29 April 2010

Fishes alive! At Pasir Ris

There were lots of living fishes on Pasir Ris this morning! The most delightful of them were several sea moths!
I was dreading the trip as I had seen some dead fishes last weekend on the way to Chek Jawa, and feared another mass fish death.

So it was nice to see three sea moths (Pegasus volitans)! Including these two rather large ones in deeper and murkier water.
As well as lots of other fishes! There were lots of little gobies in the pools left behind at low tide: such as the Shadow goby (Acentrogobius nebulosus) and the Brown shore goby (Drombus triangularis). Under a stone was a small Toadfish (Batrachomoeus trispinosus), while stranded out of water was a colourful Diamond tuskfish (Halichoeres dussumieri). This fish has a nasty bite, so I was careful when I put it back into a pool of water. It was still very much alive.
At the water's edge, there was this fat little fish which I still haven't ID yet, as well as several of these twig-like half beaks (Family Hemiramphidae), lots of whitings (Family Sillagenidae) and a few Longspined scorpionfishes (Paracentropogon longispinis).
There was one large Striped eel-tail catfish (Plotosus lineatus) moving listlessly in the water, while a little further away, a ball of smaller catfishes squirming about.
Chay Hoon also saw a seahorse (Hippocampus kuda)!

The soft silty shore was crawling with Sand stars (Astropecten sp.)!
While there were plenty of buried Ball sea cucumbers (Phyllophorus sp.), and one that was stranded above ground and didn't look very well.
The shore was also teeming with crabs! Lots of stone crabs (Myomenippe hardwicki) hiding among the stones, swimming crabs with purple legs (Charybdis sp.) and many Flower crabs (Portunus pelagicus) big and small. Some crabs were well hidden. There were lots of suspiciously moving leaves with powered by Leaf porter crabs (Family Dorripidae) underneath them. And a few very well camouflaged Velcro crabs (Camposcia retusa).
Also abundant were Tidal hermit crabs (Diogenes sp.). I also saw a cluster of hermit crabs with banded legs, and a few big orange Striped hermit crabs (Clibanarius sp.)
The shore was riddled with burrows of the snapping shrimps (Alpheus brevicristatus), while in deeper water there were many prawns (Family Penaeidae).
In some parts of the shore, there were several Haddon's carpet anemones (Stichodactyla haddoni) and one which might be Stichodactyla tapetum.
On the stones were lots of large blobs. These are probably the banded bead anemones (Anthopleura sp.). The one at the bottom row might be Anthopleura nigrescens because it has darker body column, and the bumps around the top of the body column under the tentacles (called acrorhagi) have white tips.
Dotting the soft shores were the burrowing peacock anemones (Order Ceriantharia). These are not true anemones and live in a tube. There was a dark and dusky one, several banded ones and many common peacock anemones in various colours. Often living with peacock anemones are little black Phoronid worms with a double pair of feathery tentacles.
It's still jellyfish season! There were many of these Ribbon jellyfishes (Chrysaora sp.) stranded on the shore. And bits of their tentacles floating in the water. All these can continue to sting so we should not touch them.
Stubbornly clinging to the rocks are sponges in various colours, and small patches of brownish Zebra hard corals (Oulastrea crispata). This hard core hard coral can be found one even our most 'beat up' shores.
The purple branching sponges (Callyspongia sp.) seem to be doing very well on this shore. I saw several large, healthy looking clumps.
There were also elegantly branching blue sponges (Haliclona sp.), the ball-shaped prickly sponges (Tethya robusta), and some orange and some black sponges that I have yet to figure out.
I also had a delightful encounter with a tube worm and other wonderful worms. While Chay Hoon spotted some interesting nudibranchs!

Alas, these shores are probably going to be seriously affected by on-going works here. From the Port Marine Notice, these are 'restoration works' which "entail topping up of sand / stone in the revetment and construction of new headland. The works will be carried out by excavators from the landward side and the materials for the restoration works will be provided by the work barges. " The works are due to continue to May 10.

On the high shore, there were huge piles of sand and several large excavators. A humungous barge was sitting right on the intertidal.
The barge is probably why we saw so many large holes dug out on the shores. Today.
While there is still some patches of Spoon seagrass (Halophila ovalis), the coverage is very much reduced. There is also still a great deal of litter on the shores.

Fortunately, it was too dark to take depressing photos of the damage. And we didn't wait for sunrise as the mosquitos were really bad this morning, unusual for Pasir Ris. I hope these shores are not too badly affected by the works on these shores, and that life can recover after the work is completed.

See also Chay Hoon's post on her blog about the other wonderful stuff she saw.

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