Thursday, March 19, 2015

CNY Day 3: St John's Island

Day 3 of our Chinese New Year field trip series was at St John's Island! It has been 2 years since my last visit and that was also during the CNY period.

St John's Island is one of the remaining few public-accessible shores that lies beneath a majestic coastal forest and cliff. This stretch of shore at Tanjong Hakim has been spared from reclamation or coastal development.

Overlooking the city centre which lies in close proximity, the reef edge of St John's look magnificent.

The reef has a good mix of corals that were surrounded by a bloom of Hairy green seaweed (Bryopsis sp.) and it does look colourful and alive. 

There were also some of these Magnificent anemones (Heteractis magnifica) at the reef edge and this anemone is the home for the Anemone shrimp (Periclimenes brevicarpalis).

Among the seaweed, one may stumble upon special critters like this tiny Bornella nudibranch (Bornella sp.).

A special find would be this Slender ceratosoma nudibranch (Ceratosoma gracillimum) that is rarely seen on the intertidal shore. This is only my second sighting after my first in 2009 at Terumbu Raya. It looked like this when I first found it! Rather photogenic yeah?

This is an cute shot of the Giant top shell snail (Trochus niloticus) showing its body, foot and tentacles. Maybe it's my imagination, but it does look like it is waving.

This seemingly black-blob looking creature is actually a flatworm. I do not know its identity though.

Very soon, we were treated with a spectacular sunset over the horizon with the two Sisters' Island at the background. We were all trigger-happy in snapping shots of the sunset.

Right after the sun went down, the sky turned pinkish and it was really beautiful.

Other at the reefs, the bunch of us also had a look at the sandy / muddy lagoon. To our surprise, there were many of these young Clear sundial snails (Architectonica perspectiva). They are not commonly sighted.

The beautiful sundial snail produces a detailed pattern of bands and spots and they have rather flattened shells that coil to form a rather flat disc-shape with a flat base. We waited for some time for the tentacles and body to come out. 

Another nudibranch of the same Bornella genus, the Starry mouthed nudibranch (Bornella stellifer), was found stranded on dry ground. It looked a lot better when placed back in water.

Near the carpet anemones and ascidians are several of these well camouflaged Tiny spider crabs. They are covered with the ascidians and totally blends well into the environment!

Ria fulfilled my star wish by finding a juvenile Knobbly sea stars (Protoreaster nodosus)! It's my first time seeing it here though Ria has seen a knobbly at St John's before. It looks like the ones found on Changi shore.
And tada... thereafter we found a total of five! Wow! The existence of these juvenile stars shows that the population of sea stars here is sustainable as new ones are still being formed.

We were wondering if they are exactly Knobbly sea stars (Protoreaster nodosus) as they have tiny bumps at the tips of its arms which is what we observe in Pentaceraster sea star (Pentaceraster mammilatus).

As this year is the year of SG50, we topped up the 5 stars with a crescent, aka the Garlic bread sea cucumber (Holothuria scabra) to make up the national flag. :)

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