08 August 2009

Foray with moray at Tanah Merah

A moray eel! I finally get to see one for myself today.
The Estuarine moray (Gymnothorax tile) was seen previously by the rest of the team and I've been feeling quite foolish not being able to see for myself as it seems to be so common there. (Oops, as Ivan pointed out, this is the Brown-spotted moray (Gymnothorax reevesii) and not the Estuarine moray).

Here's the other end of the fish.It was hard to get a good shot of it in the silty crevices, and impossible to get the whole squirmy fish.

I always marvel at the hard corals that can be found on this shore.
These reefs provide shelter for lots of strange fishes that I've never seen before. Like this little one that was always swimming head down and twisting its body.
Here' the straightest photo of it that I could get. I'm not really sure what kind of fish it is.
There was another odd little black fish that James also saw on an earlier trip.
And many stripey fishes too.
I'm too sick to figure them out today.
Many fishes are superbly camouflaged among the seaweeds. This one was hiding its head in an ostrich-attitude. If it can't see me, I can't see it!
And here's another blotchy fish.
This is a False scorpionfish (Centrogenys vaigiensis) which is actually a grouper.
While this superbly camouflaged fish is the real deal. It is the Painted scorpionfish (Parascorpaena picta).
Among the weeds are tiny little fishes, like this bright blue dot which might be a young Threespot damselfish (Pomacentrus tripunctatus).
I was focused on photographing the large bobbly synaptid sea cucumber among the brown sargassum seaweeds.
And totally missed the little fishes and snails that were there.
And today's nudibranch is the Glossodoris atromarginata. Commonly seen on our reefs, but such a nice surprise to see it on the mainland and my first time seeing it on Tanah Merah.
Also on this reefy part of the shore was one Frilly anemone (Phymanthus sp.).
This part of Tanah Merah that we visited has better seagrass growths. There are large patches of good lush Spoon seagrasses (Halophila ovalis).
And I found a large patch of Tape seagrass (Enhalus acoroides).
As well as a small patch of Sickle seagrass (Thalassia hemprichii).
During an earlier trip, I did see a patch of Needle seagrass (Halodule sp.) but I couldn't find it today.

In the grassy area was this sea hare, which looks like the Extraordinary sea hare (Aplysia extraordinaria).
And an orange egg ribbon, possibly laid by a nudibranch.
On the sandier areas, there are lots of little snails and hermits. And this Striped hermit crab (Clibanarius sp.) that seems to have a preference for the shells of land snails!
There were birds foraging near by. This is why it is good to be quiet on the shore so we don't disturb the wildlife on the shore.
Chay Hoon also had an encounter with some men who were taking fish from the area. Read all about it on her colourful clouds blog.

Today, it was just Chay Hoon and me. After the trip, I got really sick so I had to miss the Semakau Book launch in the afternoon. Bummer. Hopefully, I'll feel better so I can go for tomorrow's field trip.

Other posts about this trip
No Uncle, I Am Not Waiting For... by Chay Hoon on her colourful clouds blog.

5 comments:

  1. Oh dear! Please take care of yourself. Take it easy!

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  2. Wow, I really like the 3 "acrobatic" shots of the unknown fish. Great shots and great composition if we view these shots as a whole.
    Marine lives look a lot more interesting than terrestrial lives.

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  3. Thanks for the concern TSH. I so rarely get sick that when I do I get taken unawares. But sort of recovered by now.

    Thanks Federick! Your work on our terrestrial life looks far more ardous and I think they are just as interesting as marine life :-)

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  4. I think the fish swimming head-down could be a juvenile banded perch (Terapon theraps).

    http://habitatnews.nus.edu.sg/guidebooks/marinefish/text/273.htm

    Oh yes, isn't it more likely that the moray eel you spotted was a brown-spotted moray? Estuarine moray is brown with white specks.

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  5. Oops, you're right it is Gymnothorax reevesii. Too sick to get that right that day. Thanks for the heads up. And thanks for the possible ID of the odd heads down fish!

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