Thursday, August 8, 2013

Seahorse at East Coast Park!

As the tide was low and long, the long march from exploring shores of Tanah Merah was continued with documenting a stretch of East Coast Park.

The top find of the day would be this seahorse found clinging tenaciously on the red skinny sea fan! It is our first sighting of this lovely animal on East Coast!

This seahorse is probably the Estuarine seahorses (Hippocampus kuda) and it is commonly found on our northern shores such as Changi, Pasir Ris, Chek Jawa and even Punggol.

The area outside the rock bunds are usually inhabited with lots of colourful Sea fans or Gorgonians (Order Gorgonacea). However, they are only exposed at the lowest tides of the year.

Here's a collage of some of the sea fans that were sighted as I walked from a seawall to another seawall.

At the deeper waters, more evidence of the sea fan garden was revealed as the tide drew to its lowest for the day.

Living on the skinny sea fan are many of these Spindle or False cowrie snails (Family Ovulidae).

I also came across this brown version of the sea fan that was also found at other stretches of East Coast. This type of sea fan is larger and it looks like a tree.

On the sea walls are many of these small hard corals that colonize the surface. It is great to witness regeneration of marine life on artificial surfaces.

The Zebra corals (Oulastrea crispata) are tough species of hard corals that can colonize the surfaces of all sorts of shores.

When looking at the seawalls, once in a while I encountered some of these pretty and colourful Sally-lightfoot crabs (Grapsus albolineatus). These crabs are great climbers!

At the rocky shore, there were some growth of sponges and we also found some of these Miliaris cowries (Cypraea miliaris) that usually are found in pairs.

Flipping rocks to see what lies beneath, only Ron can identify the Jewel box clam (Chama sp.) that I would overlook since it is small and inconspicuous.

Stranded on the shore would be this Diamond wrasse (Halichoeres dussumieri). This seemingly innocent looking fish has sharp teeth and can give a nasty bite if you handle it with your bare hands.

On the silty and seagrass habitats of the East Coast shore are many Haddon's carpet anemones (Stichodactyla haddoni). This particular carpet anemone has two brittle stars "associated" with it.

Here's a collage of more carpet anemones that are doing well on this shore.

This stretch is special because there are many of the Eight-armed sand star (Luidia maculata)! However, the ones we found on this trip were only the six-armed versions.

This is a photo of another of Luidia eight-armed sea star with pretty patterns on its arms.

Only one of the Plain sand star (Astropecten indicus) was seen. These sea stars are not as common on East Coast and Tanah Merah as compared to Changi, Pasir Ris or Chek Jawa.

I was wow-ed to find this rather large Cake sea star (Anthenea aspera)!

Here is how its underside looks like!

I didn't see the Tiny colourful brittle stars (Ophiothela danae) on the Pink warty sea cucumber (Cercodemas anceps) until I got home to process the photos! Missed the opportunity to take a closer look at these commensals.

There were slug findings despite the fact that this shore is reclaimed! This Batik tailed-slug (Philinopsis cf. pilsbryi) has actually been sighted at East Coast Park before the oil spill.

A new record for East Coast would be this Bushy slug (Polybranchia orientalis) that was originally found with some seaweeds.

As the tides for the rest of the year would not be that low anymore, I guess my next visit to this shore would be next year. Meanwhile, hope it continues to thrive and not suddenly die off like what happened in 2008.

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