Thursday, August 8, 2013

Seagrass surprises at Tanah Merah

The entire stretch of Tanah Merah is rich in marine life despite the fact that it is part of reclaimed land! It's amazing how life creeps back with time when no one disturbs the area. Two weeks ago, Ron and I decide to have a look at probably the last stretch of Tanah Merah that we have not visited before and were surprised to see lots of seagrasses!

One of the pleasant surprises on this shore would be to find many of these small Tiny red sea cucumbers! This particular one was perched on the blade of the spoon seagrass.

Here are more of the Tiny red sea cucumbers (Family Cucumariidae) that can be found in numbers. It has been a long while since I have last seen them!

I even caught a moment when this tiny crab was snacking on the sea cucumber!

Though this shore is quite small and narrow, there are lots of seagrasses such as the Spoon seagrass (Halophila ovalis).

On the blade of yet another spoon seagrass is this tiny Thorny sea cucumber (Colochirus quadrangularis). Very cute indeed!

We did find a few more of the Thorny sea cucumbers though no other cucumber species were sighted.

The bed of Needle seagrass (Halodule sp.) is really thick and lush. Looks like they are growing well on the shore!

Here's another shot of seagrasses with both the needle seagrass and spoon seagrass.

A pleasant surprise would be to find thick growths of the Sickle seagrass (Thalassia hemprichii)!

There was even a small clump of the Tape seagrass (Enhalus acoroides)! Probably there are more at the deeper ends of the shore.

Other animals that we came across on this trip include this lone Common sea star (Archaster typicus). Weird that we didn't more than this one.

There are also Haddon's carpet anemones (Stichodactyla haddoni) found on the sandier part of the shore.

In the deeper waters are many of these Spotted moon crabs (Ashtoret lunaris) scurrying about and running away from me as I walked near them.

Strangely, we also saw this Ovum cowrie (Cypraea ovum) on the sandy / seagrass substrate though this fellow is usually found at rocky shore habitats.

As this shore is quite small and that the tide was long and low, we walked over to another stretch of Tanah Merah which we used to visit occasionally. This particular part of Tanah Merah has stretches of clean sandy shore with lots of button snails and other predatory animals that feeds on the former.

It was surprising to find thick growths of the spoon seagrass even on this shore! This is something that I have not observed on my previous trip. Probably the tide was very low and thus the small patch of this seagrass meadow could be revealed.

Other tantalizing finds on this familiar includes a hermit crab living inside the shell of the dead Grey bonnet snail (Phalium glaucum) though no living ones were sighted.

There were many of these Olive snails (Family Olividae) with intricate patterns on their shells. They are usually found through the trails that they marked as they plough through the sand.

Here's a special find by Ron! This is my first time seeing the Fig snail (Ficus variegata) on Tanah Merah though Liana has found it here before.

I shall end off this post with two sea stars- the first one would be this Painted sand star (Astropecten sp.).

The second one would be this four-armed version of the Plain sand star (Astropecten indicus).

After reading this post, who can now still say that our reclaimed shores are dead and boring? :)

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