Monday, June 6, 2011

Anemone hunt at Cyrene Reef

Today is Teamseagrass monitoring day! We had a wet morning which settled down to drizzles. This allowed us to land at Cyrene Reef to conduct our regular monitoring surveys on seagrass.

We were fortunate that Dr Daphne, world expert on sea anemones, could join us on this trip and we went on an anemone hunt after finishing our seagrass transects.

I was happy to be able to find this weird-looking sea anemone which we have never seen before!

Here's a look at this sea anemone with their tentacles. It has a white bumpy upper body column which runs down to a longish orange column. Dr Daphne commented that many people would identify this as Doflenia sp. But we will never know until she have a closer look at the specimen back in the lab. I do hope this can a new record for Singapore! :)

Ria found this anemone that looks like an Alicia sea anemone (Alicia sp.). We are not sure if it is exactly really an Alicia.

Dr Daphne was commenting on some of what we think are Haddon's carpet anemones (Stichodactyla haddoni). She explained that some of these carpet anemones do not have the long and short alternating tentacles at the circumference and therefore it could be something else, perhaps Giant carpet anemone (Stichodactyla gigantea)?

I was wondering could it be that this anemone is out of water, thus it does not show the distinctive long short tentacle feature of Haddon's carpet anemone.

This sea anemone is for sure the Haddon's carpet anemone (Stichodactyla haddoni) as it is well relaxed in the waters and the long and short alternating tentacles are evident at the circumference of the anemone.

I also found a Fire anemone (Actinodendron sp.) during the hunt! It was rather shrunk-like, perhaps due to the rain.

Ria showed me her find of this pretty Snaky sea anemone (Macrodactyla doreensis) that has snake-like and long tentacles.

The team found lots more other sea anemones and indeed today was fruitful!

While looking for nems, we could not avoid stumbling across many of these huge slugs. These are the Forskal's sidegill slugs (Pleurobranchus forskalii). They seem to be in season at Cyrene!

And beside many of these slugs are egg ribbons which I think belong to them.

Here is a look at another of this slug in the water with their tentacles near the head. These slugs are known to feed on ascidians, which are common on this shore. Can you see the greenish and roundish ascidians among the seagrasses in this photo?

There were also many of these slugs that were stranded out of water. This particular slug revealed its large single gill found on the right side between the mantle and the foot. Did you, like me, see something else in this photo?

I only paid attention to this white penis-looking structure while processing the photos at home! According to Dr Rudman, Pleurobranchus slugs open on the right side of the body just in front of the gill where their partly extended penis can be found.

Chay Hoon found a new record for our southern shores- the Bushy slug (Polybranchia orientalis)!

As usual, Cyrene Reef is a heaven for Knobbly sea stars (Protoreaster nodosus)!

And once in a while, we would stumble on weird-looking sea stars that resembles or are probably the Pentaceraster sea star (Pentaceraster mammilatus). This beige looking star was found by Chay Hoon.

While as for me, I found what I think is the smallest ever Common sea star (Archaster typicus) that I've ever came across.

A tiny heart urchin (Lovenia elongata) was spotted by Chay Hoon! It was really cute, especially when burrowing into the sand.

Chay Hoon also shared with me her find of this Feathery filefish (Chaetodermis penicilligerus) which I have not seen for some time already.

Among the sand bar, I found this Grey bonnet snail (Phalium glaucum).

To make the bonnet snail collection from the Family Cassidae more complete, Chay Hoon topped it up with this find of a tiny Japanese bonnet snail (Semicassis bisulcatum)!

Towards the end of the trip, I found this Trivirostra oryza (Family Triviidae) snail. It has a white shell but a beautiful mantle. It is my second time seeing this at Cyrene and my third time in our shores.

Other than the weird nem that I've found, the other top find of the day must be this bright red flatworm with purple fringe. I found this stunning flatworm among the sand and seagrass. It has a pair of tentacles and do look a bit like a sea slug. I do not know the identity of this flatworm though.

Here's a look at the underside. I'm totally mesmerized by this flatworm! Cyrene Reef has once again never failed to amaze us.

More photos of the trip here:


Neo Mei Lin (Dr.) said...

Hi KS!

I found the genus of the mystery slug... It's the Paraplanocera sp. (World Atlas of Marine Fauna). In the book, they have one individual found in Bali, looking exactly like yours!

You were also right about the 'head-tentacles'. Generally, flatworms can be classified in three categories: 1) head-tentacles, 2) pseudotentacles (e.g. Pseudobiceros sp.) and 3) absence of any tentacles (i.e. beige flatworm).

Cheers! :)

Kok Sheng said...

Wah! thks so much. So it's a flatworm after all hehe!!

ChaloklumDiving said...

We've seen your flatworm -

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