Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The reefy exploration of triple B

Triple B is short form for BBB or Beting Bemban Besar- a submerged reef off our southern waters beside Pulau Semakau. On this location after more than a year later, I decided to go quite deep into the water to look at the reefy parts of this huge shore.

The tide was still high while we arrive in the dark as the waters are rushing out. We explored the higher grounds first and one of the delightful finds would be a few nemos in the anemone!

This photo shows the same nemo or False clown anemonefish (Amphiprion ocellaris) in the Giant carpet anemone (Stichodactyla gigantea). It was taken using my underwater camera with light from my torch.

When the daylight hit the shore and the tide went to its lowest possible, a huge array of corals was exposed on the reef! It sure is crowded.

Particularly found in high numbers as compared to other shores would be the presence of many Tongue mushroom corals (Herpolitha sp.).

Here are more mushroom corals for your viewing pleasure. :)

There are also many Circular mushroom corals (Family Fungiidae) on the shore and they can come in different sizes!

Here's a closer look at the smaller mushroom corals from the photo above. You can see in this photo that these mushroom corals can reproduce by special asexual reproduction.

A daughter colony is formed when a part of the parent's skeleton loses its calcium resulting in clones that develop on the parent's body and become self-sufficient before detaching from the parent.

Sometimes, these circular mushroom corals can be found in green. Lovely!

Some huge corals which are uncommon on our shores include the Moon coral (Diploastrea heliopora).

I find this pinkish colony of Acropora coral (Acropora sp.) to be more endearing than the brownish colonies. There are many tiny clams in between the branches!

Once again, here's an assortment of the different hard corals sighted on the trip, taken with my DSLR.

And another collage of coral photos taken by my underwater camera. More half-snorkeling shots below!

The water was rather clear so it was not that difficult to take photos of corals deep right at the reef edge.

This looks like the Ringed plate coral (Pachyseris sp.) in a boulder form. Usually these corals are plate-like in structure.

This huge blue hard coral colony belongs to the Carnation coral (Pectinia sp.). In fact there's a fish swimming at the back!

More hard corals with branching sponges make up this colourful underwater garden that is usually hidden from the sights of most Singaporean.

Looking like the swaying of tentacles from anemones, these are actually hard corals known as the Anemone coral (Goniopora sp.).

Enough of so many corals... Here's something sexy! I was purely just snapping photos of the numerous Gymnodoris nudibranchs (Gymnodoris rubropapulosa) and only found out at home that this is in the process of mating! 

Nudibranchs are hermaphroditic, and thus have a set of reproductive organs for both sexes, but they cannot fertilize themselves.

Underwater, there was this long structure that I couldn't make out its its identity until I went closer... it's a Synaptic sea cucumber!

A first sighting for me would be this Four-spot cowrie (Cypraea quadrimaculata)! I was elated to find it underneath a rock.

As its name suggests, there are four large rather triangular brown spots on the shell: two spots at the front end of the shell and two at the back end. It has a dark to black mantle with white or pinkish spots.

It was a cushion-filled day for us! We found four Cushion stars (Culcita novaeguinea)!

The last one was the most spectacular! It is purplish and looks like it is studded with diamonds. Simply awesome. :)

The Knobbly sea stars (Protoreaster nodosus) are still on the shore and here's ending off this post with a sunrise shot with the red star.

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