Friday, June 24, 2011

Echinoderm haven at Sanur shore of Bali

Earlier this month, I was at Bali for my first time and one of the most anticipated itinerary event would be the self exploratory walk on the intertidal shores of Sanur. I was inspired to take a look at this huge shore after reading Ron's blog post and knowing that this place is an echinoderm haven!

The seagrasses on this shore is really lush and cover a huge expanse of the intertidal area. There are many kinds of sea stars found here such as this Pentaceraster sea star (Pentaceraster sp.).

Like Semakau and Cyrene Reef of Singapore, Sanur shore also has many Knobbly Sea Stars (Protoreaster nodosus).

The Luzon Sea Stars (Echinaster Luzonicus) are very common on this shore. This is one of the many species of echinoderm that do not occur in our Singapore waters.

I am not too sure if this similar looking sea star in black is also a Luzon sea star.

When we were at Lovina in the morning, we saw many of these blue stars (Linckia laevigata) at the snorkeling subtidal area from the boat as the water was clear. I tried looking for this big blue star throughout the trip and was excited to find it towards the end of the trip.

It is a huge sea star!! Compare the size of it with my palm.

Another sea star species that I have seen on this shore is this Nippled star (Gomphia sp.).

I was quite thrilled to spot this rather small sea star in red and pink! Though the top looks like a that of a juvenile knobbly sea star, the underside seems to look more like those of a pentaceraster sea star.

The Cushion stars (Culcita novaeguinea) can also be found in Singapore's southern waters. But they are so pretty that I couldn't resist taking nice photos of them.

Here is another cushion star in orange and red coloration. Very suitable for Chinese New Year in my opinion haha!

Underneath a rock, I found this particular one arm of a sea star. It looks like it belongs to Linckia multiflora. This species of sea star is able to regenerate back the other four arms from this piece of arm. So let's hope that this star will be able to survive.

Other than asteroids or sea stars, the shore is also littered with brittle stars! And I really mean littered!!

Here are two pretty brittle stars that I would like to show on this post. This green coloured brittle star is probably Ophiarachna incrassata.

Here is a pinkish orange brittle star that has weird looking extensions from their arms. It looks totally alien to me.

Moving on from brittle stars and sea stars, here are the Black Long-spined Sea Urchins (Diadema setosum) which are so so abundant on this shore. It is definitely not a good idea to walk barefooted here or to snorkel during a low neap tide. I especially adore this photo taken with corals and sunset.

This photo shows you the huge number of the black urchins you can find in a tide pool.

The next most common sea urchin species on Sanur will probably be the Matha's Sea Urchin (Echinometra mathaei). They can come in different colours.

The Double Spined Sea Urchin (Echinothrix calamaris) was not as commonly found. I only saw one or two during my exploration.

Almost all of the Cake Urchins (Tripneustes gratilla) that I have seen on the shore were the remains of the test of dead individuals. Their spines look like they have just been recently dead. This particular urchin in the photo is one of the rarer living ones.

What are these longish white threads sticking out of the ground? At first I thought these were defensive threads expelled from stressed sea cucumbers. Actually they are the tentacles of a Spaghetti Worm (Family Terebellidae).

Among the seagrasses, there are many interesting creatures swimming and crawling about, such as this moray eel.

This snail looks similar to our Noble volute (Cymbiola nobilis) but definitely is not one. I am not sure of its identity.

It is interesting to see many fishermen fishing directly on the huge tide pools! As I was walking around, one of them tried to wave at me while another greeted me in Japanese. That was weird. Haha. As I was alone, I decided to ignore them. There was also a lady showing me her find of the Tiger cowrie (Cypraea tigris). When I asked if I could take a photo, she asked for money. Of course I declined and walked away.

Later on, I walked closer to the reef edge and viola! I entered into another habitat altogether. This is the coral reef of Sanur.

As the waves at Southern Bali are strong and huge, that probably explains for the smaller growths of corals than expected.

I stumbled upon this brown sea cucumber which looks like the Mauritian sea cucumber (Actinopyga mauritiana).

Surprise! I found my own living Tiger cowrie (Cypraea tigris) after all! It is definitely a beauty and a living snail definitely beats the dead ones sold at souvenir shops.

And surprise surprise! I found a huge slug and it is none other than the flamboyant Spanish Dancer nudibranch (Hexabranchus sanguineus). This is my second time seeing this nudibranch. The first was at the intertidal shore of Tioman.

When I posted this finding on twitter and facebook "Saw Spanish dancer nudi again! :) at intertidal shore of Sanur, Bali", Marcus Chua replied "Kok Sheng! If people didn't know better, they may think you saw a nude Spanish dancer on the beach in Bali!". This is hilarious!

The Spanish dancer nudibranch can swim for a short distance by unfolding its mantle and undulating its body in a rhythmical motion. As such, the rippling of its mantle edge gives the impression of the swirling skirts of a real spanish dancer! It is a huge sea slug and you can tell from the size of my palm again.

My other friends were also on the shore and they saw a weird looking blackish but real pretty sea star. Till now, the identity of that sea star is still a mystery as they did not bring any camera.

Nevertheless, Sanur is really a place echinoderm lovers must visit and I am definitely going back there again in the future. Hopefully to dive during that time too.

More photos of the exploration at Sanur here:


ChrisM said...

I think your orange-pinkish brittle star is Ophiomastix

Unknown said...

Thanks Chris!!

s.t.a.r.g.a.z.e.r said...

Interesting! Make me want to go Bali too... Thanks for sharing this wonderful post! =)

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