15 September 2008

New record of sea fan snails from East Coast Park!

Are the reclaimed shores of East Coast Park dead? Only full of trash?

This recent article in Nature in Singapore shows that there's life on our shores if you bother to look! And not just any old life. This new record is of a kind of snail that lives on sea fans. How cool is that?! I think it's very exotic.

All the juicy details are in this article by Wong Hoong Wei of Tampines Junior College: "A new record of Cymbovula segaliana Cate, 1973 (Mollusca: Gastropoda: Ovulidae) in Singapore". H. W. Wong. Pp. 65-67. [PDF, 228 KB] thanks to the alert from the Raffles Museum news blog.

Don't let the title scare you off. The article is a fascinating read!

Here's some highlights...

"Several specimens were obtained from various localities along East Coast Park in Jun 2006" (That's quite recent, not like a decade ago, you know).

The specimens "were found on gorgonians" (i.e., sea fans) "of various colours", some of which, sadly were "washed up on shore at low tide or pulled on shore by entangled fishing lines". Sigh. We might have lost new record snails due to careless and inconsiderate fishermen.

The snail has "a rather patchy distribution along Singapore's east coast from the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal to Bedok Jetty but can be very locally common. The snail has also been observed along Changi Beach and Pulau Ubin".

From the paper, this what the snail looks like (just the shell).In Jun 2006, wildfilms also saw lots of snails on sea fans at the East Coast. Could they be the same ones?
Here's what we saw in Jun 2006 ...
These stunning sea fans on the East Coast ...Many with these tiny little snails on them...
When we visited the same spots a month later, alas, the sea fans were gone and so were the snails.

This little snail was also seen on a sea fan, in Aug 05, at Chek Jawa. Again the sea fan and snails were not seen on subsequent visits.

This year in May, Kok Sheng also saw lots of sea fans, also crawling with these snails.See his wonderful creations blog for more photos of the sea fans and other marvellous marine life there.

Again, a return trip a few months later to the same spot and the area was very badly silted up. No big sea fans, and no snails. More about this return trip on Kok Sheng's wonderful creations blog and the wildfilms blog.

We certainly need to look at all our shores more carefully and more regularly so as not to miss any of the wonderful animals that live there. Also, to understand the pressures they face so that we can do more to prevent permanent harm.

Thank you Wong Hoong Wei for sharing this wonderful find! It sure motivates us to do more for our shores!

1 comment:

  1. Exciting to know that those snails we saw is a new record in Singapore!

    Sad that we couldn't find those sea fans and snails anymore.

    Will they make a second comeback? Hopefully they will, if given a chance.



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