Friday, February 4, 2011

Lunar New Year Day 1: St John's Island

Happy Lunar New Year to everyone!

It is also the period when tides also gets low, since the tides are largely affected by the gravitational pull between the earth and the moon. I can clearly remember my first offshore low tide trip to Big Sisters, which was during Chinese New Year 4 years ago. It was an eye-opening trip, which made me continue visiting our pretty shores till now.

Our destination of the day was St John's Island. On the background is the cityscape. The boat was fast and we reached the island in less than 15 minutes!

The tide was much higher than expected and thus I stayed a little longer at the higher zonation of the sandy lagoon. The lagoon has lots of Spoon seagrasses (Halophila ovalis). Living among these green mats are lots of other creatures. One of the more interesting finds will be this Elbow crab (Family Parthenopidae).

The Moon crab (Family Matutidae) is one crab who will quickly dig into the sand to hide itself from predators and human beings like me. Haha.

With my raynox add on macro lens, I finally got a sharper photo of the tiny 'Strawberry slug' (Costasiella sp.) which lived in the green Sea fan seaweed (Avrainvillea sp.).

Apparently, there seems to be two version of the strawberry slugs. Are they different morphs or different species?

Near to those tiny slugs, James pointed out to me not just one but three of these anemones! Previously thought to named as Edwardsia hantuensis, the identity of this anemone is probably still undecided.

According to Dr Daphne, sea anemone expert, the name E. hantuensis is unavailable as it was created provisionally. In other words, more studies have to be done in order to confirm the identity of this species.

Somehow, I stumbled across many different types of longish worms throughout the trip. Being rather clueless to these creatures, I wasn't able to really identity them.

Here is another worm that I have seen quite regularly on Pasir Ris before. They seem to like silty substrates.

Underneath rocks at the natural reefs of St John's, I found this really long and skinny Ribbon worm crawling across an ascidian.

Here is another type of ribbon worm, which Ria named as the Red ribbon worm. Though rather harmless they are, ribbon worms are voracious predators. They can prey on other worms, crustaceans and molluscs.

To end off the series of worms, here is another one that has orange ends.

James found an anemone that we do not exactly know its identity. From far, this anemone that is shrunk into the crevice looks a bit like the Phymanthus sea anemone or the Pizza anemone.

On closer observation, we realized that it does not look like either of them. They have bulb-like tentacles with dots on each of them. We suspect this fellow to be the elusive Merten's carpet anemone (Stichodactyla mertensii).

James also found this Frilly sea anemone (Phymanthus sp.) that has yellow and blue tentacles. From far, it camouflages well with the sand though.

This T shaped thing found by Stephen is a bivalve, we call it the Hammer oyster (Malleus sp.).

Just seconds after I lamented to Chay Hoon for the lack of flatworms, my "golden mouth" granted my wish true with the find of this pretty flatworm. It is probably the Red-tipped flatworm (Pseudoceros bifurcus).

Ria later also found another flatworm underneath a rock. This tiny flatworm is the Blue-spotted flatworm (Pseudoceros indicus).

We came across two species of sea cucumber underneath rocks. The dark purple sea cucumber is the Little African sea cucumber (Afrocucumis africana). We are not too sure on the identity of the white one.

Here is another sea cucumber of the white kind. Ria and Chay Hoon was suspecting this sea cucumber looks similar to that of the Remarkable sea cucumber (Holothuria notabilis). Could this be the juvenile version?

There were a couple of cowrie finds such as this Ovum cowrie (Cypraea ovum).

But the best cowrie find must be this large Arabian cowrie (Cypraea arabica) that is not commonly sighted on our shores. Thanks to Russel for finding it!

Unfortunately at many parts of the world, the shells of these charismatic cowries have been collected for sale as tourist souvenirs.

Here is a side view of this pretty cowrie with its body coming out of the shell.

The tide was much higher than expected and I wondered why this happened. Could it be due to the recent heavy rain or the strong wind that we encountered throughout the trip? Hopefully, we will have better tide and weather conditions this evening on our Sister's Island visit (at the background of this photo).

More photos of the trip here:

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...