Monday, February 11, 2013

CNY Day 1: Big Sisters Island

It's the festive season of the year which we celebrate Chinese New Year and this period will definitely coincide with low spring tide as CNY follows the lunar calendar. And just like last year (and also dating back to 6 years ago), we visited Big Sister's Island to check out the marine life on the shore.

What a great way to start the lunar new year by finding a new flatworm sighting on the intertidal shores! I've never seen this pretty brown flatworm with bright purplish edge before. :)

The underside of this flatworm is actually blue in colour! Maybe some kind souls can help me to id this flatworm.

The usual other types of flatworms such as this Orange-edged black flatworm (Pseudobiceros uniarborensis) can also be found.

I have been wanting to see this Reliable chromodoris nudibranch (Chromodoris fidelis) for the longest time and thankfully Chay Hoon found one of these intriguing-looking slugs today.

Ria found this bright orange Rose nudibranch (Dendrodoris fumata) under a rock. This nudibranch is often sighted in the north though I have also seen it at St John's Island before.  

What an interesting sighting of a nudibranch moving across the body of a black sea cucumber!

This nudibranch is actually the Bohol nudibranch (Discodoris boholiensis). I guess it just happened to pass through the top of the sea cucumber while it was moving, rather than the slug taking a ride with the sea cucumber.

More slugs which are more common are also found, such as this pair of Black phyllid nudibranchs (Phyllidiella nigra).

As it was the holidays, many people actually do camp on the islands of Singapore. And of course this brings along many fishermen on the shore.

One of them exclaimed to us that he found a weird and short white worm. When I went to have a look, I realized it was actually the Polka-dot jorunna nudibranch (Jorunna funebris).

I was glad to know that the Circular mushroom corals (Family Fungiidae) are doing ok as I found one large one...

and also a smaller version. 

By the reef edge, Pei Yan and I saw many Feather stars (Order Comatulida) such as this large brown crinoid. I was a little impatient to scrutinize and look for any commensals.

Underneath rocks where lots of sponges can be found, one can sometimes also find tiny brittle stars living with the colourful sponges.

Chay Hoon once again impressed us with her find of this Tiny seven-armed coral star (probably Aquilonastra corallicola?).

At first thought to be a seaweed, this branching organism is also possibly bryozoans. It looks like a tiny sea fan. :)

It has been a while since I saw the Giant top shell snail (Trochus niloticus). This animal is listed as Vulnerable.

Many tiny crabs can be found underneath rocks such as this cute-looking Porcelain crab (Petrolisthes sp.).

There is this other fiesty-looking orange crab that was extremely shy. I only managed to snap two proper photos of this fellow while it crawled from one burrow to another. I have been paid attention to this crab before in the past.

From the angle of this photo, it shows us that the left arm of this crab has an extra bulge from its chela. Not too sure if larger arms in this species of crab work for the same function as fiddler crabs. :)

Another unidentified crab would be this boring-looking one which is too big to be a Hairy crab.

This is the underside of the crab. Would appreciate if anyone can shed some light to its identity.

Thank God for taking away the rain for most part of the trip and that we were still able to find many exciting marine critters despite visiting the shores so so many times. There's just so much more waiting to be discovered or seen.

Am looking forward to more CNY field trips on the next two days!

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