Thursday, February 19, 2015

CNY Day 1: Cyrene Reef

On the first day of Chinese New Year, we were off to Cyrene Reef! It's been a while since we visited this favourite shore that is situated around Pulau Bukom, Pasir Panjang and Jurong Island. Our previous trip was in July 2014 where we had the "near-death" experience.

The stretches facing the oil refinery at Bukom and also Jurong Island is home to several hard and soft corals. Some of which can be relatively huge, like the one in this photo.

On the sandy shores of Cyrene are many of these Common sea stars (Archaster typicus) that dot around the area.

The seagrass meadows are home to some of these baby Knobbly sea stars (Protoreaster nodosus) and the existence of these juvenile stars shows that the population of sea stars in Cyrene Reef is sustainable as new ones are still being formed.

The bigger knobbly sea stars have once again migrated and many of them are now found at the seagrass / coral rubble area that faces Pasir Panjang.

An Arrow-head spider crab (Menatheius sp.) was found on top of a red knobbly sea star. It's quite stunning in green! 

Towards the end of the trip, I was elated to find the Pentaceraster sea star (Pentaceraster mammilatus). Unfortunately, this young sea star has lost an arm and is slowly regenerating a new one.

And soon after a while, I found yet another one. This time the sea star is intact with its five arms and it sure looks gorgeous in orange and brown! I found out that Jianlin found another one elsewhere too!

Every trip to Cyrene Reef reveals different abundance or distribution of organisms. There are many of these White sea urchins (Salmacis sp.) and as usual they are "carrying stuffs" on top of their spines.

I'm glad to find several of these Thorny sea urchins (Prionocidaris sp.) on today's survey. It's been a while these sea urchins are found on Cyrene Reef.

Another uncommon urchin sighting would be this lovely Lovenia heart urchins (Lovenia sp.). What an apt name or genus isn't it?

I came across this small sea cucumber that looks like the Stonefish sea cucumber (Actinopyga lecanora) though I can't exactly ascertain its identity.

The top find of the day for me would be this Philinopsis sp. slug (probably Philinopsis cyanea) with neon blue and orange lines! It is my first time seeing it and could be a first record for Singapore! When I first saw it, it appeared as black from far.

These slugs are also known as tailed slugs. It has a long, cylindrical body with a pair of 'wings' (called parapodia) which fold over the centre of the body as well as a pair of 'tails, one longer than the other.

Ria later showed me her find of two of these slugs which are likely to be Chelidonura sp. It resembles the Tiny black Gymnodoris nudibranchs (Gymnodoris sp.).

There's also another of this tailed-slug which looks completely black.

Today has been a hit with so many of these tailed-slugs! Chay Hoon also found what looks like the Philinopsis lineolata slug.

Other than the tailed-slugs, Pei Yan found this pretty Blue dragon nudibranch (Pteraeolidia ianthina).

And the most abundant slug on today's trip goes to the Forskal's sidegill slug (Pleurobranchus forskalii)! They are in season and are almost everywhere.

The two cowries above are not commonly found. I found the Four-spot cowrie (Cypraea quadrimaculata) which is shown on the left while Sijie stumbled upon the Walker's cowrie (Contradusta walkeri) as shown on the right. The Walker's cowrie has only been seen at Cyrene Reef.

Jianlin found the Spotted box crab (Calappa sp.) which its pincers held in front of its body. This posture is quite apt for Chinese New Year as it looks like it is saying well wishes with both arms in front haha!

I was puzzled by this sea anemone and wonder if it is the Swimming anemone (Boloceroides mcmurrichi). It does look like it though the tentacles are shorter.

We saw yet another intriguing dead Hippopus hippopus shell. The Hippopus giant clam is thought to be extinct in Singapore but we do hope to see a living individual one day.

All too soon, we had to wrap up the trip as the night fell. I was recounting the number of years we have been visiting Cyrene and it has been close to 8 years! Every trip to Cyrene Reef is different and we are constantly amazed at the marvelous diversity it holds. :)

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...