Saturday, July 7, 2012

Heart urchins at Sentosa shore

As usual, I was on my usual rounds of looking high and low for the elusive Galloping sea star (Stellaster equestris) on the Sentosa shore.

But instead, I stumbled upon two heart urchins! They were semi-buried underneath the sand. It's our first time finding them on this shore.

This is the second heart urchin which is about the same colour but had longer spines. Don't you think they are lovely? Lovely is probably the best way to describe these urchins because these are known as thw Lovenia heart urchins (Lovenia sp.)!

The pattern on the underside of the heart urchin is quite pretty! It is white with some petal-like structures in yellow.

Yesterday morning, Ron, Jillian and myself decided to check out the natural shores of Sentosa during low tide. We were greeted with a spectacular view of the cliffs!

Though the rock formation looks small in the photo, here's another photo showing you the scale through a person's size. This shore, in my opinion, is one of the best and accessible place for Geography teachers to show coastal formation to their students.

As for me, I focused more on the biology side and had a look at the various types of hard corals on this side of the shore.

A special hard coral find will be this Circular mushroom coral (Family Fungiidae)! Shao Wei also saw it on her previous trip here. We don't usually see these corals on this shore in the past so this comes as a pleasant surprise.

Another uncommon coral will be this small form of the Carnation coral (Pectinia sp.).

There was this plate-like hard coral that I couldn't exactly identify.

Nearer to the end where Resorts World Sentosa now sits, the seagrasses are doing fine! It is great to see the Sickle seagrass (Thalassia hemprichii).

And there's even the not-so-common Needle seagrass (Halodule sp.) and the abundant Spoon seagrass (Halophila ovalis).

Some clumps of the Tape seagrass (Enhalus acoroides) were also seen though I didn't have much time to see if there's any other living creatures on the blades of the seagrass.

The Spotted moon crabs (Ashtoret lunaris) are very common on the shore especially during night time.

This looked like a mating pair, a larger one wrestling with a much smaller one. It's quite amusing seeing how they hold on to each other and swim from location to location. :)

There was a stranded reef octopus on the sand and it looked plain and pale.

After when Ron put this poor fellow into the pool of water, it got active again and started showing its ability to change into different patterns and colours in an act to camouflage itself.

It is not a usual sight to see the Frilly sea anemone (Phymanthus sp.) and Giant carpet anemone (Stichodactyla gigantea) embedded on the sand as they tend to be found on or among rocks. And I did notice that some parts did become sandier. Could it be that the sand shifted in and surrounded these two nems?

On the note of sandy shore, the usual Cake sand dollars (Arachnoides placenta) are still around. But the Common sea stars (Archaster typicus) were not found.

I had a look at the corals behind Underwater World before we left and there are some boulder-shaped colonies nearer to the low-water mark. Yes, this is real underwater world that is wild.

The branching Montiopora corals (Montipora sp.) are still there but not in its usual large patch as seen in the past. Hope that the remaining ones will survive!

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