Sunday, November 6, 2011

Creatures found on the sandy shore of Changi

Last Monday, Ria and I had a look at one of the sandy shores along the long stretch of Changi Beach. To many people, these shores may seem dead or lifeless from a brief glimpse but if you do take effort to observe, there are many living creatures out there waiting for you to discover!

Exploring the shore in the dark probably help as many of the marine life are more active without the strong solar radiation.

It is rather typical to find sand dollars on a sandy shore and what a delight to find many juvenile ones on this shore. I have not seen them here previously.

These are actually the Cake sand dollars (Arachnoides placenta). Here is a view of the upperside on the left and underside of the sand dollar.

I also came across some adult sized individuals at another part of the shore.

Ria found two of these Plain sand stars (Astropecten sp.) on this shore. Usually these stars are quite abundant on Changi especially in the dark, so I'm not too sure why only two were spotted. Perhaps their prey such as button snails or asian date mussels are not around.

Certain species of sea cucumbers prefer sandy shores as they can burrow into the sand without much obstruction. This is the Smooth sea cucumber.

The most abundant sea cucumber species here will be the Ball sea cucumber (Phyllophorus sp.) though not many were found. Sometimes one can find them semi-buried in the sand.

Among the stuffs washed up by the wave will be this weird looking sea cucumber in total white. I suspect it is a dying Ball sea cucumber.

This Beige sea cucumber is one which we still do not know its identity. Given its coloration, it can camouflage quite well with the sand!

There was an area where quite a lot of the Sea lettuce (Ulva sp.) seaweed were washed up. Among the seaweed, there was a different assemblage of organisms such as a number of these Thorny sea cucumbers (Colochirus quadrangularis).

Ria and I also encountered many uprooted or washed up Sea pens (Scytalium sp.).

Living among the sea pen are several tiny Painted porcelain crabs (Porcellenella picta). I have never seen so many porcelain crabs in a single sea pen before!

Swimming at the edge of the water are many different types of crabs including this rather uncommon Reticulated moon crab (Matuta planipes).

Can you spot the crab in this photo? The tiny juvenile crab is right at the bottom of this sea pencil.

This Striped hermit crab (Clibanarius infraspinatus) lives in the shell of the Noble volute snail. Sharing the same home as the hermit crab would be the white Slipper snails (Family Calyptraeidae). This indeed is a great example of maximum utilization of resources.

I was rather except to see this, but later realized that it is only the moult of the Mangrove horseshoe crab (Carcinoscopius rotundicauda).

Only one Hairy sea hare (Bursatella leachii) was seen on the sandy shore. When disturbed, this sea hare releases purple chemicals or coloration into its surrounding to distract away predators.

I was quite excited to see this octopus out in the open. It wasn't that active even in my presence.

There were some sea anemones found on the sandy shore including this Tiger anemone or the Strawberry anemone.

Somehow, one of the tiger anemone was seen to be in the process of ingesting a blade of Spoon seagrass!

Funny isn't it? Ria suggested maybe the anemone was trying to feed on some other organism found attached to the seagrass. It will be interesting to know that these nems love seagrasses as food too. Haha!

More photos of the trip here:

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