Sunday, February 10, 2013

Big Sisters in the year of the water snake

Today is the first day of the Lunar New Year, the year of the water snake. It has been raining for the whole day and the team was worried it will continue to rain during our fieldtrip session in the evening.

I started out the fieldtrip slightly different today. Instead of heading straight to the lagoon, I went to check out the crinoids with Kok Sheng first. We saw many pretty crinoids of various size and colours.
Red crinoid
Zebra striped crinoid
Nearby the crinoids there was a colony of bubble tip anemone (Entacmaea quadricolor). I didn't notice the anemone shrimp until I looked at my photos at home. Can you find the anemone shrimp?
Bubble tip anemone with anemone shrimp
The underwater reef is pretty with the hydroids, but beware as the hydroids stings and they leave nasty marks.
Underwater view of the hydroids and sargassum seaweeds
In the big lagoon, the team found many interesting critters in the shallow reef.
Oh what is this suspicious cone-shape snail moving very slowly on the rock?
Cone-shaped snail
It is a giant top shell snail (Trochus niloticus) and it tried crawl on my fingers while I was holding it to examine.
Underside of the snail
Snail crawling on my thumb
The sargassum seaweeds are still around and there are many dotted dove snails (Euplica scripta) around, probably feeding on the algae growing on the sargassum.
Dotted dove snail
Hurray! Chay Hoon found a tiny seven-armed coral star. Looking at its size compared the the grains of the substrate, the sea star is really very tiny. If it was me, I would have definitely missed it easily.
Top view of the coral star
Underside view of the coral star
I saw a few mushroom coral and some of them are showing pink colouration. It could be signs of stress for the mushroom coral colony.
Mushroom coral with pink colouration
There are many frilly anemone of various colours. I saw one being disturbed by a red egg crab (Atergatis integerrimus) as it was getting in its pathway.
Frilly anemone

Chay Hoon also found a Chromodoris fidelis nudibranch. This is my first time seeing this nudibranch on our shores and also my first time seeing it on intertidal. However I have seen it in Indonesia when diving.
Chromodoris fidelis
Here's a video I recorded of the nudibranch (video recorded in supermacro mode on Olympus TG-1). 

There were a total of three different flatworms seen on this trip, each of them with video. One of the flatworms seen seems to be new to the intertidal record.
Blue-lined flatworm (Pseudoceros sp.)

Dawn flatworms (Pseudobiceros uniarborensis)

New flatworm sighting. Identity is unknown at the moment.

It was a great fieldtrip with very mild drizzle towards the end of the trip.

Posts by others on this trip:
Kok Sheng - CNY Day 1: Big Sisters Island
Ria Tan - Sisters Island after the rain

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