Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Back to Changi's lively rocky shore

After more than a year of absence, I'm glad to be back on the rocky shores of Changi!

Other than echinoderms, sea slugs and flatworms, sea fans are also one of my most favourite marine organism. It's amazing to see how a mainland shore at Changi can be home to many pretty sea fans.

On this bright orange Skinny sea fan are many tiny colourful brittlestars!

The colourful tiny brittlestars have very pretty colours and bands. They love to curl around the sea fans which can be their hosts.

There are also the Candelabra sea fans and Gnarled sea fans found on Changi's rocky shore. They look very gorgeous underwater with their polyps extended out.

Here is a colourful assortment of sea fans with a Fan-bellied filefish (Monacanthus chinensis) hiding among the marine garden.

Not only are there many sea fans, there are even more hydroids all over the shore! Some species of hydroids can sting very badly, which is why we need to wear longs on such trips.

The Candelabra sea fans are usually very thick!

Here's a closer look of the pretty white polyps of the sea fan.

Not only are there lots of hydroids and sea fans, there's also plentiful of purple branching sponges (Callyspongia sp.) on this shore! And they can be home to hermit crabs like this.

Or even a huge Stone crabs (Myomenippe hardwicki)!

Here's yet another filefish that hides among the branches of the sponge.

First time encounter for me on this shore will be the Ball flowery soft coral. Beside the soft coral is a colourful Flowery sea pen as well as feeding tentacles of a buried sea cucumber.

Even the Pink flowery soft corals (Family Nephtheidea) were also spotted today!

On some parts of the shore, the ever so tough Zebra coral (Oulastrea crispata) can be found in huge patches encrusted on hard surfaces.

I was puzzled at what is the id of this encrusting red organism. At the centre is a cave coral (Tubastrea sp.).

This Blue swimming crab (Thalamita sp.) has living barnacles on its carapace! Haha!

And I caught this pair of Flower crabs (Portunus pelagicus) red handed! They are making love to create more of their species.

Ria showed me her fantastic find of this tiny Estuarine moray eel (Gymnothorax tile). It is very cute but shy too.

Along the trip, I encountered quite a number of these Blue spotted flatworms (cf Pseudoceros indicus). Too bad no other species of flatworms was sighted today.

Once in a while, we will also see feathery feeding tentacles belong of sea cucumbers. So what can of sea cucumbers does these tentacles belong to?

My guess will be this fellow- the Beige sea cucumber.

The top find of the day will be the four Feather stars (Order Comatulida) that I spotted. Heres's the first one.

A slightly greenish second feather star which is a bit smaller in size.

And the third one which is curled up like this. The fourth feather star was found hanging on a rock at super deep end so I couldn't go nearer to take a photograph.

I'm thankful for the clear waters that we encounter this morning which is not common for Changi. And this rocky shore is still very much alive!

Ria and I did a mini shore cleanup to remove abandoned drift nets and bubu traps so that the shore will not suffer unnecessarily.

More photos of the trip here:

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