Friday, June 11, 2010

Exciting Tioman intertidal shore

Another marine-related activity that one can do at Tioman other than snorkeling will be to explore the intertidal shore.

During a good low tide, the coral reefs will be exposed for a short period of time, which is why checking the tide timings are important. For once, I get to explore the shores during midnight. This is not really that possible in Singapore as our tides are usually during evening or morning.

The reef edge is very pretty, crowded with corals of all sorts!

One of the very common creatures found here at Tioman and not at Singapore will be the numerous of these sea cucumbers (Holothuria hilla) underneath rocks.

At the deeper ends, I came across this Greenish sea cucumber (Stichopus chloronotus) which is probably my personal first sighting of this species.

Acccording to this website, "members of the genus Stichopus also have an unusual defense mechanism where they can melt, becoming completely limp and eventually disintegrating all together if taken out of the water. However, if they are not too far gone, they have the ability to reverse this process and recover".

Just like the reefs at the deeper waters, the edge of the intertidal shore is speckled with many of the tiny Burrowing Giant Clams (Tridacna crocea).

Their mantle is very pretty in bright colour, composing of zooxanthellae that allows the clam to make food under sunlight.

There were a number of cowries found underneath rocks and a special one will be this Arabian cowrie (Cypraea arabica).

Another cowrie sighted will be this orange one that I'm not too sure of its identity.

Tioman is the only place for me personally to have seen the deadly cone snail alive! Of course no one dared to touch!

The only sea star find will be this cute juvenile Cushion star (Culcita novaeguinea) that Allen found!

There are quite a number of this Hatpin Urchin (Echinothrix calamaris) near the water edge. Thanks Ron for the id.

This colourful Decorator crab (Camposcia retusa) is named as such because it can snip off bits of sponges and seaweed or selects suitable shells and debris. These are then "decorated" and stuck firmly onto the fine, hooked hairs which densely cover its body and legs and thus act like the 'velcro' after which it is also named.

I've not seen a live puffer fish for sometime and was glad to have came across this!

Update: This is actually a porcupine fish! According to wikipedia, "they are sometimes confused with pufferfish. Porcupinefish are closely related to pufferfishes but porcupinefish have heavier spines (hence the name porcupine) on their body. Also unlike the pufferfishes, they have only a single plate of fused teeth in each of the upper and lower jaws". Thanks Ron for the correction.

Another fish that made us all excited will be this juvenile shark that was momentarily trapped within the intertidal area. It swam quickly into the deeper waters in a short while after we noticed the shark.

The top find of the day must be this flamboyant Spanish Dancer nudibranch. It is one of the biggest nudibranch in the world.

This nudibranch can swim for a short distance by unfolding its mantle and undulating its body in a rhythmical motion. As such, the rippling of its mantle edge gives the impression of the swirling skirts of a real spanish dancer!

This is the underside of the spanish dancer.

And from here you can guage its huge size from my body as a scale. Can you imagine we shouting in excitement when I sighted this? Hahaha!

This special slug indeed made the intertidal exploration worthwhile despite the swarm of sandflies!


樱之作~CherrieHandmade said...

Hello, are you just visited Tioman?
Hows the reefs condition there, since now all the corals around Malaysia and Some in Indonesia were bleaching. And I heard the Tioman corals are bleaching too...
Wait for your info, thx

Unknown said...

Yes, some parts were bleaching. Pls read my other post:

Unknown said...

I must experience this phenomenon. It’s awesome. I have planned a trip through Malaysia and will also stay at Tioman Island hotels.

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