20 July 2009

Nem Hunt Day 1: Pasir Ris Park

Dr Daphne has arrived! She is the world authority on sea anemones, and we have been eagerly awaiting her trip here so that we can show her our best 'nems. She is accompanied on this trip by her student, Andrea Crowther.
The Anemone Army has been mobilised and we are not disappointed on Pasir Ris.

We find lots and LOTS of these anemones with stripes. Although these are very common on our shores, Dr Daphne will have to look at them much more closely to be sure what they are.
It just goes to show, that we really still have a lot to learn about shores!

Anemones out of water often look just like blobs. And are often overlooked. Especially when there are more mobile and attractive creatures nearby. Like this little Purple climbing crab (Metopograpsus sp.).
But when submerged, the blobs become elegant creatures.
This dark one is most likely Anthopleura handi! What a gorgeous animal.
There are also sea anemones on shells of the living whelks (Family Nassaridae). Chay Hoon saw some on shells occupied by hermit crabs.
Dr Daphne also found some anemones with yellow tentacles, a mangrove anemone and the Lined bead anemone (Diadumene lineata). And everyone got lots of other kinds of blobs and nems. I couldn't get to photograph all of them as the ground was very soft.

The soft silty shore was positively teeming with long pinkish red ribbon worms. These unsegmented worms are fierce predators with a muscular proboscis that can be used to capture prey.
This particular ribbon worm must have caught something and it has attracted lots of whelks (Family Nassaridae) of all kinds. Whelks are scavengers and very agile and active snails that were also abundant on this shore.

Other kinds of worms were also seen the shores. The little pink one has long spotted tentacles. I don't know what it is but I have seen them on our shores. While the little spotted flatworm is often seen in silty areas. There were also lots of tubeworms of all kinds.
Another animal seen in numbers today were the Sand stars (Astropecten sp.) in various sizes, from really tiny ones to large ones.
Mud of course means mudskippers! And today we saw two of these Bearded mudskippers (Scartelaos histophorus) that Kok Sheng first blogged about. I finally got to see them! They are tinier than I expected, and are very long!
There were lots of gobies of various kinds in the shallow pools left behind at low tide. Including this speckled goby. I have yet to figure out its identity.
Andrea saw a snake on the mud too! It's probably a Dog-faced watersnake (Cerberus rhynchops). They are quite common in Pasir Ris mangroves and Sijie did a great project on them here a few years back.

Pasir Ris is certainly a great place for anemones and other marine life.

We started at 2am today and ended well before sunrise. More predawn trips ahead of us, and hopefully, MORE anemones!

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