Sunday, February 26, 2012

Mangrovey and seagrassy surprises at Semakau

Last Sunday, I had a pleasant surprise of finding a rare and pretty sea slug at Semakau! :)

This colourful sea slug was originally found underneath a rock found among the mangroves. Yes, it was not found near the coral rubble nor reefy areas but very high up along the shore zonation. I was excited to find this charismatic nudibranch as I have never seen it before.

Mei Lin suggested that this is probably the Hypselodoris nudibranch (Hypselodoris maritima) which was only intertidally sighted before at Tuas by Ria during 2005.

Also at the mangroves, Ria showed me this large Api-api jambu (Avicennia marina) which is critically endangered in Singapore.

It was great to see that this tree was fruiting abundantly. Apparently, the fruits can be eaten though we have never tried it before... and will probably never dare to try? Haha!

If you are wondering why was I at Semakau last Sunday, we were there for Teamseagrass monitoring! Before we entered the forest to get to the shore, many of us were well equipped to fight against the never-say-die mosquitoes. Try guessing who these two people are.

As usual, Siti gives a comprehensive introduction to seagrass and how monitoring is done to the newbies. The tide was rather high when we arrived, thus we waited for a while before we could get down to the serious business. I had the honour of pairing up with Lucas, a 16-year old gentleman who recently joined Teamseagrass. It was great working with him!

Floating across the large expanse of the seagrass meadow of Semakau are many of these male flowers that look like white styrofoam pieces. By chance, they will meet the open petals of the female flower and viola! this is the process of pollination.

The seagrasses of Semakau are excellent homes to all sorts of creatures. Lucas pointed out to me his find of this snake gliding along the surface of the seagrass meadow. It came up to the surface to breathe a few times and at one moment stared at me! Haha! It looks like a Banded file snake (Acrocordus granulatus) to me.

This underwater photo was not taken near the coral reef but among the seagrasses as well! Yes the seagrasses of Semakau also supports lots of corals and colourful sponges.

Here is another photo showing a large colony of Pore coral (Porites sp.) with Blue jorunna sponge (Neopetrosis sp.).

I was rather surprised to also stumble across an uncommon Lettuce coral (Pavona sp.)! The lettuce coral is usually found at the coral reef instead.

There was this sponge that I came across which I do not know of its identity.

Some other creatures spotted on the shores will be this tiny crab which looks like the juvenile version of the Spoon-pincer crab (Leptodius sp.).

After the monitoring, I had a quick check at the coral rubble and coral reef area. It was quite exciting to not only spot this uncommon Hell's Fire anemone (Actinodendron sp.) but also at the same instance witness how a fish got stung and eaten by the anemone. There is always a reason why it is named after hell.

At the rubble area, this mass of eggs caught my attention.

It seems to be a long tube of many orange dots laid by some unknown organisms.

Another slugful find of the day will be this Lined chromodoris nudibranch (Chromodoris lineolata).

Last but not least, I am glad to visit the area where many of these Knobbly sea stars (Protoreaster nodosus) can be found. They seem to have moved quite a bit! Haha!

Semakau's shore is so huge and I never seem to have time to properly look at every corner. As such, I always look forward to coming back on this shore again.


Ria Tan said...

Wow, a snake! And so many other sightings too! Thanks for sharing the nudibranch. I think the perforated thing is a seaweed Hydroclathrus clathratus

Unknown said...

Thanks Ria for the id! Didn't know this is actually a seaweed...haha

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