the day will be this Large-tooth flounder (Family Paralichthyidae). Large-tooth flounders hunt animals and fishes living on the bottom of the sea. They can swim quickly and are active during the day. It is quite well camouflaged with the surroundings!

An interesting fact of this fish is that both eyes of the flounder is only found on the left side of the body. The mouth is large, filled with teeth and many have enlarged canine teeth.

The eyed side is usually speckled with spots of various sizes and matches the colour of its sandy surroundings. I am not too sure if this particular structure has any function to the flounder.

While walking on the high shore, I spotted this living Scallop (Family Pectinidae) that immediately closed its valves upon our presence. It probably swam itself here by accident since they are not residents of the higher shores.

There are many crabs on the shore and one of them is the Spotted moon crab (Ashtoret lunaris).

Another crab that has more stories to tell will be the Velcro crab (Camposcia retusa). It is named as a Velcro crab as it has the ability of the velcro to attached bits and pieces of stuffs on its body so that it can be well camouflaged with the surrounding, especially when motionless.

Taking a look of the underside, finally could see its claws: signs of it being a crab!

There were quite a number of the very long Synaptic sea cumuber. Synaptid sea cucumbers don't have tube feet. Instead, they may stick to things with tiny hooked sclerites that poke out of their soft bodies. This is why they may stick to our hands if we touch them. Sometimes it can hurt us too so please refrain from touching them.

Here's a nice gallery of the different number of arms of Common sea stars (Archaster typicus). A 3-arm, 4-arm, normal 5-arm and a pair of stars having intimate moments.

Last but not least, our favourite flatworms! Here's the Orange-edged black flatworm (Pseudobiceros uniarborensis).

Ron found this large and very beautiful Brown striped flatworm (Pseudobiceros gratus)!

And I came across several tiny individuals of what seems to be the Starry flatworms (Pseudobiceros stellae).

Though it was a long 4-hr trip walking the great distances of the long long shore, it was worth it with the company of friends: Ron, James and Chun Fong.

Now time to get back to work as the new year starts with lots of workload beckoning. Can't wait for the next series of low tides where I can escape from "reality".


nadz ruslan said...

thaks for the info.

can you suggest me any area i can do the same activity in malaysia? im thinking of sugessting it to my elective group members as we will conduct a research.

can you brief me bit on the requirements/ any person/organization i can refer to


Unknown said...

Hi, Sorry I do not visit the shores in Malaysia so I can't help you specifically on who to approach or where exactly to go. All I can advice you are general tips on visiting a shore during low tide. Check out the below two links.

Hope this helps.

rEpEntancE13 said...

Which part of Tanah Merah is the richest in marine biodiversity? I want to see the marine life there

Unknown said...

Replied to your Changi comment

rEpEntancE13 said...

Thanks, I'm more interested at mainland shores at the moment. But I couldn't find Tanah Merah on wildsingapore. I didn't even know Tanah Merah had such amazing marine life until I saw your blog!

Unknown said...

Have you read the url on my post I left on the Changi comment page? If yes, you will know why.

leave me your email if you want to discuss further.

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