Tuesday, February 12, 2013

CNY Day 3: Tanah Merah

For the last of the three CNY field trips, Ria and I visited Tanah Merah shore.

It has been a while since I last had a look at this shore which was once badly hit by the oil spill. How is it doing now?

The Smooth ribbon seagrass (Cymodocea rotundata) patches are doing very well and together with the seagrasses are many Haddon's carpet anemones (Stichodactyla haddoni).

Many of these carpet anemones settle well among the blades of seagrasses. I came across both large and smaller ones in the two seagrass patches.

Here's an underwater view of the carpet anemone among the seagrasses.

Though there are no anemone shrimps (Periclimenes brevicarpalis) in most of the carpet anemones, I still managed to find one with this pretty commensal. 

Other than carpet anemones, there are other critters such as this Swimming anemone (Boloceroides mcmurrichi).

I was fortunate to see two of these Pencil squids (Family Loliginidae) even though it was not so dark. They typically gather near the bottom during the day, dispersing in the water at night to hunt.

What are these dots on the Smooth seagrass blades?

These dots are actually snails known as the Dubious nerites (Clithon oualaniensis).

Almost every dubious nerite looks different! There are many delicate lines on each of these shells and the collage of the different snails is like a collection of art pieces!

At the bottom of some parts of the seagrass patch, we saw good growths of Spoon seagrass (Halophila ovalis) growing as well! That's a good sign. Seagrasses are excellent nursery habitats for marine organisms.

This slug is a super tiny Strawberry slug (Costasiella sp.) that lives on Fan green seaweeds (Avrainvillea sp.). It usually takes a little more effort to photograph this fellow.

After looking at the seagrassy and sandy area, I went over to the seawall to check out what lives on top of or beneath the rocks.

Molluscs galore! I found many types of molluscs among the rocks such as this Spurred turban snail (Astraea calcar). Calcar means 'spur', which explains why the outer shell has a spiral of blunt bumps and spikes.

Another snail that can be found on Tanah Merah would be this Reef murex (Chicoreus torrefactus).

Though it may look boring on top, the underside of this Large false limpet (Siphonaria atra) is quite beautiful.

This thrash-looking object is actually a living thing! Judging from the "zebra-crossing" appearance of the dorsal margin, this is a leaf or tree oyster (Isognomon sp.). Thanks Ron for the id correction.

An orange Chiton (Class Polyplacophora) was found underneath one of the many rocks. I didn't see more though.

Though the shores of this impacted reclaimed shore are not exciting as the natural reefs of our southern islands, we can still occasionally find slugs such as this Black-margined nudibranch (Glossodoris atromarginata).

There is something special found in this photo... can you spot what it is?

Yes, it is the ever dreadful Hollow-cheeked stonefish (Synanceia horrida)!

Here's the stonefish showing its grumpy face. The stonefish is one of the most dangerous fishes on our shores. It has tough dorsal fin spines that can penetrate thick soled shoes. 

They are called stonefish simply because they look like a stone and remain rather motionless most of the time, just like a real stone. Knowing there are many stonefish in Tanah Merah, this has made exploring the shores a lot more careful.

The waters by the edge of the seawall were murky so I didn't take many photos of hard corals except for this colony.

I came across three of these Red egg crabs (Atergatis integerrimus) hiding among crevices in between huge rocks.

For some unknown reason, the Frilly sea anemones (Phymanthus sp.) on this shore is huge!

Here's another shot of the many large frilly sea anemones... I wonder why? The ones that we find on our southern shores are much smaller.

The only flatworm sighting that I found today would be this common Black spotted flatworm (Acanthozoon sp.).

There are workers' quarters right behind the shore so we saw many people by the edge of the seawall at a distance. Some of them were collecting stuffs, probably for eating.

On the way back, Ria and I had a quick look at the sandy areas at the higher shore and we saw a couple of the Common sea stars (Archaster typicus).

For some unknown reasons, there were so so many Spotted moon crabs (Ashtoret lunaris) scurrying about on the high shores.

Alright, that's about all for the CNY trips! Time to go back to reality and start working on other stuffs.

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