Thursday, October 14, 2010

Seahorses suprise at Changi

On Monday evening, I had the honor to introduce our spectacular Changi shores to Jillian and Benjamin. It was their first time visiting Singapore's shores during low tide! Awaiting us were seahorses surprise later on during the trip!

We first had a look at a rocky shore. From far, most people would deem such rocky areas to be smelly and void of life. But that is wrong! In fact, the rocky habitat rocks big time. Haha!

There were so many living organisms that we came across such as the cowries, small and big crabs of various species, whelks, snails, sponges, zebra corals, sea squirts etc etc.

And of course the rocky shore is home to the ROCK star. Also known as the Crown sea stars (Asterina coronata), their mottled coloration help the stars to camouflage against the rocks.

Unfortunately, we also experienced first hand how harmful abandoned fishing lines can be. There was a moon crab badly entangled amongst the lines. Glad that Ben was very helpful and keen to save the crab from torture. It was great to see the fellow freed! Thanks Ben.

And followed which, we saw not only one but four Estuarine seahorses (Hippocampus kuda) during the trip! Wow, that's really a treat! :)

The second seahorse was much smaller and was clinging tightly onto the Thorny sea cucumber (Colochirus quadrangularis).

Ben develops a keen eye for details after some time of shore exploration and spotted this third seahorse which is very small, in brown, and also very very cute. However, this seahorse was completely stranded out of water. Thus, I later brought it into a nearby pool.

I came across this fourth brightly coloured papa seahorse that is pregnant! Can you see the huge belly? Hehe! Weird but true, it is the male seahorse that carries the eggs in his body (laid by the female using a tube) and thus becomes 'pregnant'.

The shore was full of all sorts of sea cucumbers that evening! The most abundant of all will be the Thorny sea cucumbers (Colochirus quadrangularis).

But the strangest cucumber will be this unknown pink one. I saw quite a number of them during the trip. Their feeding tentacles from the mouth are quite prominent.

Whereas, the most abundant sea star species will go to the Biscuit sea stars (Gonodiscaster scaber).

Sad to say, just like my April's trip, I noticed there were much fewer sea stars on this shore this year as compared to previous years. I hope this is not a sign of declining health on the shore but a seasonal reflection on the sea stars.

Another species of star that we saw during the trip will be this Painted Sand star (Astropecten sp.). They are quite spiny to the touch though.

Another species of sea star spotted will be this juvenile Cake sea star (Anthenea aspera). I was actually wanting to find the bigger individual of this species.

And after much searching, I was thrilled to find this huge Cake sea star towards the end of the trip!

So much on the echinoderms (mainly sea cucumbers and sea stars), Changi shore is also home to other marine creatures.

Such as this tiny little Kite butterflyfish (Parachaetodon ocellatus).

Anemone-wise, I finally get to witness for the first time this unidentified sea anemone with bright orange body column. Ria has also seen it this year and in 2007.

Another sea anemone that I have no idea what it is will be this individual with greyish body column that is dotted.

During this particular trip, we came across some washed up marine life such as this bright yellow colony of Knobbly soft coral (Carijoa sp.) which we previously mistook as knobbly sea fan.

Within the colony of this knobbly soft coral are plenty of living organisms such as a greenish brittlestar and a sea squirt.

That's not all. Also tucked among the soft corals are clams. In additon, more brittlestars as well as cute little porcelain crabs smiling at us. Haha!

It was puzzling to see quite a number of these Ball flowery soft corals at the splash zone. They were all uprooted from probably the deeper waters. I have not seen these soft corals at this shore before in the past. I wonder what had happen that led to several of these soft corals to be washed up.

I took the opportunity to have a closer look and was excited to find a very tiny yet stunning Soft coral false cowrie (Family Ovulidae). Tiny colourful brittlestars were also found.

Also accompanying the trip will be the beautiful sunset. There was even a partial rainbow but I regretfully didn't take a photo of that. Haha!

More photos of the trip here:


Francis & Lindai said...

Hi, I would like to bring the kids to explore the beach. Please advice which stretch of Changi beach is this and where should I park the car. thanks. Lindai

Unknown said...

Hi Lindai, you may want to check this link :)

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