Saturday, May 11, 2013

Giant Clam and Handsome Shrimp at Pulau Hantu

It was a great day at Pulau Hantu this morning. The team found about 5 giant clams growing on the outer reef patch!
Photo by Kok Sheng on his Facebook.
However I only see one giant clam with the help of Marcus.
Giant clam, with my size 8 booties as size reference.

It was great to find out from Mei Lin, who studies giant clams, that these giant clams settled naturally on our reefs and they look they are growing well. How exciting. Their shells looked rather white and clean when they are still young.
Overview of the giant clam.
Closeup of the clam.
Attaching well onto a surface.
What other interesting animals did I see today on the reef?

I saw a few Yellow-banded damselfish (Dischistodus fasciatus). Night time provided a good time for me to document fish as they are rather still.
Yellow-banded damselfish
I also had a very clam encounter with a Longspined scorpionfish (Paracentropogon longispinis). It was my first time encounter a real scorpionfish on the intertidal reef. However I had encounter a rather huge scorpionfish during my recent dive last month in the waters of Pulau Hantu.
Longspined scorpionfish
This suspicious blob with tiny bumps on the surface is actually the Alicia anemone (Alicia sp.) when contracted.
Alicia anemone
It looks like the Alicia anemone is in season lately with frequent sightings of it recently. In fact, I saw another larger Alicia anemone towards the end of the trip. Initially, I thought it was a nudibranch but on closer observation it turned out to be the Alicia anemone.
A slightly bigger Alicia anemone.
The Alicia anemone contains stinging cells and its sting can be rather powerful. So far, none of us had experience with the stinging cells of the Alicia anemone so we are not able to describe how painful it is.

The other anemone that delivers a powerful sting is the Haeckel's anemone (Actinostephanus haeckeli). We also refer this anemone as the "Darth Vader anemone".
Haeckel's anemone
This cute octopus was waving at me when I approached it.
I only managed to take a shot of this Line chromodoris nudibranch (Chromodoris lineolata) on a sponge before it fell into a crevice and unable to be found. It was my only find for nudibranch but the rest of the team saw many other nudibranchs.
Chromodoris lineolata
A special find for this trip was this handsome looking burrowing red shrimp.
Red shrimp
The identity of the shrimp is unknown but it possibly be a Sicyonia sp.. I did not have good profile images of the shrimp as it was too active moving around in the container. Neither did I have it in situ, which I kind of regret it now. Here are some of the profiles of the shrimp I got.

On this trip, I only managed to spot one False clown anemonefish (Amphiprion ocellaris). It was so shy that it only appear long enough for me to take two quick shots. Most of the time, I could only see the wriggling activity in the anemone.
False clown anemonefish
Another special find of the day is the young Cushion star (Culcita novaeguinea).
Cushion star.
Here's view of the Cushion star underwater.
Underwater view
As the team was checking out the shore, the sky brightens up behind the refinery island.
Dawn from Pulau Hantu
Pulau Hantu reef in the foreground of the refinery island.
Sunrise at Pulau Hantu.
It was a great trip. Though I saw little, they were very special finds.

Post by others on this trip
Ria - Nudis, Nemos and more at Pulau Hantu


  1. Thank you for sharing these wonderful pics!

    1. Dear Simon,
      Thank you for the encouraging words.

      Pei Yan



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