Friday, May 28, 2010

My first trip to Pulau Tekukor

It's my first time visiting the island of spectacular natural coastline which I was previously exclaiming about! I'm able to set foot on Tekukor with the permit for Mei Lin's giant clam project. Otherwise, this island is actually closed to the public.

One of the interesting things of the day's trip will be the numerous number of fishes in the tide pools. Probably my first time seeing so many of them!

Most of the fishes here are actually juvenile Rabbitfishes (Family Siganidae). I saw bigger ones at the reef edge!

Not only are there lots of rabbitfishes, I saw many other types of fishes like carpet eel blenny, toadfishes, filefishes, false scorpionfishes, gobies etc etc. It's truly a fishy predawn shore trip!

Another type of fish can also be found living among this Giant carpet anemone (Stichodactyla gigantea).

It was exciting to find many of the baby False clown anemonefishes (Amphiprion ocellaris) on this carpet anemone. They are really cute!!

Another type of fish that finds security in numbers will be these juvenile Striped eeltail catfish (Plotosus lineatus). They usually swim together in a "ball" with many of their fellow mates.

Another distinct feature of this island's shore will be many of these Long black sea cucumber (Holothuria leucospilota). They are pretty common especially at the higher rocky area.

Since our trip today was at an unearthly predawn dark hours, many of these Brittle stars (Subclass Ophiuroidea) were out roaming.

After hearing so much about Tekukor from Ria and company from their previous trip that I missed, it is well established that Tekukor is well carpeted with many of the Zoanthids. They can be quite colourful though. In the middle of the mat of zoanthids is a yellow sponge.

There were quite a number of flatworms spotted today but my favourite one will be this pretty Red-tipped flatworm (Pseudoceros bifurcus).

A shy animal that is more active at night will be these Snapping shrimps (Family Alpheidae). As their name suggests, they are the creator of the snapping sounds you hear on a shore.

Wow, I was surprised to find this really huge Two-spot reef octopus out relaxing with all arms outwards. They were other smaller ones found along the shore as well.

How about crabs? Are there many types of crabs in Tekukor? The answer is YES!

Moving over to anemones, I found what seems to be the rare Leathery anemone (Heteractis crispa)! It is quite small though.

The leathery anemones have coloured tips on their snakey-like tentacles. In addition, they have bumpy prominent verrucae on their whitish body column.

I think this anemone is the top find of the day for me! :)

Other more commonly found anemones will be the different types of Frilly sea anemones (Phymanthus sp.) with different patterns and colours.

I also spotted a Shy glass peacock anemone that I've not seen for some time on our reefs. Maybe because it's quite transparent in nature, making it cryptic.

Hard corals are not so spectacular on this shore though there are still a bit of variety like the Flowery disk coral (Turbinaria sp.) on the left and Pore corals (Porites sp.). on the right.

At some spots, there are quite huge boulders of the Favid hard corals (Family Faviidae). They make good photos to take with the spectacular natural coastal cliffs of Tekukor!

Yes, by this time, the sun has risen over the horizon revealing a very nice sunrise!

Even Chay Hoon, from far, also took out her camera to take some photos of the glorious sunrise!

Last but not least, I went to have a look at the rocky area at the higher shore and a flip of a rock revealed lots of life hiding beneath! They include sea cucumbers, snails, cowries and bivalves!

Wedged in between rocks are also some of the big Giant top shell snail (Trochus niloticus).

Also hiding underneath another rock are a baby Dwarf turban snails (Turbo bruneus) and a pretty Blue-spotted flatworm (Pseudoceros indicus).

Just before the trip ended, I had a pleasant find of a greenish Chiton!

The natural rock formations of the island is really charming. Not sure if I have a chance to come back again.

I'm relieved that the giant oil spill has not affected this shore yet as of today. However, the latest news we got is that it has hit Changi and Chek Jawa. Oh dear! :(

Hope it won't reach the southern islands.

More photos of the trip here:

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