Sunday, June 23, 2013

Seastars, Sea Cucumber, Seahorse and interesting Flatworm at less hazy Changi

A team head out for Changi shore this morning with haze condition of about 89 on a 3hr PSI.

What is so special about this part of Changi shore would be the hard-to-spot-at-first Armoured sea cucumber.
Armoured sea cucumber
The Armoured sea cucumber is easily overlooked as ascidian or hard coral. Covered with silt, it blends in very well on the silt covered surface and looked just like any other blobs. Only when the first Armoured sea cucumber is spotted, the rest appear magically.
The Armoured sea cucumber, as its common name suggest, feels like it has a hard shelter protecting the animal. The animal is found stuck very firmly onto rocks, behaving like a limpet. Very little is known about this sea cucumber on our shores at this moment.
Overview of the Armoured sea cucumber.
The silty ends are the mouth and anus.
Very interesting underside of the Armoured sea cucumber.
The shores of Changi is encrusted with colonies of Zebra coral (Oulastrea crispata). Even hard litters, such as glass bottles, left for a long time on the shore are being encrusted with Zebra coral on the surface.
Zebra coral
The Crown sea star (Asterina coronata) is also easily found on this part of Changi. The upper surface looked as if there are things encrusted on it, but it is not. That is how they look like. I have probably seen at least a dozen of them on today's trip.
Crown sea star 1
Underside of Crown sea star.
Looks like there are some other animals stuck on the underside.
Crown sea star 2
Crown sea star 3
Crown sea star 4
Underside of Crown sea star 4
We also encounter other sea stars such as the Luidia sand star (Luidia sp.), Eight-armed sea star (Luidia maculata) and the Plain sand star (Astropecten sp.).
Luidia sand star (Overview)
Luidia sand star (Underside)
Eight-armed sea star, but this only has six arms.
Plain sand star
There were quite a number of the Blue-spotted flatworm (cf Pseudoceros indicus) seen today, in various size and positions.
In paris
Mei Lin spotted a fast moving flatworm on a huge boulder. We are not sure what it is. It could be some kind of Phlegm flatworm?
The unknown flatworn.
The two black spots are eye spots?
Chay Hoon, our nudibranch enthusiast, knows where to find the nudibranchs and she found 4 Pink-gilled hypselodoris nudibranch (Hypselodoris infucata).
Hypselodoris infucata
Another special find was the Estuarine seahorse (Hippocampus kudas), found by Ria suspended upside out of water on a abandoned fishing nets. It must have been stranded when the tide went out. We placed the seahorse in a deep enough rock pool and it was rather happy.
Estuarine seahorse
Closeup on the head of the seahorse
There were many different types of crabs to be found on this shore.
Under the rocks, these porcelain crabs were scrambling when noticed.
Tiny under-a-stone porcelain crab.
Deep in rock crevices and holes are the Rock crabs (Leptodius sp.).
Mama Rock crab with eggs.
Ops! I seemed to be in the path of the privacy of this swimming crab couple.
Mating pair of swimming crabs
On encrusted rocks and boulders, the Purple climbing crabs gives you the cute looking set of looks.
Purple climbing crab
Hiding in the Spiky sea pens (Pteroeides sp.)are the pretty Painted porcelain crabs (Porcellanella picta).
Painted porcelain crab
On a Ball flowery soft coral (Dendronephthya sp.), there was a tiny porcelain crab.
Porcelain crab on Ball flowery soft coral
There is an animal hiding in this Spiky sea pen. Can you find it?
Spiky sea pen
It is actually a shrimp!
It was a great day of findings along this stretch of Changi shore despite the moderate haze level, which kind of tired us out quickly. Hope the haze will turn better for the next few days of predawn fieldtrips.

Due to the bad haze yesterday morning, many of us dropped out of the fieldtrip while a few carried on to check out a stretch of Changi shore. Read more about what they saw yesterday from Ria's blog - Hazy at special Changi shore.

Post by others on this trip:
Kok Sheng - Changi Rocky shore is alive!
Mei Lin - Haze woes - Changi stretch 26032013
Ria - Rocky Changi with nudis and more

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