13 January 2012

At Sembawang seeking anemones

Sembawang Park has a sandy beach beyond the seawall. It's a great place for kids, kite flying and other beach activities.
My mission was to look for some specific sea anemones. Although the tide wasn't very low, there's lots to explore here!

There's a large sand bar to the east of the Park. Some but not a lot of rubbish. Sea anemones are found on the sand bar and in pools there.
There are some anemones on this smooth slope facing the waves! Amazing how the tiny anemones can hang in there among the waves.
We came across these tiny anemones on this outer slope. They look like the tiny branched tentacle anemones I saw at Kranji.
In the sandy pool higher up near the mid-water mark were many mangrove anemones with petal-shaped mouths. They only came out after sunset!
Also abundant on this shore are tiny sea anemones that hitch a ride on snails!
Here's a closer look at the tiny snail-hitching anemone.
These are the burrowing anemones that we needed to take a closer look at. Although they are quite abundant on this shore and elsewhere, they have yet to be identified. I've compiled photos of anemones that look like these as Striped bead anemones. But there could be more than one species among all these similar looking animals!
Here's what's going on beneath the sand! Burrowing anemones can really stretch out! The knobbly bits help the anemone grip the surrounding sand.
I saw many other animals too. In the pools, I came across a live Mangrove horseshoe crab (Carcinoscorpius rotundicauda). It was a small one with a short tail.
After the sun set, lots of little Sand stars (Astropecten sp.) came out of the sand!
The artificial rock walls are full of life! Here's a bunch of Drills (Family Muricidae) laying egg capsules. The yellow egg capsules turn purple when the tiny eggs hatch.
As usual, there were lots of Banded bead anemones (Anthopleura sp.) on the lower portions of the rock walls.
Higher up on the walls were many pretty little Striped bead anemones (Diadumene lineata), often tucked into empty 'shells' of dead barnacles.
In the dark, lots and lots of Purple climber crabs (Metopograpsus sp.) came out to forage on the sea wall! They didn't seem to run away from us.
The sea slaters (Ligia sp.) were also rather sedate. Usually scuttling away rapidly, they were so slow that I could even take a photo of them with Small Sneaky Cam.
In the dark, lots of Lined nerite snails (Nerita articulata) were busy on the seawalls, crawling around and waving their long slender tentacles.
I only saw one Onch slug (Family Onchidiidae). Quite strange as we usually see lots of these slugs on our other shores.
Various sponges encrust hard surfaces lower down the shore.
Sembawang beach lies right next to Sembawang shipyards: a 86-hectare site handling tankers, bulk carriers, container and cargo vessels, chemical tankers, LNG carriers and navy ships. It also lies across from heavy industrial areas in Johor.
I haven't been to Sembawang beach since 2008! Read my post on that trip for more about Sembawang beach, plans for reclaiming it and other issues.

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