False clown anemonefishes (Amphiprion ocellaris) on our shores live in the Giant carpet anemones (Stichodactyla gigantea).
The anemones usually have more than one clownfish! Today, the water was quite high. Which is not very good for looking at other marinelife, but this means the clown anemonefishes were in water and out and about, playing among the tentacles of the anemone, instead of hiding away from view.
One of the purposes of this trip was to check on the mangroves that grew naturally on the seawall. The other was to check on the coral bleaching situation. Coral bleaching has been happening throughout the globe since last year. Mainly due to higher sea surface temperatures. Just a few days ago, Thailand shut down 18 major dive sites due to coral bleaching.
On Pulau Hantu today, it was a relief to see many large hard corals that were not bleached.
in July last year, I didn't see any bleaching corals. My sense during this trip, though, is that there are fewer corals than usual. Suggesting that perhaps not all the Hantu corals survived the bleaching. But the tide wasn't very low and much of the reefs were covered in a thick growth of Sargassum seaweed (Sargassum sp.) so we couldn't explore much of the reef.
Favid corals (Family Faviidae) both large and small.
Anemone coral (Goniopora sp.), one small colony of Disk coral (Turbinaria sp.), many Pore corals (Porites sp.) branching and boulder, and something that might be a Brain coral (Family Mussidae). I saw one Sunflower mushroom coral (Heliofungia actiniformis) but didn't see any Circular mushroom corals (Family Fungidae).
Galaxy corals (Galaxea sp.). There seems to be different kinds of Galaxy corals on Pulau Hantu. Kok Sheng checked out the 'meadow' of Galaxy corals that we used to see before the bleaching incident and he says they seem alright.
branching Montipora coral (Montipora sp.), I didn't see any living Acropora coral (Acropora sp.). I also didn't see any dead or living Cauliflower corals (Pocillopora sp.), Sandpaper coral (Psammocora sp.) or Anchor corals (Family Euphyllidae). But Kok Sheng saw some of these and more.
Machine gun shrimps (Coralliocaris graminea). This healthy branching Montipora coral had at least three of them! But they are very hard to photograph. Like the snapping shrimps (Family Alpheidae), the pincer of the Machine gun shrimp has an enlarged tooth and a special catch. When the catch is released, the tooth makes a loud snapping sound. Unlike the snapping shrimp which only has one such 'snapping' pincer, the Machine gun shrimp has two such pincers, hence its common name.
Flower crabs (Portunus pelagicus) small and large, as well as other kinds of Swimming crabs (Family Portunidae). But the rest of the team saw many different kinds of crabs.
leathery soft corals (Family Alcyoniidae) there seem alright. Although they appear much smaller than usual.
Asparagus flowery soft corals (Family Nephtheidae) though.
Spotted top shell snail (Trochus maculatus) grazing on seagrass, and a pair of Cat's ear pyramid snails (Otopleura auriscati) which seem to be mating? Kok Sheng checked on and found the Burrowing giant clam (Tridacna crocea) to be alive and well. Hurray!
Discodoris boholiensis. But the rest of the team saw some other slugs too.
Common sea stars (Archaster typicus). And here's some sea stars working on maintaining that population, entwined in mating position. I noticed several individuals that were smaller than usual, and saw small ones on top of big ones, as well as small ones on top of small ones.
White-rumped sea cucumbers (Actinopyga lecanora). Kok Sheng spotted some feather stars!
Yellow prickly branching sponges (Pseudoceratina purpurea) had bluish tips. There was a large thick pink sponge (Callyspongia diffusa), lots of bright Orange sprawling sponges (Clathria reinwardti), some dotted with hairy olive sponges and many clusters of bright green tangled sponge.
fanworms (Family Sabellidae) on the shore too. The rest of the team saw some flatworms too.
|An abandoned crab trap near the big mangrove trees on the high shore.|
Earlier on, I had a quick look at the mangroves growing on the seawalls at Pulau Hantu.
More about coral bleaching on Bleach Watch Singapore.
Other posts about this trip