Beting Bronok (BB) is a remote and special reef located in the north. It has been about 3 years since my last visit and I have been hearing updates from recent trips that it is slowly doing not as well as compared to the past. How is this shore now? And did the recent sponge-less situations at Chek Jawa and Pulau Sekudu affect this reef as well?
Thorny sea urchins (Prionodidaris sp.) are still around and they tend to congregate at the water's edge. BB is the only shore that we see them growing so big and always found in large numbers.
Knobbly sea stars (Protoreaster nodosus) that used to be found in higher numbers have either moved away or have died. Even at the lowest tide, I could only find one. Ria's trip last year also only had a single sighting of this sea star.
Feather star (Order Comatulida) was spotted today.
Bailer volutes (Melo melo) can be commonly found at BB. Unfortunately, we only came across one today. It was actually feeding on a Noble volute (Cymbiola nobilis)!
Sea fans (Order Gorgonacea) on this trip and they are usually found closer to the edge of the reef. Most of them are the Candelabra sea fans (Euplexaura sp.). The sea fan in this photo looks like the Tree sea fan (Family Melithaeidae).
Boulder pore corals (Porites sp.) and I also saw one colony of this Favid coral (Family Faviidae).
Estuarine moray eel (Gymnothorax tile) out of the water! I only saw one today though we used to find many Brown spotted moray eel (Gymnothorax reevesii) at BB in the past.
Marbled Sea Snake (Aipysurus eydouxii) in the deep pool. Though this is a venomous snake, it will not bite unless disturbed. In fact, it was swimming very quickly away from me and thus I couldn't get a better shot of this special snake.
Estuarine seahorses (Hippocampus kuda)! Seahorses are actually fishes and have bones inside as well as outside.
Button zoanthids (Zoanthus sp.). In fact, we noticed that the zoanthids have spread out to cover even wider areas of the reef with each year.
Cake sea star (Anthenea aspera) that is quite well camouflaged with the background!
Snaky sea anemone (Macrodactyla doreensis). I saw a brownish one at the edge of the reef as well. It's actually my first time seeing this anemone at BB though it has been sighted before by others.
Haeckel's anemone (Actinostephanus haeckeli) which can sting very badly! I saw two today!
Spoon seagrass (Halophila ovalis) growing here! Something different from the previous trips to BB.
Alicia sea anemone (Alicia sp.) that was spotted by Chay Hoon at the edge of the reef. It looks all shriveled up in this photo.
Frilly sea anemones (Phymanthus sp.) as they are super common on our southern shores.
Snapping shrimp (Family Alpheidae) with red legs! We wonder what it is.
Painted porcelain crabs (Porcellanella picta) that reside with the Slender sea pen (Virgularia sp.) are very cute! Especially when one is smaller than the other.
Yellow foot nudibranch (Thordisa villosa)!
Bornella nudibranch (Bornella sp.) swims by flexing its long body from side to side. They are known to feed on hydroids.
Purple foot nudibranch (Atagema spongiosa) which are probably mating. They are so well camouflaged that I missed it when I walked past the area where it was found.
Purple-spotted yellow flatworm (Pseudoceros laingensis).
Hypselodoris kanga nudibranch. One of the identifying features of this slug is that it has yellow dots on its flowery gills.
Hypselodoris nudibranch is likely to be a different colour form / morph of the Hypselodoris infucata. The colour of this individual has darker blue body as compared to the usual ones we see in our northern shores.
The 2030 landuse plan by the Ministry of National Development announced that Beting Bronok and Pulau Unum have been granted 'Nature Area' status. Based on our understanding, this status means the area "will be kept for as long as possible until required for development". We do not exactly know the future of this reef with the nearby developments and land use that will go on with years to come.