Monday, June 4, 2012

Eggy, Crabby, Feathery Punggol

Today marks the start of another series of crazy wake up time to check out our shores in Singapore.
A small team visited Punggol Beach on a very early morning.

The Punggol beach I knew was a rocky beach with whiffs of funny smell coming from somewhere.
Never have I expected this stretch of beach to come alive during a low spring tide.
The team covered both sides of the shore from the jetty.

When I reached the shore, Ria was so excited to show this beaded nudibranch (Hoplodoris nodulosa).
Hoplodoris nodulosa
At that moment, all my gears where still in my bag. A quick setup and I was on my way to documenting my shore findings, including the above nudibranch.

The rocks are really alive with many critters. Though I may not be able to see them but I can hear all sorts of sounds coming from them. Those who have been to Punggol beach would know that the rocks there are covered with green mussels (Perna viridis) and nest mussels (Musculista senhousia).
Green mussels with lots of colourful blobs nearby
Nest mussels with a crab
There were also many drill snails found on rocks and many of the rocks had snail eggs on them. The eggs comes in various shapes, sizes, colours and arrangements.
Drill snails
Some of the snail eggs I saw
Egg laying in progress?
Plentiful on the shore are stone crabs (Myomenippe hardwickii). Many of the stone crabs I saw were hiding below the big rocks on the rocky side of the beach.
Hiding stone crabs
A poor fella lost one of its pincer
On the rocky side of the shore, I saw many black sea urchins (Temnopleurus toreumaticus). The ones I saw were all alive. This is my first time seeing sea urchins with my own eyes. The sea urchins camouflage themselves with all sorts of items found on the shore.
Black sea uchin
Underside of a black sea urchin
Leaf wannabe urchins
Nest mussel wannabe urchin
Newspaper wannabe urchin
Found on the big rocks also were sponges of different colours and worm snails. I was wondering what those funny tubes with "doors" were until I read Ria's post.
Orange sponge
Worm snails
I also saw a stranded snapping shrimp at the big rocks area in a small stream. It was kind enough to pose on both sides for me.
Right profile
Left profile
Then I rescued a badly injured brittle star further up the shore where It was drier. It had only had three arms to move and was struggling badly. I used a small container, scooped it up and placed it in a shallow pool nearby. It disappeared quickly when placed in the pool.

Futher down towards the bigger piles of rocks, I found a pair of purple climbing crab fighting and three onch slugs before heading to the other side of the jetty.
Peaceful purple climbing crab
Crab fight!
Onch slug
On the other side of the jetty there were plenty of brittle stars on this part of the shore.
Brittle star
I saw a bristleworm. Kok Sheng later turn over one the rocks and he found many of them.
One bristleworm
Many bristleworms!
While observing the many snapping shrimps moving in and out of their borrows, I noticed an octopus. It was making an attempt to catch the snapping shrimp but failed miserably, causing a few shrimps to jump out of the water. I only managed to capture the octopus when it when back to his hiding hole.
Sad octopus with no food
The cutest animal seen today was the sponge crab. Mei Lin spotted one next to the one I saw. I was wonder what is that moving object until Mei Lin asked me to flip it over and told me it's a sponge crab.
Mysterious moving object
Flip it over and you get a sponge crab. So cute looking.
A snail was seen eating up a bivalve. It looked like it was swallowing the whole bivalve whole.
Snail eating a bivalve
There were very small kite butterflyfish (Parachaetodon ocellatus) seeking shelter in the shallow pools.
Kite butterflyfish
The team found another beaded nudibranch we saw at the start of our trip and then a rose nudibranch (Dendrodoris fumata).
Another beaded nudibranch
Rose nudibranch
A sea star was found. It is the crown sea star (Asterina coronata).
Crown sea star
Throughout the trip, I saw 3 of my best friend - the striped hermit crab. One of them was even clinging onto another empty shell, making sure that no other hermit crab takes it away.
Striped hermit crab
"This shell is mine!"
The shore of Punggol beach is very alive. There is so much to see on this shore.
The good thing about this beach is that there are washing up facilities at the toilet nearby.

We reached the shore in darkness, we left the shore in darkness.
Tomorrow will be another crazy morning wake up session.

Read about what others saw:
Loh Kok Sheng - God's wonderful creation
Marcus Ng - The annotated budak
Mei Lin - Psychedelic Nature
Ria Tan - Wild Singapore

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