Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Predawn to Changi Beach

The long series of super low tides are here again! This time I am going to embrace 7 consecutive days of morning trips. The first trip was our visit to Changi Beach this morning. We started and ended the trip before sunrise!

Our main objective of the day was to check out for anemones as Dr Daphne is around for the Sea anemone workshop.

One of the still unidentified sea anemones would be what we commonly call as the Tiger anemone or the Strawberry anemone.

Another sea anemone that Dr Daphne is interested would be this Peachia anemone (Peachia sp.).

Recently we have been paying attention to this unknown anemone which we call as the Ball tip anemones. Dr Daphne thinks they might be corallimorphs. They are known to be attached to hard surfaces like rocks.

Interestingly, today we came across many of these Ball-tip anemones buried in the sand and Chay Hoon even found one on the seagrass blade.

While searching for sea anemones, we were distracted by the other rich marine life that Changi is home to. Like the beautiful pink flowery soft coral (Family Nephtheidae) on the right and a sea fan (Order Gorgonacea) on the left.

In fact, the rocky shore has lots of sea fans sticking out of the water during the lowest tide.

Sea fans are also home to other creatures growing on them. Can you spot a orangey snail among the yellow sea fan?

Here is a closer look at one of the special snails. This is the Spindle cowrie snail (Family Ovulidae). It was doing a 180 degree turn in front of me! Haha.

Ovulids are carnivorous and prey on sea fans by biting off the polyps. Can you see some parts of the above sea fan have been "chomped" off?

Here is a prettier ovulid snail that has its mantle nicely expanded when submerged in water.

This third ovulid snail that I came across has its pretty mantle covering all of its shell despite being out of water. How nice!

Sea fans are also home to lots of tiny colourful brittle stars (Ophiotela danea) that coil around them.

Here is a closer look at some of these pretty and tiny brittle stars.

I also came across the rare Winged oyster (Family Pteriidae) among the deeper sea fans.

In addition to the many sea fans, I also came across a couple of the long and thicker sea whip! Sea whips are not commonly seen intertidally.

Among the rocky habitats are lots of sponges and on these sponges are many wormy creatures. They are actually not worms but sea cucumbers. To be specific, this is the sponge synaptid sea cucumber.

Aha! Though I was not really looking out for them, I still was able to see one Feather star (Order Comatulida). Good to know they are still there.

This brightly coloured sea star is called the Crown sea star (Asterina coronata). We sometimes also call this sea star as the Rock star as they are usually found on or under a rock. Amusingly, the three rock stars I've seen today were not found near or on a rock but among the seagrasses. It is strange that I did not see any of them when I was flipping rocks to check.

Crown sea stars or rock stars can come in different colours and this is the brown form of the same species.

There were, as usual, many Biscuit seastars (Goniodiscaster scaber), both big and small on Changi.

There was this Garlic bread sea cucumber (Holothuria scabra) "hugging" around the shells of a dead Fan clam (Family Pinnidae). That's not all, can you see a crab within the shells? Haha.

While walking on the shore, I saw this weird long and thick creature waving in mid air. Upon sensing my presence or through the light from the torch, it immediately burrowed itself into the soft ground. I initially thought this is a peanut worm but it seems to be something else (based on column pattern and its much larger size). I am not sure what it is exactly!

As it was dark, the octopuses were happy to "party" around the shore. Hehe.

I like this photo with a Swimming crab (Thalamita sp.) beside a Miliaris cowrie (Cypraea miliaris).

A special find of today's trip will be this baby pufferfish looking fish. It is very cute!!

More photos of the trip here:

1 comment:

Ivan said...

You sure that wasn't some sea cucumber? ;-P

I'm wondering if that mysterious burrowing 'worm' might be an echiuran or spoon worm. Those in the genus Urechis look quite similar...

It's almost like a worm pretending to be a sea cucumber.

Apparently they're eaten in Korea... yuck.

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