16 May 2011

Wild facts updates for May 11: some awesome fishes!

I still see creatures for the first time, even though I've been visiting our shores regularly for more than 10 years! Our shores are so amazing!
Oil-slicked Tanah Merah: Spotted eagle ray (Aetobatus narinari)
The highlight for me was this Spotted eagle ray (Aetobatus narinari) that I saw on oil-slicked Tanah Merah! It is the most beautiful fish I've seen!

It is in fact on Tanah Merah that I had most of my first time sightings for this month. Like this gorgeous blue fish, which I think is the juvenile of the Yellowtail or Vermiculated angelfish (Chaetodontoplus mesoleucus). Thanks to Jeffrey Low for suggesting the ID of the fish. Sadly, the only time I've seen the adult was in a fish trap. Sigh.
Oil-slicked Tanah Merah: Yellowtail or Vermiculated angelfish (Chaetodontoplus mesoleucus)
This gave me an excuse to start up fact sheets on the Angelfishes (Family Pomacanthidae) and do a fact sheet for the Bluering angelfish (Pomacentrus annularis) which alas, I saw in a tank at the seafood restaurant at Pulau Ubin.

Another beauty seen at Tanah Merah was this fish. I think it is the Anchor tuskfish (Choerodon anchorago) which is identified by a pale diagonal bar at the pectoral fin, black area on the middle of the upper side and large white saddle behind the dorsal fin. Thanks to Jeffrey Low for suggesting the ID of the fish.
Oil-slicked Tanah Merah: Anchor tuskfish (Choerodon anchorago)
Yet another Tanah Merah surprise was this very pretty Honeycomb grouper (Epinephelus quoyanus). Thanks to Dr Zeehan Jaafar for identifying the fish!
Oil-slicked Tanah Merah: Honeycomb grouper (Epinephelus quoyanus)
I'm not good at finding, so it's great to have super spotters on the team. Kok Sheng spotted the Three-spot dascyllus (Dascyllus trimaculatus) on Cyrene! It seems juveniles are often seen living in large sea anemones, sea urchins, or branching corals. Adults found in pairs or small groups around coral mounds or rocks. Jeffrey Low also saw one while diving at Sisters Island.

Kok Sheng also shared this amazing sighting of the Fingered dragonet (Dactylopus dactylopus), a rather rude fish that gives us the 'finger' as it swims. I found out that it usually lies buried during the day. Mei Lin also saw something similar while diving at Pulau Hantu.

Another special find made by Vladimir who joined our walk at Cyrene Reef. This is probably the China moon snail (Natica onca). Mei Lin saw it earlier, also at Cyrene. Cyrene is indeed a special shore as we keep seeing new creatures even though we visit it quite often.
China moon snail (Natica onca)
While scrutinizing moon snails, I think I've figured out what these moon snails are. I think they are Natica areolata and we've seen them several times in the past.
Zebra moon snail (Natica areolata)

Please do let me know if I've made errors in any identification. I will be most grateful to hear from you.

There were also lots of other interesting sightings. Some are first entries to the wild fact sheets for the location. Others are interesting behaviours observed for the first time. There are also lots of interesting video clips! These photos and video clips have been updated on the wild fact sheets. Thanks to all the team members who shared their findings online. Visit their sites for more stories and photos!

I'd gladly include your sightings in the wild fact sheets. Just email me, Ria at hello@wildsingapore.com

It's tough keeping up with all the new sightings, so I do apologise to the team if I haven't done any fact sheets for some of their finds. Our super early morning trips start tomorrow, in a few hours! We will probably see even more amazing things and I'll be even further behind in the fact sheets. But that's a back log I'll always be happy to have!

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