What a large Astropecten sp. seastar I found trying to burrow itself into the sand. It is as big has my hand!
|Size of Astropecten seastar|
Not only did I found out how big this seastar was, I also felt how spiny it was while making attempts to handle the seastar. It has two sets of spines along the edge of its body.
|First set of spines pointing upwards|
|Second set of spines along the edge of the seastar|
|Overview of the Astropecten seastar|
|Underside of the seastar|
|Close up of overview|
Here is the video of the Astropecten seastar burrowing into the sand.
Other types of seastars seen on this trip includes the Common seastar (Archaster typicus), Brittle star, the Knobbly seastar (Protoreaster nodosus) and the Cyrene only Pentaceraster seastar (Pentaceraster mammilatus). I will share about the Knobbly seastar later in my post.
|Underside of Pentaceraster seastar|
|Brittle star feeding?|
On the Oval sea grapes seaweed (Caulerpa racemosa) there were many isopods swimming and clinging onto the seaweed if we observe them carefully.
|Female shrimp carrying eggs|
Oh, a Giant carpet anemone (Stichodactyla gigantea) on Cyrene, but it was not occupied with the False clown anemonefish (Amphiprion ocellaris).
|Giant carpet anemone|
This poor octopus was stranded on the sand when the tide went out.
I helped to shift the stranded octopus to a pool of water and it was relieved.
Here is a video of the octopus and towards the end, it came towards me and placed one of its tentacles on my booties.
On the eve of Singapore's National Day, the knobbly seastars of Cyrene are out in full force. They come in different shape, number of arms, colour and arrangements.
The best highlight of this trip would be the live sighting of the Cone snail (Conus magus). Mei Lin did a check and told me that the last sighting was record close to 30 years ago. We have seen many dead cone snail shells but never have we seen the live animal until today and we have over 20 species of cone snails. The cone snail has a venomous dart like sting that is capable of killing humans. It should not be handled by bare hands.
Thanks to Siong Kiat from the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, we found the operculum of the cone snail. The cone snail has a very tiny operculum for its size.
It was amazing to be one of those to be able to see a live cone snail after so long.
Read about the posts by others on this trip:
Mei Lin - A LIVING Cone Snail on Cyrene Reefs and more about the cone snail
Russel with photos on his Facebook.