Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Baby Knobblies at Pulau Sekudu

With permissions from National Parks Board, we are back at Pulau Sekudu to do our annual survey. Otherwise, this island is actually out of bounds.

We had the best sunrise out of the 3 days we were out thus far! I must say this shot is definitely postcard-worthy. Thank God once again for great weather. :)

The top finds of the day for me would definitely be the numerous Knobbly sea stars (Protoreaster nodosus)!

I saw a total of 7 juvenile Knobblies on this trip! We don't see or don't often see the young ones on this shore before. That's a good sign because it means the stars are procreating and younger ones will replace the older ones that has been on Sekudu for ages.

Here's a collage of the adult Knobblies that I came across today. Coincidentally, also 7 of them. We have been seeing them every year on our annual surveys.

How's the corals doing at Sekudu? To begin with, I found less hard corals this year, in fact only two colonies. One of the two Pore hard corals (Porites sp.) is partially bleached.

The other one looked fine. Where did the rest go? Did they die during the coral bleaching period?

All the Flowery soft corals (Family Nephtheidae) are bleaching. Nonetheless, this made commensals more prominent. I managed to spot this Soft coral false cowrie (Family Ovulidae).

Somehow, the Ball flowery soft corals (Family Nephtheidae) seem unaffected.

This shot shows the unbleached and bleached version of the Posy anemones. Most of them seem to be doing ok.

The Sea fans or Gorgonians (Order Gorgonacea) are doing alright but they seem to be not as abundant this year.

Similar to Chek Jawa, what's doing well would be the Purple branching sponges (Callyspongia sp.). The sponge situation is also better!

Here's a collage of the different sponges found on the coral rubble of Sekudu, which is only revealed at super low tide.

With sponges come slugs that tend to feed on them. Though there are many distracting black blobs that are actually ascidians, I managed to spot this Black prickly nudibranch (Atagema intecta). It was actually laying eggs.

Other slugs and flatworms were also spotted such as the Lined chromodoris nudibranch (Chromodoris lineolata), Fine-lined flatworms, Blue-lined flatworm (Pseudoceros sp.) and also the Purple-spotted yellow flatworm (Pseudoceros laingensis).

The Mosaic reef crab (Lophozozymus pictor) is the most poisonous crab of Singapore! There were several documented deaths caused by eating this crab. We seldom see them on northern shores as they tend to be sighted in the southern reefs.

I only saw one Thick-edged sand dollars (Jacksonaster depressum).

The team found the ever dreadful Hollow-cheeked stonefish (Synanceia horrida) inside the bubu fish trap that was later disabled. The stonefish is one of the most dangerous fishes on our shores. It has tough dorsal fin spines that can penetrate thick soled shoes. 

They are called stonefish simply because they look like a stone and remain rather motionless most of the time, just like a real stone. 

We enjoyed a great view of the egg yolk version of sun risisng from the horizon and also noticing the wild boars foraging on the coral rubble of Chek Jawa. Chek Jawa is just a stone's throw away from Sekudu.

Ending off this post featuring the team mates and also showing the numerous Haddon's carpet anemones (Stichodactyla haddoni).

More photos of the trip can be found here:

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