01 July 2011

Anemone hunt at Punggol

Dr Daphne is still in Singapore! So the Anemone Army seizes the opportunity to hunt for anemones with her.
It's well before dawn, and we're already busy on Punggol Beach with the lights of the port facilities on Johor in the background. We found lots of anemones, and I also learnt from Dr Daphne about a sea anemone that creates a shell for a hermit crab!

The main purpose of the trip is to show Dr Daphne where we found these burgundy anemones which she has kindly identified as Bunodosoma goanensis. We found many of them although they were quite low on the shore and could only barely be visible at low spring tide. It is thanks to Kok Sheng, Mei Lin and James that we know they are there in the first place.
Dr Daphne also pointed out two Haddon's carpet anemones (Stichodactyla haddoni) that I completely missed.
Abundant on the shore were many Lined bead anemones (Diadumene lineata), which is the world's most widespread sea anemones.
Also abundant on the shore were Anthopleura dixoniana. But there were also many other tiny anemones that look similar at first glance but had differences when we take a closer look. Oh dear!
These anemones have bumps on the dark body column.
There were, however, many little anemones that look different even at first glance. Like this one!
Also these tiny sea anemone with yellow tentacles.
And wow, a crowd of brittle stars! As I was photographing them, I noticed the little orange spots around them. They were tiny orange sea anemones!
Here's a closer look at the orange anemones while on the rock (left photo) and after we got it back to the lab.
In the lab, there were two awesome anemones that were discovered recently during a dredge.
As usual, I get distracted by other marine life. The legs of the jetty were covered with brightly coloured marine life. Pretty crabs scuttled among them.
We also noticed many many snapping shrimps (Family Alpheidae) on the shore, from tiny ones to big ones.
Looking carefully for sea anemones, I noticed this tiny shrimp with orange elbows.
There were many Black sea urchins (Temnopleurus sp.) on the shore today. But they were widely spaced apart and not in clusters of many individuals as we sometimes encounter them on Changi.
On the big boulders, today I noticed lots of fat C-shaped jelly-like stuff. I think they are egg masses and I could see some tiny spots in the jelly. Were they laid by the Onch slugs (Family Onchidiidae) that were plentiful on the rocks?
There's still so much more to learn and discover about our shores!

As usual, spending time with Dr Daphne, I learn all kinds of marvelous stories about sea anemones. Today she told us about a deep sea anemone that actually extends the shell which is occupied by a hermit crab! This results in an enlarging 'shell' so that the hermit crab doesn't have to find a bigger shell as it grows. Online, I found this awesome presentation (pdf) by Andrea Crowther about this fascinating sea anemone with lots of photos. Here's an online fact sheet about Stylobates loisetteae which is found in Australia. My mind is constantly boggled at the amazing things that sea anemones can do!

Tomorrow, another early morning trip to search for anemones with Dr Daphne!

Posts by others on this trip
  • James with more close ups of anemones and also sea star, nudibranch and more.

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