Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Sunny day out at Beting Bronok

It's our first time visiting Beting Bronok under bright daylight! All of my previous trips to this remote northern reef were during the predawn tides.

Blessed with perfect weather despite of the recent rainy season, we had a picturesque view of the reefs of BB with Johor in the background.

BB is probably one of the last reefs among our northern shores where one can still find colourful marine life such as the assortment of sponges and hydroids in this photo.

Apparently over the years, we seem to observe more and more zoanthids invading onto this shore. So it is rather inevitable to step on them as they are almost everywhere. Among the zoanthids, there are still other living organisms. This yellowish creature looks like a sponge but it is nearly as hard as a rock. I am puzzled!

Oh well, at least I am sure that this colony is definitely a hard coral. This is the greenish Boulder pore corals (Porites sp.).

This brown hard coral is also the Boulder pore coral and it is found among the mats of zoanthids.

Though it was rather sunny out on the reef, we could still find quite a number of flatworms such as this huge Black spotted flatworm (Acanthozoon sp.).

We also saw a number of what is probably the Olive flatworm (Pseudobiceros sp.).

Towards the end of the trip, I encountered this third species of flatworm- the Brown striped flatworm (Pseudobiceros gratus).

The only nudibranch that I saw on the trip was this Bohol nudibranch (Discodoris boholiensis).

We did not find as many sea stars as during our previous trips. It could be because that the tide was not too low and that sea stars tend to go deeper waters or if possible burrow under bright sunlight. Nevertheless, we managed to see a few of them such as this Biscuit sea star (Gonodiscaster scaber).

Rene later found the Spiny sea star (Gymnanthenea laevis), a sea star that we can find in our northern shores, East Coast, Tanah Merah and even Cyrene Reef!

During the lowest possible tide timing, I went to where we can usually find the Knobbly sea stars (Protoreaster nodosus) and saw only one. At least it's good to know they are still there. This fellow has an extension from one of its arm. Looks cool isn't it?!

This plain-looking shrimp is actually the Ghost shrimp (Glypturus sp.). As its name suggest, this creature is rather elusive and are not commonly seen.

Zestin found a special crab! This Domed elbow crab (Cryptopodia fornicata) was last seen here in 2009.

Here is a look at the underside of this rare crab. It looks like a horseshoe crab from its underside and has a domed body that covers its spindly walking legs.

Oh well, since we mentioned on the horseshoe crab, here's is one that I found during the trip! This is the Coastal horsehoe crab (Tachypleus gigas).

Among the many more common sea cucumbers found on BB, this one caught my eye! It looks like one that either we have not seen before or we have but do not know of its identity.

On the reefs near the water edge, I found this Sea fan (Order Gorgonacea) out of water. It looks like it has been uprooted together with the rock that it is attached to.

It's hell of a time for me to be able to see 3 of these uncommon Haekel's anemones (Actinostephanus haekeli) that we also call as the Hell's anemone as the sting is bad as hell.

This smaller version looks much cuter... don't you agree!?

Last but not least, the find of the day would be this Feather star (Order Comatulida). Why is this find so special?

It is because of the intriguing commensals found among the surface of the feather stars! When we first saw them, we were clueless as to whether they are slugs, flatworms or other kinds of worms of what not.

Here is a closer look at this fellow. It seems to have a middle raised lining with pointed corners. The surface of this creature has lines that seem to help the organism to camouflage with the feather star. There are also weird hairy looking projections sticking outwards!

That's not all! On one of them, there was this weird pink ball structure! James kindly found the id and he said that these may be Myzostomida, a kind of marine parasitic worm that can be found on feather stars.

Very very soon, the tide returned as we had to call it a day before we get stranded on the shore. BB indeed is a treasure that we hope will continue to thrive! 

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