Saturday, May 21, 2011

Changi shore is packed with life!

We are back at our all-time favourite Changi shore on a super low tide before sunrise. It sure was worth the waking up during wee hours because the shore is crowded and packed with marine life!

The tide was so low that the sea fans were exposed at the water edge. And living on the bright orange sea fan is a pretty little brittle star!

This is the sea fan (Order Gorgonacea) where the brittle star was found.

Here is another of the tiny colourful brittle star (Ophiotela danea) found on a red skinny sea fan. In fact, there were many of these brittle stars on the same sea fan!

Found among the Candy hydroids are these worm-like creatures. They are actually the Sponge synaptid sea cucumbers.

The synaptic sea cucumbers were also found even on top of this juvenile Cake sea stars (Anthenea aspera)!

More photos showing crowded marine life at Changi include this particular one where there is a Plain Sand star (Astropecten sp.) with two Hairy sea hares (Bursatella leachii). They seem to be attracted to the huge mats of the Asian date mussels (Musculista senhousia).

There are lots of sea cucumbers at Changi! In this photo are three Thorny sea cucumbers (Colochirus quadrangularis) and a Warty pink sea cucumber (Cercodemas anceps).

The purple sea cucumber found beside the Tiny carpet anemone (Stichodactyla tapetum) is still unidentified as of now.

On the left is a Cerianthid (Order Ceriantharia) which we commonly call as peacock anemones. However, they are not true sea anemones like the unidentified Tiger anemones on the right.

The cerianthids at Changi tend to have lots of Phoronid worms (Phoronis australis) beside them. I am not too sure what kind of relationship does the both harbour.

This trip revealed many Ball flowery soft corals on the shore which we do not see in the past. This is a good sign! Can you spot the sea star in this photo?

We saw a number of Seagrass octopuses and this particular one was seemingly trapped within the Asian date mussel mats.

At the deeper waters, I encountered hundreds of these Black sea urchins (Temnopleurus sp.) gathering on top of the mussel mats. The urchins could be feeding on the mussels!

There were a number of these crabs with knobs on their claws. I do not know what they are though.

I came across this Mangrove whipray (Himantura walga) that seems to be have been injured from the white colour portion of the ray. However, it could swam away when I drew closer.

The main reason why I love Changi beach will be the abundance of echinoderms. This rare sea star is the Luidia sand star (probably Luidia hardwicki).

More stars found during the trip include the Biscuit sea stars (Goniodiscaster scaber), Cake sea stars (Anthenea aspera), Painted sand stars (Astropecten sp.) and the orange-tipped Spiny sea star (Gymnanthenea laevis).

During this trip, I managed to see feathers stars for the first time at this stretch of shore. This is the black feather star .

And this blue feather star was clinging onto a hard surface when we first saw it.

Chay Hoon found a tiny pretty Pink sand dollar (Peronella lesueuri), which is another first for this stretch of Changi shore.

I was excited to find the Sea apple sea cucumber (Pseudocolochirus violaceaus) again at Changi! Though very pretty and brightly coloured, these sea cucumbers are extremely toxic when placed in an aquarium or tank.

Other interesting finds at this shore will be this Calf moon snail (Natica vitellus) which I have seen at Chek Jawa and Beting Bronok before.

There were at least four Estuarine seahorses (Hippocampus kuda) found and one of them (not the one in this photo) was a pregnant papa!

Chay Hoon pointed out to many of these Bushy slugs (Polybranchia orientalis) which seem to be in season on the shore. I did not see them at Beting Bronok though.

Last but not least, another sluggish find of this Volvatella slug (Volvatella sp.) with a shell. The smaller one is the male while the bigger one is the female. When disturbed, these slugs will release a white fluid, as seen in this photo.

There are many more finds that we encountered during the trip, which is hard for me to blog ALL of them.

Here is the link to photos of more creatures sighted:

1 comment:

Ria Tan said...

Many wonderful finds! Thanks for sharing!

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