21 February 2011

Reefs of Lazarus Island

There is a natural reef at the Southern tip of Lazarus Island with some interesting surprises!
Although this shore is partially ringed with man-made seawalls, there are lovely rocky and reefy areas here. My last trip here was in June 09 so I was keen to see how it was doing.

As we head out to Lazarus, we have a great view of Kusu Island, which also teems with marine life.
Here's a location overview of Lazarus and Seringat-Kias.
How nice to see a Spider conch (Lambis lambis)! Although colourful on the underside, it is very well camouflaged on the upper side. I saw it only because the water here was so clear!
Another favourite sight is the Red feather star. This one was small and seems to have few arms.
The lagoon had many hard corals widely dispersed. As usual, the most common were Favid corals (Family Faviidae).
There were also some Pore hard corals (Porites sp.), I saw one Encrusting disk coral (Turbinaria sp.) and several colonies of Blue corals (Heliopora coerulea).
Commonly encountered too is the Marine spider (Desis martensi) which comes out at low tide to forage and hides in a little air-filled crevice in the reefs when the tide rises.
I saw two Giant carpet anemones (Stichodactyla gigantea). Alas, both had no clown anemonefishes.
I saw one Haddon's carpet anemones (Stichodactyla haddoni) with anemone shrimps. I also saw one Common peacock anemone.
While there were still many Cake sand dollars (Arachnoides placenta) in the sandy areas, and I saw one Long black sea cucumber (Holothuria leucospilota), I didn't come across any other echinoderms on this reef.

Kok Sheng showed me the well camouflaged Dolphin shell snail (Angaria delphinus) and I saw the Elegant banded creeper snail that I've yet to figure out the ID of.
A quick shot of a very shy Giant reefworm (Eunice aphroditois) which snatched a mouthful of brown seaweed before retracting rapidly into its hiding place in the rubble.
There were many of these bright Red ribbon worms.
We saw a yellowish Ornate leaf slug (Elysia ornata). These sap-sucking slugs are usually green. Perhaps this one hasn't sucked enough seaweed sap yet? There were lots of Hairy green seaweed (Bryopsis sp.) on the shore, with only some clumps of Sargassum seaweed (Sargassum sp.). There were also many other kinds of brown seaweed.
There were also some colourful sponges!
The usual colourful marine life commonly seen on our other reefs were seen. Like this pink ascidian and feathery soft corals. I didn't come across other common soft corals though. Hmm.
It's nice to see so many familiar favourites even during the very short run I made through the reef. I headed quickly for the man-made areas of Seringat-Kias before the tide ended. And encountered yet more surprises! Earlier, I also checked out the coastal forest on Lazarus Island.

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