07 July 2009

Nem check at Pasir Ris

The soft silty shores of Pasir Ris make a happy home for some kinds of sea anemones. And indeed, we saw many of the usual suspects.
This large but rather plain anemone has yet to be identified. I call him Bob. He has virtually no identifying marks, aside from being large and plain.

The tide was quite low today, exposing large areas of lush meadows of Spoon seagrass (Halophila ovalis), dotted with rocks and stones. But most of the shore is very soft, and it was a bit of a struggle to explore. To avoid causing massive damage (and to save my already dying feet) I stayed mostly on firm ground.

James found several pretty Peachia anemones (Peachia sp.), which has relatively fewer tentacles compared to the other anemones we commonly see. It is usually rather well camouflaged, unless it shows off its pale 'mouth'.
Another commonly seen anemone in sandy places is this one with stripes on its tentacles. Like most sea anemones, it looks much prettier when submerged. Out of water, they look like blobs or sad limp things.
Here's a large black blob near a rock, with a tiny goby hiding near it.
And another strange blob, a sea anemone with its tentacles tucked into its body column. It was rather large and had bobbles on the body column. It looks like a plain sea anemone, Bob as a blob.
Another blob, which I think is a tiger anemone with banded tentacles. It refused to let us see its body column and promptly sunk deep into the sediments when we tried to peek.
There were several medium sized Haddon's carpet anemones (Stichodactyla haddoni). They looked quite healthy.
And I saw one small carpet anemone which might be Stichodactyla tapetum. James saw several too.
And there was one snail with an anemone on its shell.
Many of our commonly seen anemones have yet to be identified. Hopefully more can be revealed as we work harder on them in preparation for the visit by Dr Daphne Fautin, world authority on sea anemones.

Peacock anemones (Order Ceriantharia) are not true anemones (Order Actiniaria). There were a few of these elegant animals which live in tubes.
In the rather murky water, they were still unfurled. Although this one was tucked into its tubes, surrounded by a ring of Phoronid worms (Phylum Phoronida) that are often seen with peacock anemones. Next to it is an Olive whelk (Nassarius olivaceus) which were quite abundant today.
Another Cnidarian is this rather sad 'uprooted' Common sea pen (Pteroides sp.) which had no porcelain crabs.
Today we only saw one kind of seahare on the shore, unlike yesterday where we saw three different kinds at Tanah Merah. It's the Hairy sea hare (Bursatella leachii). Like other sea hares, it releases a purple dye when it's unhappy.
On the exposed silty shore were all kinds of little fishes. Like this one which looks like a goby. I don't really know what it is.
And this little mudskipper with a mouthful of breakfast. James pointed out that you could see the eyeballs on the Breakfast. He has a great shot of it on his blog!
The soft sculptured stones that dot the seagrass meadows provide shelter for all kinds of animals. Like this cluster of black sea urchins (Temnopleurus sp.). I didn't see very many of these sea urchins today.
Also sheltering in these little 'rock pools' where little brittle stars. The two that I saw were both upside down. Alas, I didn't see any special sea stars today.In between a rock and a hard place is a good place for a large octopus! I could hardly take a photo of it!
While this pair of Stone crabs (Myomenippe hardwicki) were squished in a hole in the rock. At first I thought they couldn't possibly fit into the hole, whereupon they sank away and only the tippy tips of their feet could be seen.
In the sandier areas of the shores, the water was clearer and full of all kinds of marinelife.
There were many sand stars (Astropecten sp.) , as well as medium sized flower crabs (Portunus pelagicus). This pretty one was eating something, I'm not really sure what.
There were also many moon crabs (Family Matutidae), which quickly buried themselves in the sand when they noticed me.
And lots of and lots of hermit crabs were busy on the shores. There were many medium sized Striped hermit crabs (Clibanarius sp.). James took some great shots of the creepy animals that live with these hermit crabs.

There were also tidal hermit crabs (Diogenes sp.) of all sizes. I'm not sure what this pair of tidal hermit crabs are up to. Is the bigger one bullying the little one?
The water was splashing with all kinds of little fishes. There were many Whitings (Family Sillagenidae) and countless tiny fishes. Probably all waiting for the tide to come back in over the seagrasses.

On the murky bottom was this flathead (Family Platycephalidae), my first time seeing this on Pasir Ris.
And further out in the water, forming an 'animal' with an ever changing body shape, was a ball of small Lined eeltail catfishes (Plotosus lineatus), another first for me for Pasir Ris.
We left even before the sunrise as the tide turned.

Pasir Ris is impacted by various issues: littering, fish farms and shipping. Issues which remain as outlined in the post for my last visit there.

Other posts about this trip
Pasir Ris - Anemone day by James on his Singapore Nature blog.

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