25 June 2009

More marvellous marine life at Beting Bemban Besar

Besides the gorgeous reefs, Beting Bemban Besar also had seagrass meadows! There is also a sand bar in the middle.


A brief glimpse at the meadows suggest that most of the seagrass species found on Pulau Semakau also occur here. Certainly, the special Noodle seagrass (Syringodium isoetifolium) was seen. This seagrass has so far only been seen on Cyrene Reef and Pulau Semakau.
In my short and narrow route across the shore, I only saw one Knobbly sea star (Protoreaster nodosus). Andy also saw one on his route. A more thorough search may reveal more of these sea stars.
On the reefs, I came across a humungous bloated Cushion star (Culcita novaeguineae)!
I came across this pink spotted sea cucumber, whose identity we have yet to confirm. Today I learnt that this animal will eject Cuvierian tubules from its backside. These toxic or sticky strings immobilise the predator in a gummy mess or release toxins. So far, I've only seen this sea cucumber on Pulau Semakau and Sisters Island.
Stephen also saw a special sea cucumber that might be Bohadschia vitiensis! I've not seen one of those before.

Among the fishes seen was the Blue-spotted fantail ray (Taeniura lymma). Most of us saw one or more of these fishes. Eeks. Makes us more wary about the amphibious landing.
As I was exploring the reefier parts of the shore, all kinds of panicky fishes would splash around. This particular fish got stranded as a result. But splashed right back into the water in a moment. I have no idea what it might be.
Janette also spotted a Tiger-tailed seahorse (Hippocampus comes).

There were no anemonefishes in the Giant sea anemones (Stichodacatyla gigantea) that I came across. Nor in the Bubble tip sea anemone (Entacmea quadricolor) that was rather limply hanging down in the low tide.
I saw lots of Frilly sea anemones (Phymanthus sp.) including one that is often seen in the sand.
Andy also saw some Haddon's carpet anemones (Stichodactyla haddoni) in the sandier areas. But we didn't see any of the special anemones that we saw at Terumbu Raya. Other interesting cnidarians seen include a black mouth peacock anemone, and the Upside down jellyfish (Cassiopea sp.) seen by Janette and Richard. There were of course, many large colonies of leathery soft corals (Family Alcyoniidae) of all kinds as well as flowery soft corals (Family Nephtheidea).

Some parts of the shores are crowded with all kinds of animals jammed together. Like this bright orange sponge around a hard coral which has a little fan worm living in it.
There were a variety of sponges on the shores. The baby blue prickly long branching sponge growing next to the Blue corals I've not seen before. There were several large pink Neptune's cup sponges (Xestospongia sp.).
And the little pink puff ball is only the tip of a much larger buried sponge (Ocenapia saggitaria). While there were many large clumps of the sponge that looks like chocolate.

There were many small octopuses busy in the pools and among the hard corals on this overcast day. During daylight though, these animals are more wary. And often all you'll see is a puff of ink in the water while the inker zooms away into a hiding place.
I didn't see any special slugs, aside from the usual 'standard' sightings. But James and the others saw lots of flatworms and nudis! Read all about them on their blogs!

Beting Bemban Besar lies near Pulau Bukom to the north.
To the south, the area is the designated location for repairs and maintenance of humungous vessels and gianormous oil rigs, like this one taken from Pulau Semakau.There is also a fish farm in the area.
More about the issues in this post.

More blog posts about this trip

2 comments:

  1. Could the sea cucumber be Holothuria impatiens?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for the tip Samson! Will certainly follow up on your thought!

    ReplyDelete

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