16 August 2011

Oil-slicked Tanah Merah still alive

The Ribbon seagrass meadow was very perky today. Even out of water, the blades were standing straight up!
The two large patches of Smooth ribbon seagrass (Cymodocea rotundata) seemed to have grown even larger, with long blades mostly clean of growths.

The Haddon's carpet anemones (Stichodactyla haddoni) that have settled among these seagrasses are also still doing well. Mei Lin also spotted a Five-spot anemone shrimps (Periclimenes brevicarpalis) in one of them. The patch of Sickle seagrass (Thalassia hemprichii) seems alright. I saw the three clumps of Tape seagrass (Enhalus acoroides) which seemed alright. I looked but didn't come across any Spoon seagrass (Halophila ovalis).
I came across about 40 Common sea stars (Archaster typicus) today! They were mostly spaced apart, but not very far apart. I only came across one pair in mating position.
I didn't come across many small fishes, but did come across two schools of this fish that I don't know.
Mystery fish no. 1
Another strange fish that is not familiar to me.
Mystery fish no.2
Yet another mystery fish.
Mystery fish no.3
Oh no! The dreaded Hollow-cheeked stonefish (Synanceia horrida)! Can you spot it?
Here's a closer look at the fish. It has algae and encrusting stuff growing on its face!! This is why we need to be VERY careful when we walk on Tanah Merah and other reef flats.
I did come across the usual fishes that are common here: cardinalfishes (Family Apogonidae), damselfishes (Family Pomacentridae), filefishes (Family Monacanthidae) and the Painted scorpionfish (Parascorpaena picta). Mei Lin and Marcus also saw other interesting fishes.
I don't know why the Ornate lagoon-gobies (Istigobius ornatus) on Tanah Merah are so pretty!
Near the high shore, there were many small Flower crabs (Portunus pelagicus). The Swimming crabs (Family Portunidae) of all kinds were more obvious near the rocks. I also saw some Spotted moon crabs (Ashtoret lunaris). Also many Blue-tailed prawns (Family Penaeidae) and many Striped hermit crabs (Clibanarius infraspinatus).
I saw one Ornate leaf slug (Elysia ornata)!
I saw this squid (Family Loliginidae) today pretending to be something other than an animal as it hovered near some seagrasses.
There are still large hard corals and big patches of Button zoanthids or colonial anemones (Zoanthus sp.) that look fine.
Here's more!
I saw one colony of seems to be a Circular mushroom coral (Family Fungidae)which looked alright. Also one small colony of Anemone corals (Goniopora sp.).
There were many nice dark brown Pore corals (Porites sp.), but a few were pale.
Most of the hard corals are Favid corals (Family Faviidae) and most seemed alright. Today, the tide was a little high which is probably why I didn't see more corals.
Some stretches of the sandy shore seems full of buried life. This patch was well drilled with Sand bubbler crab (Scopimera sp.) burrows.
Mermaid's fan (Padina sp.) remains the most abundant seaweed here. Crunchy pom pom seaweed and clumps of green Codium seaweed (Codium sp.) were also growing on ropes.
Litter is still sprinkled everywhere on the shore, and crude still found on some parts. More in this separate post.

More about the oil spill on this blog and on the Oil spill facebook page.

Mei Lin also posted about this trip: with lots of fishies including a large flounder, and a hairy crab!

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