Saturday, August 11, 2012

Last predawn trip to Changi shore

The season for good tides over morning low spring tide is among over for 2012 and for my last trip to Changi, I explored a new stretch of shore which proves to be a fantastic site for rich marine life!

One of the special finds for the trip will be this cute Kite butterflyfish which seems to be associated with the carpet anemone. 
This was not the first time we witnessed how the Kite butterflyfish (Parachaetodon ocellatus) swimming near the Haddon's carpet anemones (Stichodactyla haddoni). It could be a case of the fish feeding on the tentacles of the anemone. Interestingly, a False scorpion fish (Centrogenys vaigiensis)a also joined in the "fun"!

As it was dark and way before sunrise, the fishes were out and about swimming in the tide pools. This green Filefish (Family Monacanthidae) is well camouflaged when it swims among the seaweed.

I like how the tail fans out showing the line patterns and coloration.

This Longspined scorpionfish (Paracentropogon longispinis) looks like it is having a good time slacking off among the seaweed which coincidentally created a nice green backdrop for this photo.

Quite a number of the Peacock soles (Pardachirus pavoninus) were skirting around the shore. I was thankful that I did not step on any of them as they can be quite hiddenly beneath the seaweed. It has a pattern of circles that resemble eyes and thus possibly gives rise to its common name because the tail of a peacock also has a pattern of eyes. 

Seahorses are quite commonly found on the shores of Changi such as this dark version of the Estuarine seahorse (Hippocampus kuda).

Much later while looking around the shore, I stumbled across yet another seahorse which this time is orangey in colour.

A relative to the seahorse will be the seagrass pipefish. They both belong to Family Syngnathidae. 'Syngnathus' means 'fused jaws' in Greek. Seahorses and pipefishes feed on tiny creatures by sucking them up with their tube-like, toothless snouts.

This poor cuttlefish was found stranded on top of the seaweed during the receding tide. It was rather motionless when placed back gently inside the water. Hopefully this fellow has recovered since then.

This must be the biggest Seagrass octopus that I have encountered on our shores! It was nearly the size of a huge tyre! You can compare its size with the thorny sea cucumber (found on the top left hand corner of photo) as a scale.

That's not all... there was even a tiny brittlestar found on the surface of the octopus! Haha!

Quite a few of the Feather stars (Order Comatulida) were spotted by the shore explorers such as this individual with black and bluish bands.

Along certain stretches of the shore, one can find many Biscuit sea stars (Goniodiscaster scaber) in both large and small sizes.

This Painted sand star (Astropecten sp.) just happened to be feasting on the clam and I accidentally and unintentionally disturb its meal. Sorry!

There were quite a number of interesting snails found during the trip such as this pretty Pink moon snails (Natica zonalis).

On the surface of pillars, there were quite a number of cowries such as the not-so-commonly seen Miliaris cowries (Cypraea miliaris) on the left and the Onyx cowries (Cypraea onyx) on the right.

There was also this large Noble volutes (Cymbiola nobilis) with bright orange and black body.

A lovely surprise on the trip was to find this Bailer snail (Melo melo) which is listed as 'Endangered' in the Red List of threatened animals of Singapore due to habitat loss. Fishermen also catch this special snail for the cooking pot. :(

Some of the Sea fans (Order Gorgonacea) were found lining near to the deeper ends of the shore such as this large healthy yellow colony.

A special anemone was spotted among the seaweed and that is the Alicia sea anemone (Alicia sp.)!

Marcus found this shrimp that we have not seen before. The orange color seems quite close to the cooked shrimps that we eat on our dinner table. But the whitish part inside the shell actually reflects that this guy is infested with parasites.. Eeks!

We saw quite a number of the uncommon crabs such as this Banded-leg swimming crab (Charybdis annulata). This pretty crab has legs with alternating bands of dark brown and bright blue.

This Grapsid crab is not commonly seen and we are still not too sure of its identity.

Another unidentified crab would be this individual that was spotted by Ria.

Indeed, Changi is a rich marine haven with an assemblage of creatures that we do not usually see in our Southern waters. However, it requires very low spring tide to explore extensively and that usually occurs during morning tides. Till next time!

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