Saturday, July 2, 2011

Anemone hunt at Seringat-Kias

It's the weekend and I'm out on the shores again with our sea anemone expert Dr Dahpne and the anemone army. Instead of looking for sea anemones on a natural shore, we headed for the reclaimed sandy shore of Seringat Kias. You are so wrong if you think that reclaimed shores are dead as life does creep back!

Indeed, we found quite a number of burrowing sea anemones in the sand! For identification purposes, we tagged the sea anemones with labels when photographing them. This will great help matching of photos with specimens back in the lab.

There are quite a good variety of sea anemones spotted during the trip.

Here is how one of the anemones look like with their body column. Don't you think it looks like a vase? Haha.

This flowery looking creature looks like a sea anemone but it is not! These are Cerianthid (Order Ceriantharia) with a small mouth. While sea anemones belong to Order Actiniaria, cerianthids are not true anemones and belong to Order Ceriantharia. The latter has an outer ring of longer tentacles and an inner ring of much shorter tentacles.

There were quite a number of these olive and black flatworms found on the seagrasses.

Here is another one found in the same habitat but is almost completely black with some speckles of white dots.

This one looks like a combination of the above two. Are these three flatworms belonging to the same species? I do not know.

The only slug without a shell I came across today would be this Ornate leaf slug (Elysia ornata).

Not too sure what this is, this bivalve has fleshy projections coming out from its mantle. Could this be a kind of Scintilla clam (Family Galeommatidae)?

This shrimp or prawn is quite large and was happily grazing among the seagrasses.

I later went over to Lazarus Island to check out the shore there if we can find any unusual sea anemones.

At the end of the the day's trip, we had a brief look at the pontoon while waiting for the boat to arrive. As usual there were lots of marine life such as sea fans and soft corals.

Here is a huge pink sea fan!

Geraldine pointed out to this unidentified crab with purple and yellow carapace. It is quite pretty!

Today is my last trip with Dr Daphne though her last trip with the others would be tomorrow.

I am grateful to Dr Daphne for her tireless effort in surveying our shores for sea anemones, working on them in the lab for identification, and also imparting so much of her vast knowledge to us through the workshop, lectures and even during casual conversations. I wonder where she gets all her energy from. Her passion is definitely an inspiration to me both as a naturalist and as a teacher. We look forward to her coming back again soon! :)

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