10 February 2012

Hermit crabs galore at Tanah Merah

My first time seeing this hermit crab at Tanah Merah! It looks like Clibanarius virescens and so far, I've only seen it once at Sisters Island! Although there are still signs of the oil spill that happened in 2010, there's lots of life here!
I also saw other special hermit crabs, and the seagrasses seem to be doing well.

Here's another special hermit crab that I don't see too often. This is Clibanarius cruentatus that I've seen before at Tanah Merah. But it's nice to see it again!
The Banded hermit crab is commonly encountered although often overlooked. I've yet to find out what it is exactly.
The bright orange Dardanus megistos is not often seen on other shores, but I've regularly seen this species on Tanah Merah even after the oil spill.
The hard corals on the shore seem to be doing well. With many colonies of Favid corals (Family Faviidae). None of them were bleaching.
There were also lots of Pore corals (Porites sp.) and I saw one Disk coral (Turbinaria sp.) and one Anemone coral (Goniopora sp.).
I saw about 20 Common sea stars (Archaster typicus) and wow, they are now enormous! See my size 7 foot next to them.
Most of them were dispersed widely on the sandy shore, with only one pair in mating position. The shore remains thick with Bazillion snails (Batillaria zonalis).
There were lots of these sand collars, which are the egg mass of moon snails. But I didn't see a single living moon snail (Family Naticidae). Perhaps they will only come out at night?
It was a bright hot day, so I didn't see many animals. But I did manage to spot some Swimming crabs (Family Portunidae), some Spotted moon crabs (Ashtoret lunaris) and Flower crabs (Portunus pelagicus) and a Ghost crab (Ocypode cerathophthalmus). The fishes remained mostly well hidden under rocks, but I did spot a few Painted scorpionfishes (Parascorpaena picta). There were many fanworms, Thumbs up sea squirts (Polycarpa sp.) and several clusters of Button zoanthids or colonial anemones (Zoanthus sp.).
The large patches of Smooth ribbon seagrass (Cymodocea rotundata) seems well, covering a large area with long leaf blades.
The Haddon's carpet anemones (Stichodactyla haddoni) that dot the patches are still there and doing well. Some of them had anemone shrimps.
Here's a look at the seagrasses underwater.
A  nice surprise was to see some growing Tape seagrass (Enhalus acoroides) among the Smooth ribbon seagrasses!
It was heartening to see that the small patch of Sickle seagrass (Thalassia hemprichii) seems to have recovered. For months now when I visit I see them 'chomped' short. Today, the leaf blades were nice and long!
The single clump of Tape seagrass is still there but it is badly burnt. Well, the weather has been hot lately. I didn't come across any Spoon seagrass (Halophila ovalis).
For the first time in a long while, I saw several long strands of Sargassum seaweed (Sargassum sp.) on Tanah Merah. Previously, only short strands were ween. I looked but couldn't find any seahorses in them like we used to in the past. Perhaps they will return later?
The surprise of the day was this small little jelly, probably a ctenophore. Here's my poor photo of it in a plastic container. Nicholas is going to have a closer look at it!
When I arrived, there were several people fishing off the seawall. But I didn't come across any nets on the shore. There is still some sheen on the water, and patches of blackish sand here and there.
I was treated to a spectacular sunset!
Tomorrow, the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore is doing a clean up on this shore! Hurray! It's nice to see that the shore is still very much alive and that so many people still care about it.

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

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