Monday, May 7, 2012

Back to special reef of Sentosa at Serapong

I'm excited to be back at Serapong, a special reef of Sentosa, after about close to a year since our last visit!

The reef fringing the edge of the golf course is among the best within the vicinity of nearby reefs.

We were once again rewarded with a magnificent sunrise just like yesterday. And I enjoy taking landscape photos with corals in the foreground.

We checked out the huge patch of Acropora corals (Acropora sp.). It is definitely a relief to see the corals doing well.

Here's a photo with Marcus checking out the corals and him as a scale to show how huge the colony of the coral is.

The weird-looking black sponge in the middle of the colony is still there! There is a shrimp living inside this time.

By the reef edge, even-larger colonies of the Acropora corals can be found. Other than Raffles Lighthouse which is the southern most point of Singapore, we have not encountered such a huge colony of this uncommon coral.

As like the previous trip, it is difficult to walk around on this shore as most parts are jammed packed with corals, sponges and other marine life. This photo shows a Turbinaria Coral (Turbinaria sp.), sponges of various types and also a pretty Copperband butterflyfish (Chelmon rostratus)!

The tide was very low and the impressive reef is crowded with huge corals such as the Turbinaria Coral (Turbinaria sp.) which is also known as a disk coral because of its circular shape.

This is probably the largest colony of Pore corals (Porites sp.) that I've ever came across! I wonder how many years did the coral take to grow to such a size?!

Some of the rarer corals that I found today include this Euphyllid coral (Family Euphyllidae).

As the coral is out of water, their U-shaped tentacles were not obvious when I took this photo. It is rather "lame" to spot the phyllid nudibranch (it's very small- can you see it?) in this photos of the euphyllid coral. Pun unintended. :)

Since the tide was low, I could take lots and lots of reefy photos... on a trigger-happy mode.

If I were to blog every single hard coral that I came across, the post will take nearly forever to read. :X

Above are two photo collages of hard corals that we saw this morning. This reef is just full of different kinds hard corals! It's amazing to know that we have such an awesome natural reef so near to mainland. Probably because it is left untouched and out of bounds to the public, the shore can remain pristine.

There's life living among life! Yes, such as this Miliaris cowrie (Cypraea miliaris) found among the Anemone coral (Goniopora sp.).

Found among this colony of Acropora coral will be two Machine gun shrimps (Coralliocaris graminea).  

Like the snapping shrimps (Family Alpheidae), the pincer of the Machine gun shrimp has an enlarged tooth and a special catch. When the catch is released, the tooth makes a loud snapping sound. Unlike the snapping shrimp which only has one such 'snapping' pincer, the Machine gun shrimp has two such pincers, hence its common name.

Wow! This is the largest Barrel sponge (Xestospongia testudinaria) that I've ever stumbled upon on our trips. The size of the small hard coral beside the sponge pales in comparison.

Beside getting an overdose of corals, there are plenty and lots of the Red feather stars (Class Crinoidea)! They are either perched on hard corals...

Or found stranded on the shore during the low tide period.

Towards the other side of the stretch of shore, the substrate is slightly siltier and it looked like Tuas of the south. There are lots of ascidians, zoanthids and soft corals, forming a colourful mat!

There are many of the Flowery soft corals (Family Nephtheidea) of all sorts of sizes...

...colours and patterns! I didn't really have the time to look for the commensal ovulid snails that live on these soft corals.

Surprisingly, I found a lone Sea fan (Order Gorgonacea) as shown on the left side of the photo. Is the red one on the right side also a sea fan?

We had a check at the numerous Magnificent anemones (Heteractis magnifica) and were glad to see many of them. Can you see the three of them in this photo?

As the tide was very low, we could observe and spot the False clown anemonefish (Amphiprion ocellaris) in many of the anemones. There are two of them shown in this photo.

Here's a closeup of the nemo! They are pretty shy creatures and it takes quite a far bit of patience to watch them and take decent photos. :P

The ladies found a tiny individiual of the Carpet eel-blenny (Congrogadus subducens). How cute! The juvenile Bengal sergeant (Abudefduf bengalensis) was hiding beside a brown sponge nearby.

Ria saw this enormous sized jellyfish that has a large bell! She observed fishes swimming around it.

Ending of the post are some special finds such as the purplish creatures. On the left is a critter with purple dots on a white body- it is the Purple-spotted yellow flatworm (Pseudoceros laingensis). On the right is a nudi with purple dots on a black body- it is the Black phyllid nudibranch (Phyllidiella nigra).

A new find for me will be the juvenile version of the Spider conch (Lambis lambis)! The young version of the spider conch has yet to develop spines by the edge of their shells.

Special thanks to Sheila, Shao Wei and team for going out of their way in making arrangements such that we can document this rich shore despite the unearthly hour!

I'm always looking forward to return to this special shore to explore more of its beauty.

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