Thursday, October 1, 2015

Surprises from Berlayar Creek

My first visit to the shores of Berlayar Creek was in 2010 and it was just a so-so trip. Not very diverse and is rather bare.

What brought me back here after 5 years would be Ria's recent find of the Galloping sea star on this shore. I was keen to see if I can also spot this elusive sea star on this hazy evening.

It was nice to spot the Soldier crabs (Dotilla sp.) on the sand bank as these crabs are now uncommon on our shores.

I also found this Coastal horsehoe crab (Tachypleus gigas) moving along the sand surface.

There are quite a number of these Frilly sea anemones (Phymanthus sp.) on the rocky areas.

The interior of this Window-pane clam (Placuna sp.) is actually quite pretty!

Quite abundantly found on this shore would be the Haddon's carpet anemones (Stichodactyla haddoni).

What was different for this trip as compared to 5 years ago would be that there are more seagrasses. This could be a contributing factor for the more critters that we saw on this trip.

What a lovely surprise to spot these Cryptic sea stars (Cryptasterina sp.) at Berlayar! Our first sighting on this mainland shore.

Here's how they look like when submerged underwater. According to Dr David Lane's "A Guide to Sea Stars and Other Echinoderms of Singapore", the cryptic stars live amongst rocks and stones on the upper to mid-shore level. They have a mottled, but variable, colouration which is actually for camouflage to be inconspicious to predators. That's how their name come from. :)

Another unexpected find would be this Knobbly sea star (Protoreaster nodosus)! Long time ago, Andy once found a Knobbly at Labrador shore which is near Berlayar.

The team later found another smaller sea star which I would identify as the juvenile version of the Knobbly sea star.

This find of the Thick-edged sand dollar (Jacksonaster depressum) was also unexpected. Alas, we only saw one on this trip.

There were also quite a good variety of sea cucumbers such as this Garlic bread sea cucumber (Holothuria scabra).

There was also one Ball sea cucumber (Phyllophorus sp.) found embedded in the sand. These sea cucumbers are more commonly found in the north.

We saw several Remarkable sea cucumbers (Holothuria notabilis). These sea cucumbers that prefer sandy and silty sediments are also sometimes sighted on our northern shores.

After night fell, many of these Longspined scorpionfish (Paracentropogon longispinis) came out and they look like they are having a good time slacking off among the seaweed.

I came across two of the Beautiful fireworms (Chloeia sp.). They are named as fireworms as the hairy bristles are sharp and can easily penetrate bare skin. The bristles are brittle and break off easily inside the skin. The embedded bristles cause a burning sensation, intense itching, inflammation and numbness that can last for days and even weeks.

At the most minimum tide, there are some hard corals that were exposed which tells us that there are more in deeper waters.

Similarly there were also some of these soft corals exposed during low tide.

As well as sponges of different species and types.

I also came across one Giant carpet anemone (Stichodactyla gigantea). These carpet anemones are commonly found in the south. 

All too soon, it was time to go. We spent the last part of the trip picking up golf balls that fell on the shore from the nearby golf course.

And here's our loot. The number of golf balls on this trip seem to be lesser than my previous trip.

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