Tuesday, February 9, 2016

CNY Day 2: Cyrene Reef

Happy CNY Day 2 from one of our all time favourite shores, Cyrene Reef! Once again, we were blessed with relatively good weather (except for the drizzling at the beginning).

The underwater seagrass garden at Cyrene is really pretty to take photos. The "bloom" of Forskal's sidegill slug (Pleurobranchus forskalii) are still around, though not as many as last December.

This large bullet-shaped Olive snail (Oliva miniacea) was cruising along the sand flat while the tide was still going out. They are only commonly seen at Cyrene.

Cyrene's juvenile Knobbly sea stars (Protoreaster nodosus) tell us that the population is still be regenerated. However, we no longer find aggregation of the larger ones like in the past. I wonder where are they gathering now, or do they stop gathering.

I chanced upon this weird-looking Knobbly which looks a little diseased. The patterns on the aboral surface is unusual.

Today I decided to take a closer look at the small Montipora corals (Montipora sp.) on the seagrass and realised it is home to lots of different types of commensals ranging from crabs, clams and brittle stars.

I tried the super macro function of my underwater camera and managed to get a decent shot of this orange brittle star on the surface of the coral.

Ria later showed me that the Thorny sea urchins (Prionocidaris sp.) are also home to the Tiny colourful brittle stars (Ophiothela danae). My first time noticing it!

Though I'm not too good at spotting tiny critters, this small shrimp crawled past my vision and when I took a closer look, it looked new to me. Chay Hoon said it's a type of seagrass shrimp.

Some sea cucumbers that are common to our Northern shores can also be found at Cyrene, such as this Orange sea cucumber (Mensamaria intercedens). I only found one on this trip.

Another solo find would be this Thorny sea cucumber (Colochirus quadrangularis). These sea cucumbers are abundant on certain northern shores.

To add on to the CNY festive season, I found this Vermilion flatworm (Phrikoceros baibaiye) with tiny white dots all over the upper surface.

This Reticulated tailed slug (Philinopsis reticulata) was moving along the sand flat before I spotted it. It is quite a beauty!

Before sunset, I had a glimpse at the reefy areas and the hard and soft corals look ok. Let's hope they will surviving the El Nino bleaching.

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