19 July 2009

Wildfacts updates: Funny fishes, weird worms and strange slugs

New fishy fact sheets have been uploaded to the wild fact sheets, as the flurry of low tide trips results in lots of sightings.
The cute unfish-like Shortnose boxfish (Ostracion nasus) was seen at Cyrene Reef! This amazing Reef continues to reveal mysterious and special marine life everytime we visit.

Seen twice at Tanah Merah, at first I thought it was the Brown sweetlips (Plectorhinchus gibbosus) that we often see pretending to be a leaf. But it turns out to be a different fish altogether. It is probably the Tripletail (Lobotes surinamenses) that belongs to a different family. Thanks to Ivan for the ID suggestion. The fish got its common name because the lobed anal and dorsal fins gives the appearance of three tails.
At Tanah Merah we saw a lot of dragonets (Family Callionymidae) that were not the usual kind we see at Changi. Instead of spots, these fishes have squarish patches that give the appearance of a mosaic-like pattern. I've consolidated all the photos of similarly marked mosaic dragonets and put up a new page. I still don't know what kind of dragonet it is.
We seem to see many flattened fishes for the first time during the last month or so. We encountered this flatfish twice. Once at the East Coast and again at Kusu Island. I think it's the Oriental sole (Brachirus orientalis).
This funny-looking flatfish at Changi I think is an Indian halibut (Psettodes erumei). It isn't as specialised other flatfishes. The eyes may be on the right or left side, it is thicker than other flatfishes, and besides swimming on its side, it may also swim upright like other 'normal' fishes. The tail fin is well separated from the dorsal and anal fins.
It was also time to catch up with fact sheets on some animals seen in the past. The amazing Fig snails (Family Ficidae) are unfortunately not very commonly encountered alive. Sightings of empty shells give us hope of encountering living ones on a wider range of shores.
My encounter with the gianormous black Forskal's sidegill slug (Pleurobranchus forskalii) finally gave me no excuse to delay a fact sheet on this amazing creature. It has been sighted by others in the past on Cyrene Reef. Thanks to Chay Hoon for the ID directions.
It was also about time I did a fact sheet on the Red mangrove flatworms (Limnostylochus sp.) that I keep seeing since I've started exploring the mangroves. When I get a chance, will trawl through the old photos and post earlier sightings.
We kept seeing this Olive flatworm (Order Polycladida) at Tanah Merah. I have no idea what it is, but I thought I should start a fact sheet since it is so common there.
And we have lots of photos of it. From above, from below and everything in between.
I also realised I have not done a fact sheet about this rather gross animal, the Spoon worm (Class Echiura). Not often seem, it is easily overlooked as a sea cucumber or uprooted sea anemone.

There have also been lots of updates of existing fact sheets with sightings kindly shared by many people.

Geraldine shared these interesting sightings at St. John's. It was good to know the little purple sea cucumbers are still seen under stones on the shores, while her sightings of the Spotted moon crabs are the first for the fact sheets at St. John's. And the pretty pink shell is also very interesting.
Marcus shared these interesting Beting Bronok sightings. While we knew there were stingrays on BB since poor Chay Hoon got stung there, it's my first photo entry in the fact sheet on the Mangrove whipray for BB. And also for the intriguing Ghost shrimp.
Kok Sheng as usual, had lots of fabulous sightings. Particularly of his favourite animals, the sea stars and their relatives.
At Changi, Kok Sheng thoroughly explored the garden of sea fans there to discover the strange animals that live on them.
On other others, Kok Sheng shared his amazing encounter with a Sundial snail laying eggs and various slugs.
Liana shared lots of sightings on Seringat-Kias which she did more thoroughly than the rest of us. With lots of interesting finds.
She also contributed the first entries for Pulau Jong of these little fishes.
I finally got a chance to update all the fascinating fishes that Ivan has seen at Siloso Beach on Sentosa!
He also saw interesting echinoderms on Siloso. These are more commonly seen on our Northern shores.
Ivan also shared two pretty flatworms. The orange-edged one was seen at Siloso, and I haven't done a fact sheet on it yet. While the other one was seen at Tanah Merah.
Chay Hoon of course, spots amazing stuff. Braving deep water, she encounters all kinds of amazing marine life at Tanah Merah. And also saw a Grey bonnet snail at Cyrene Reef.
James, however, is ahead of the pack for the most weird stuff sighted and best photos taken of new entries for the fact sheets! He saw the odd spoke-shaped anemone, observed pink snails on the Thorny sea cucumber and saw an Alicia sea anemone!
He also observed strange worms, and saw brittle stars at the East Coast!
Other strange encounters were tiny hard corals growing on the shell occupied by a hermit crab. And some first sightings of sea anemones for Tanah Merah.
James is really good at spotting fishes. Like these two sea horses at Tanah Merah that everyone else missed.
And lots of other fishes big and small on various shores. He was also the one who accidentally found the Oriental sole at Kusu Island.
And of course, lots of colourful finds and photos of slugs and crustaceans.
Visit their blogs for more about their encounters and to see their photos in full glory!
I'd gladly include your sightings in the wild fact sheets. Just email me, Ria at hello@wildsingapore.com.

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