Saturday, April 19, 2014

First morning trip of 2014 at Changi

It's been a while I have checked out our shores since Chinese New Year earlier in February. The morning low tides are back and on this Good Saturday (after Good Friday), Ron and I decided to drop by Changi on a not-so-low spring tide.

The feeling of starting the trip when it is pitch dark, seeing the magnificent sunrise and ending on a bright early morning definitely beats that of an evening tide where the sequence is the opposite. Of course, less the waking up part!

There are many of these Sea pencils sticking out from the sand! Sea pencilss are members of the same Class Anthozoa as sea anemones.

Unlike sea anemones which are large solitary polyps, each sea pencil is a colony of polyps.

Ron is really good at spotting this snail which has recently been identified as Babylonia spirata. Do read this paper written by Siong Kiat as he described more about this new record for Singapore.

We saw quite a number of these snails on today's trip! Quite a surprise!

We also came across some of these Haddon's carpet anemones (Stichodactyla haddoni).

Though the anemone looks seemingly boring, actually it is home to many of these tiny anemone shrimps (Periclimenes sp.).

In addition to the several Plain sand stars (Astropecten sp.), I also stumbled upon this rarer Luidia sand star (probably Luidia hardwicki)!

The jetty legs are great spots to see what animals are encrusted on the hard surfaces. Usually the legs are dotted with colourful hydroids, sponges, sea fans with crabs running about.

Though we were expecting to find more nudibranchs, at least this sole find of the Hypselodoris nudibranch (Hypselodoris sp.) is a worthy consolation.

There are some cowries attached onto the jetty legs such as this Miliaris cowrie (Cypraea miliaris).

Ron found this cowrie that we have seldom seen it before on previous trip. It has dark blotches on the top surface of the shell and also brown spots near the base.

This cowrie takes a long while to extend its yellow mantle out when submerged in water. Together with the orange tentacle, the cowrie looks prettier!

Here's a look at its underside with the uncoloured teeth. After looking through the internet, I realized it looks similar to the Graceful cowrie (Purpuradusta gracilis) that we have seen before at Sekudu. Nevertheless, it's better to wait for the experts to confirm this id.

As the tide wasn't too low, we could only catch brief glimpses of the sea fans sticking out of the murky water. It's good to know that they are still around.

At the rocky and sandy shore area, we found a living Noble volute (Cymbiola nobilis).

There was also this tiny Peanut worm (Phylum Sipuncula) which are not usually seen as they spend most of their time underground.

I also came across this Naked moon snails (Sinum sp.). It has a flat shell and the large body is unable to retract into the shell completely when disturbed.

We ended the shore exploration which a brighter and higher sun. There were quite a number of shore visitors!

And some of them came with complicated and elaborate photographic equipment. We didn't really go and see what they were filming though.

More photos of the trip can be viewed here:

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