Monday, June 6, 2016

Back at Changi's echinoderm haven

One of the first few shores that shore lovers would visit definitely includes Changi Beach.

After one year, I'm back to take a look at how it is doing and we agreed it has changed. Nevertheless, it is still an echinoderm haven.

Firstly, there still many sea cucumbers which mainly are Pink warty sea cucumbers (Cercodemas anceps) and Thorny sea cucumbers (Colochirus quadrangularis). Unfortunately, there isn't as many sea stars on this stretch as compared to the past.

It's always a joy to say hello to the psychedelic Sea apple sea cucumber (Pseudocolochirus violaceaus)! Though pretty and brightly coloured, these sea cucumbers are extremely toxic when placed in an aquarium or tank.

Here's a collage showing an assortment of the different types of sea cucumber species that one can find at Changi.

We were relieved to find more of the sea stars further down. They include Biscuit stars (Goniodiscaster scaber), Cake sea stars (Anthenea aspera), Painted sand stars (Astropecten sp.) and Crown sea star (Asterina coronata). Strangely, we didn't see any of the common Plain Sand stars (Astropecten sp.).

The team also found a large Eight-armed sand star (Luidia maculata). They are not so commonly found on our shores.

I later on found another two juvenile ones. Unfortunately, they have lost some limbs.

Jonathan found what seems to be a Purple feather star (Comatula purpurea)! This is the only 10-armed feather star seen in Singapore. 

Where the pipes leads to the deeper waters are some small branches of Sea fans or Gorgonians (Order Gorgonacea).

This Changi shore has changed in many aspects, one of which would be the new growth of the Smooth ribbon seagrass (Cymodocea rotundata).

Terrain-wise, the ground is definitely a lot more firm. There are many areas that used to be too soft to walk on but today I could safely transverse without sweat. Wonder where these sediments come from. 

More organisms sighted include this cute crab with knobs on its claws hiding beneath the Haddon's carpet anemones (Stichodactyla haddoni). It really look like a kid hiding under a carpet. Haha!

Here's how the crab look like without the "shield". We still do not really know its identity.

I came across this whelk that looks like the Speckled whelk (Nassarius limnaeiformis). I seldom pay attention to whelks but this one has a nicely-patterned shell.

Though we saw a couple of moults, there's also this living Mangrove horseshoe crab (Carcinoscopius rotundicauda).

Sadly, the horseshoe crab and a sea pen have been entangled with fishing lines. This is a result of irresponsible disposal of fishing lines. Thankfully I brought a scissors to cut off the line from the horseshoe crab and the sea pen.

There's still a myriad assortment of marine creatures on Changi despite the various pressures faced since it is such an accessible yet tiny mainland shore. 

Just like today's sunrise, every cloud has a silver lining. I mean golden lining (literally). Let's hope we will continue to still enjoy rich marine life off the coast of Changi.

Here's ending off the post with the amusing "Sea dragon" cloud formation. :)

More photos of the trip can be found here:

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