Saturday, May 15, 2010

Colourful St John's reef

It's been some time I've been to St John's reef to properly look at the corals at the edge.

Taking today's tide that is quite low, I had the opportunity to check out this colourful and rich coral reef edge that is jam-packed with corals and other lifeforms.

There are many corals near the edge such as the abundant Blue coral (Heliopora coerulea) and sponges. If you are sharp, you can also see three circular mushroom corals as well as a Red egg crab (Atergatis integerrimus).

The richness and colourful reef of this tiny stretch of St John's reminds me of the one we came across at Big Sister's Island.

More corals, zoanthids and sponges crowd this area of the reef. And I was delighted to find an uncommon coral among here.

And that would be the Brain anchor coral (Euphyllia ancora).

This coral can produce long sweeper tentacles that can sting powerfully. These tentacles keep the area near the colony clear of other competing animals such as other corals and encrusting organisms. Their tentacles are white tipped with a U-shape.

Here is a nice assortment of the colourful sponges that encrust the reef substrate.

Apart from the usual species of crabs that can be found, I like this reddish coloured crab that probably is the Red-eyed reef crab (Eriphia ferox).

James had a pleasant surprise as he encountered brightly coloured Saron shrimp (Family Hippolytidae)! We think that this shrimp can change colour accordingly to the environment and lighting based on our observations at Tanah Merah.

Another creature that can change colour must be this intelligent octopus.

There were a few varieties of flatworms spotted today, out from which my favourite will be this Blue-lined flatworm (Pseudoceros sp.).

Nudibranch surprises for the day include this juvenile Blue dragon Nudibranch (Pteraeolidia ianthina). I like the light blue tinge as compared to the ones in purple or brown.

As I was looking at a flatworm by bending down, my eyes landed on this weird-looking slug that I've not seen before! Wow! It could be something new. Chay Hoon suggested that it could be either Discodoris mauritiana or Peltodoris murrea.

This slug has a translucent greyish white with light purplish grey patches often with a darker spot in each patch.

Chay Hoon, the "slug queen" found a number of these slugs that are really super small! They are possibly Volvatella sp..

There is quite a fair amount of bloom of the Hairy green seaweed (Bryopsis sp.). Among which are tiny creatures such a crabs, brittlestars, amphipods and the Bryopsis slugs (Placida dendritica).

Geraldine was really fortunately to have spotted this huge Hollow-cheeked stonefish (Synanceia horrida) just before she placed her footing down there! Indeed, this made us very careful in our explorations.

Very soon, the sun rose with a "power-failure sunrise" and as the tide returns we checked out the sandy lagoon. As for me, I had a quick first time look at the deeper end of the lagoon where it connects to the sea.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...