12 January 2012

Changi is full of seahares!

The tide is not very low, but it's still possible to have a glimpse of one of the many nice stretches of seagrasses along Changi.
There are also sandy and rocky areas to explore. During this trip, the seahares are in season!

There's lots of fresh green growths of Spoon seagrass (Halophila ovalis) with big leaves here. I haven't been here since August 2011.
There's an explosion of Hairy seahares (Bursatella leachii) on the shores! They look like blobs when out of water, but 'fluff' up when submerged. Many of those seen had orangey 'hairs',  which I notice seems to appear only at Changi. Dotting the seagrasses everywhere were coils of pale orange egg strings, possibly laid by the seahares.
What a nice surprise! A lovely flatworm Pseudobiceros gratus that is not uncommonly seen on our shores. It swims with delicate ruffles of its flat body.
There were lots of swimming anemones (Boloceroides mcmurrichi)! Many of them were very dark, almost black.
I saw several carpet anemones (Stichodactyla sp.). Some were tiny, others were small. All were healthy and unbleached.
I saw one medium-sized Biscuit star (Goniodiscaster scaber), and after the sun set, the Sand stars (Astropecten sp.) came out!
There were several little clumps of Ball soft corals (Family Nephtheidae). There were also several Cerianthids (Order Ceriantharia) aka peacock anemones.
I saw a few Thorny sea cucumber (Colochirus quadrangularis) and also some Pink warty sea cucumbers (Cercodemas anceps).
There were all kinds of sponges growing among the seagrasses. In particular, there were many of these with white straw-like tubes. I looked at one that had been unearthed and it looks like the straws grow up from a flat base that is buried.
Here's some of the other colourful sponges I saw among the seagrasses.
The rocky area had a wider variety of sponges in all kinds of shapes and colours.
This smooth shiny patch looks like an oil spill but it's probably a sponge. A closer look underwater and yes, there are some pores in the patch.
Among the seagrasses are thickets of slender tubeworm tubes!
A flock of Mynas were happily foraging on the seagrass meadows!

Near the low waterline was a carpet of Nest mussels (Musculista senhousia). After the massive flooding at Chek Jawa in 2007 that led to mass deaths there, mats of these mussels were also seen at Chek Jawa.
I am always worried during the monsoon season since the mass fish deaths at Pasir Ris in Dec 2009. Fortunately, I only saw two dead fishes on the shore on this trip. Possibly discards from fishermen?
There was a small group out on the shore fishing with a cast net. One fisherman was on a rock. While at the carpark, I saw a large group of fishermen leaving (I go out at low tide, they work at high tide). There was also one woman collecting snails in a bucket.
Someone had turned over the huge rocks on the shore and didn't turn them back. This means the delicate animals growing on the underside will probably die.
A little mangrove seedling has settled on the seagrass meadow! Last year around Feb, lots of mangrove seedlings started washing up on Changi. I'm keeping a look out for this year's seedling bonanza. It doesn't seem to have started yet.
We have amazing shores which are easily accessible. Let's appreciate them gently.

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