Thursday, July 5, 2012

Rainy yet spectacular at Changi

Totally unexpected (and beyond the predictions of weather forecast), the heavens poured throughout the night and it affected our trip this morning. Despite trying to handle the DSLR camera, umbrella and torch together in the rain so as to explore another stretch of Changi shore, we still found many exciting creatures.

We can call today an apple day because quite a number of these psychedelic sea apple sea cucumbers were sighted.

Looks like we will keep the doctors away for a few days because we saw more than one! Caught the joke? :)

It is my first time encountering one that is willing to extend its feathery and stunning feeding tentacles. Very beautiful indeed!

Here's another  Sea apple sea cucumber (Pseudocolochirus violaceaus) found on the shore. Though pretty and brightly coloured, these sea cucumbers are extremely toxic when placed in an aquarium or tank.

Lots of sea cucumber gathered near the low water mark end and viola... Can you see the apple? I mean sea apple?

Here's a closeup of the sea apple sea cucumber from the previous photo.

Upon close observation, I found a hitch hiking commensal on the sea cucumber! It is a tiny brittle star. We later saw many bigger ones on the saw, like the one on the right side.

Only one slightly bigger Cake sea star (Anthenea aspera) was found but this is a lovely one with pretty yellow tips on their arms.

Another species of sea star seen today will be this Spiny sea star (Gymnanthenea laevis) that was found by Marcus.

After much hunt for the Luidia sea stars, I finally came across one which is most probably the Luidia sand star (probably Luidia hardwicki). This fellow was injured and it seemed a bit sickly, maybe from the rain.

More stars! Here's a collation of tiny stars which I am not too sure of their identity. Most likely Biscuit sea stars (Goniodiscaster scaber) and Cake sea stars (Anthenea aspera).

At the lowest possible tide today, we saw some sea fans growing on the hard surfaces such as this maroon one.

Here's two more sea fans that were half submerged in the water as they tend to be found rather deep on our shores.

A commensal spindle cowrie (Family Ovulidae) was found on the above yellow sea fan! The mantle is speckled with pretty dots and spots.

The mantle will retract when the snail is out of water, thus showing the smooth and shiny shell.

There were quite a number of Calf moon snails (Natica vitellus) on this stretch of shore. I totally missed out the weird anemone seen in this photo at the bottom lefthand corner!

Marcus shared with us his find of this elbow crab, which we think is a little different from the usual ones that we see.

I was glad to know that the Ball flowery soft corals are still around!

Mei Lin found this anemone which seems to look different from the common Tiger anemones. It has lots of raised bumps with a pink dot each along its body column. We cannot ascertain the identity though.

What a surprise to see an active Seagrass octopuses despite the rain! Sadly as you can see, our shores are quite badly littered and thus a photo of a snack wrapper in this photo.

We saw a few seahorses today! Such as this tiny black individual found by Marcus which was probably too small to id?

I later found a orangey Estuarine seahorses (Hippocampus kuda) as well!

Since we started the post with cucumbers, here's an end with MORE! Here's an unknown one that looks like the Beige sea cucumber.

Two more unidentified sea cucumbers! Here's one...

and here's another! We have seen this sea cucumber on this shore before. It has raised bumps with yellow dots. Hope that one day, all these guys will be identified. You never know if any of them could be a new record. :)

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