Saturday, August 15, 2015

Baby shark at Big Sister's Island

What a lovely surprise to stumble upon a baby Bamboo Shark (Chiloscyllium sp.), possibly the White-spotted Bamboo Shark (Chiloscyllium plagiosum) on our predawn survey at Big Sister's Island this morning! Yes we do have sharks in Singapore!

Here's a close-up underwater shot of the cute shark with white blotches on its black body. These sharks are nocturnal and will hunt for fish at night. Generally, sharks will not harm humans if they are left alone. As top predators, they play an important role in the health and balance of the marine ecosystem.

I have also take a video of the shark wading in the tidal pool! :) Many thanks to Ivan for the id of this shark.

The two Sisters' Islands are now part of our first Marine Park which constitutes both the intertidal and subtidal (diving) areas for visitors to explore.

As we were there before sunrise, the fishes are actively swimming around! Here's an assortment of four types of fishes I came across this morning.

I'm glad to also find a couple of the Light's Rockskippers (Entomacrodus lighti) that we often see on East Coast shore.

This cryptic-looking Fringe-eyed flathead (Cymbacephalus nematophthalmus) is huge! The coolest part of this flathead would be what seems to be their golden eyelashes. Those "eyelashes" are actually 6-9 skin tentacles over their eyes.

Here's a collage of the different types of hard corals that I came across on the trip. On the overall, Ria and I feel that there is a drop of coral cover and we wonder why.

I'm glad to find two Circular mushroom corals (Family Fungiidae). These mushroom corals used to be more fairly common on Big Sister's.

After hearing the sad news of the death of the two Fluted giant clams (Tridacna squamosa), some of the guides placed the two pairs of shells together in this clam graveyard. :(

Today we came across quite a number of these Long-spined black sea urchins (Diadema setosum) on the intertidal flat. Most of them were found beside a coral or in a rock crevice except for the one on the left.

Though we didn't search hard enough, the team also saw two Feather stars (Order Comatulida) including the Red feather star (Himerometra robustipinna).

For some unknown reason, there were quite a number of these Red egg crab (Atergatis integerrimus) on the reef today. Though they look like chilli crab, red egg crabs are poisonous and must not be eaten as their toxin is not destroyed by cooking.

This brightly-coloured and large hermit crab is known as the Spotted hermit crab (Dardanus sp.). They are not commonly sighted on our trips.

We didn't see many slugs today. My only find would be the bluish Pimply phyllid nudibranch (Phyllidiella pustulosa) and Black phyllid nudibranch (Phyllidiella nigra).

Same goes for the flatworms. The only flatworm sighting for the day is this Blue-lined flatworm (Pseudoceros sp.).

This Reef octopus (Family Octopodidae) looks flamboyant as it extends its webbing and arms out in response to me approaching the fellow. The patterns on this octopus looks really nice.

We enjoyed a lovely sunrise from behind St John's Island.

With the sun up and us exploring the higher shores, Ria found this patch of sandy shore with mating Common sea stars (Archaster typicus)! This is our first time seeing them in the big lagoon.

Here's a closer look at one mating pair of Common sea star. The male, which is usually smaller, lies on top of the female, his arms alternating with hers. This is an act of pseudo-copulation where their reproductive organs do not actually have contact but merely release sperm and eggs simultaneously. This might increase the chances of external fertilisation.

Later on, I stumbled upon yet another patch of the Common sea stars though this time they are not in their mating positions.

We had a last look at the reefs of Big Sister's Island before calling it a day. With the new status as a Marine Park, we hope that the marine habitat will thrive for more people to visit and see the marine splendor with their own eyes.

More photos of the trip on my facebook album:

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...