Saturday, January 22, 2011

Punggol shore is alive!

Punggol shore is a surprise to me, at least! I used to have the mentality that shores beyond the north of Loyang and Pasir Ris will not be as lively as Changi and other nearby shores.

I remember from my old textbook, "Singapore's Biophysical Environment", that Punggol Point is one of the few localities in Singapore (together with P. Tekong and P. Sajahat) to have Sajahat Formation as its basic rock unit. This may explain why the shore looks a bit similar to that of Beting Bronok of Tekong and has more life than I expected.

Among some special finds of the day, we saw this stunning Rose nudibranch (Dendrodoris fumata) which was spotted during our previous trip too. Thanks to James for finding it!

This Three-spined toadfish (Batrachomoeus trispinosus) has a very cute face, with shiny eyes and a broad wide grin. :)

Similar to our debut trip, this shore though small, has what I think the most number of brittle stars as compared to other shores of Singapore. They are easily found even during the day, since these critters usually lurk out more in the dark.

Sadly (but not to be too greedy), the only sea star species on this shore is the Rock star (Asterina coronata). I saw quite a number of them. Hopefully we can stumble more species on this shore in the future.

Nevertheless, there were a couple of first records for sea cucumbers such as this Purple sea cucumber (Family Cucumariidae) that we usually see at our northern shores.

I was thrilled to see this lone Sponge synaptid sea cucumber on Punggol. These cucumbers usually come in large numbers, so I find it weird that this fellow is alone.

James is very fascinated with tiny critters and he has took lots of great photos of them in his blog. Punggol is a great shore to look for tiny stuffs. If you squat down and stare at the ground for some time, one can start seeing lots of living things moving around. I came across this tiny worm that has a body with shiny surface. Looks quite cool!

There are also a couple of crabs that I do not exactly know what their identities are.

More unidentified findings will be some of these red shrimps. After checking it out online, they might be Cleaner shrimps (Lysmata sp.).

Why are they called cleaner shrimps? According to Wildfact sheets, many members of the genus Lysmata 'clean' other sea creatures such as fishes. These 'clients' often patiently queue up at a 'cleaning station' manned by the shrimp to enjoy the cleaning service. The fishes get rid of dead skin and external parasites, while the shrimp gets a meal. That's interesting!

More animals that I've only seen at Punggol will be this Encrusting snails (Vermetus sp.) which looks like hard casts from worms. However, these snails have a trap door or an operculum at the end of the hole to prevent predator invasion or stress from the environment.

James pointed a cute tiny Banded hermit crab where its shorter antennae and eye stalks are striped blue and orange.

Nearby is yet another Banded hermit crab that looks slightly different without the orange and blue bands.

Another special find will be this sea anemone that I've never seen before! The size is somewhat similar to that of the peacock anemones but it is not one. It has dark maroon bumps on its body column and dark red tentacles that were tucked in since it was found out of water.

We tried to put it into the deeper waters and this was the best shot I could get in the rather murky and splashy waters. I believe this is the same red anemone that Siyang saw in 2009 during his trip.

Similar to previous trip, there were many different species of colourful sponges on this tiny shore. Unfortunately, there were people collecting sponges and other marine life just like what we saw in Changi and other mainland shores.

Sometimes I wonder does blogging of these accessible locations attract the wrong kind of crowd. I hope that blogging to spread awareness that indeed we have splendid marine life in Singapore is worthwhile. In the end, we conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught - Baba Dioum

More photos of the trip here:

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