25 January 2012

Clammy evening at Changi

There's lots to see even though the tide is not very low! Today I visited a narrow band of seagrasses, sandy and rocky shores at Changi.
There were lots of clams, and other creatures too!

The Spoon seagrass (Halophila ovalis) here are lush and green!
I noticed piles of small dead clams washed up on the shore.
Most of them I could not identify!
Other clam shells included: Fan clams (Family Pinnidae), many tiny Nest mussels (Musculista senhousia), some jingle shell clams (Family Anomiidae), a baby razor clam (Family Solenidae) and a young window pane shell (Placuna sp.).
I also saw many living scallops (Family Pectinidae)! Most of them were stuck to hard surfaces.
Other living clams seen included a Large cockle (Family Cardiidae) and Big brown mactra clam (Mactra mera).
There are more shells stuck on other shells! On this shell occupied by a hermit crab, there were two other snails (that look like clams). On the outside, a pointy tipped Slipper snail (Family Calyptraeidae) and on the inside, flat slipper snails.
I saw this empty shell. I have no idea what it is.
Empty shells of course important to hermit crabs. And there were many on the shore.
I took a closer look at large Window pane shells that washed up. All kinds of animals have settled on their shells. Including other shelled animals, and egg capsules of snails.
Under one Window pane shell, there were lots of brittle stars!
Indeed, Changi is a great place to see echinoderms. Even though the tide is not very low, there were many Black sea urchins (Temnopleurus sp.) washed up. Some of them were still alive carrying bits of shells and debris, many with a worm curled around the mouth. There were also skeletons of dead sea urchins.
I saw one washed up Ball sea cucumber (Phyllophorus sp.), a Pink warty sea cucumbers (Cercodemas anceps) while a Purple sea cucumber was stuck to a rock.
I even saw one small Plain sand stars (Astropecten sp.).
There were also two Common sea pens (Pteroides sp.). Both of them were full of Painted porcelain crabs (Porcellanella picta)!
The sandy shore is fringed by a lacy spray of sand balls made by busy Sand bubbler crabs (Scopimera sp.).
There are also patches of  tubeworm tubes.
I also had a quick look at the rocky area nearby. And saw this. Is this a Lunar New Year orange tossed away? No, it's a sponge! I call it the Rambutan sponge (Tethya robusta) because they are prickly and colourful. I don't know how it got 'sliced' open like this. Cut by a fishing line?
Here's a closer look at the sponge. There were lots of these sponges on the rocks. They are often anchored to the surface with stringy tissues that look like melted cheese. Tiny blobs may appear at the tips of the filaments. These are buds that drop off to develop into new Rambutan sponges.
There were also other kinds of sponges including patches of Rainbow sponge (Suberites sp.) and some Black antler sponge (Haliclona sp.).
More sponges in deeper water!
Sadly, many of the large oysters (Family Ostreidae) growing on the rocks have been pried open.
The white empty shells of oysters dot the large boulders.
At Changi Creek, bumboats pass by on the way back from Ubin and several fishermen work the shore with cast nets.
On the shore, there were scatterings of small fishes. Abandoned by fishermen?
A big purple branching sponge (Callyspongia sp.) has washed up.
Large ships pass near Changi through the shipping channel between Pulau Ubin and Changi which leads to massive shipyards are Sembawang in Singapore, and Pasir Gudang port in Johor.
Despite these pressures, Changi is still very much alive! I haven't been here since Jul 2011! During a much lower tide before dawn, when lots more can be seen. But even during a moderate low tide during daylight, there's so much to see!

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