03 July 2012

Surprises on a neglected Changi shore

We explore a part of Changi that we haven't visited for many years, and are stunned by some amazing sightings!
Like this fat juicy looking Sea apple sea cucumber (Pseudocolochirus violaceus). Its bright colours warn of its toxic nature so don't touch it or bring it home!


The most astonishing sighting for me was a Common sea star (Archaster typicus), my first time seeing one on Changi! Sadly, this sea star is no longer as common as it used to be, although it is still the most widely distributed of our sea stars.
Like the rest of Changi, this area is full of all kinds of echinoderms. I also saw an Eight-armed sea star (Luidia maculata), but it only had six arms.
As usual, there were many Biscuit sea stars (Goniodiscaster scaber) large and small. I saw one small Cake sea star (Anthenea aspera) and several flat-armed brittle stars.
Also abundant on the shore were large Black sea urchins (Temnopleurus sp.). I also saw many large White sea urchin (Salmacis sp.) and one tiny Thorny sea urchins (Prionocidaris sp.).
There were lots and lots of Thorny sea cucumber (Colochirus quadrangularis) and many Pink warty sea cucumbers (Cercodemas anceps). There were also lots of Thumbs up sea squirts (Polycarpa sp.).
Also abundant were Ball sea cucumbers (Phyllophorus sp.), usually buried with only their feeding tentacles sticking out. Also many Orange sea cucumbers buried in the soft silty sand and Purple sea cucumbers.
There were many Haddon's carpet anemones (Stichodactyla haddoni) here, and a Kite butterflyfish (Parachaetodon ocellatus) was swimming very close to one. I've seen this intriguing behaviour several times elsewhere too.
One of the carpet anemones had a Five-spot anemone shrimp (Periclimenes brevicarpalis), while many had tiny anemone shrimps. I also came across several Tiny carpet anemones (Stichodactyla tapetum).
I saw several small yet-to-be-identified Tiger anemones, one Peachia anemone (Peachia sp.), one Plain anemone (Paracondylactis sinensis). Also some Swimming anemones (Boloceroides mcmurrichi). There were only a few Cerianthids (Order Ceriantharia) also called Peacock anemones although they are not true sea anemones.
There were many of these Slender sea pens (Virgularia sp.), more than I usually see at Changi. Finally, I got a closer look at the delicate polyps that make up this colonial animal.
There were also some Flowery sea pens (Family Veretillidae) and a few Sea pencils.
I saw one uprooted Common sea pen (Pteroides sp.) and it was teeming with tiny Painted porcelain crabs (Porcellanella picta) and one Colourful tiny brittle star (Ophiothela danae).
I even came across one nice large Candelabra sea fan.
This looks like a Sally-light-foot crab (Grapsus albolineatus) but somewhat different from the ones I usually see. It ran away before I could take a closer look at it.
The shore was teeming with Swimming crabs (Family Portunidae) of all kinds. I saw one with banded legs (Charybdis annulata) that disappeared rapidly among the seaweeds. There were also many Striped hermit crabs (Clibanarius infraspinatus).
I was surprised to see many Miliaris cowries (Cypraea miliaris), usually seen in a pair. I haven't seen these in large numbers at Changi for a long time. I also saw one Onyx cowries (Cypraea onyx) . As usual, there were lots of Ovum cowerie (Cypraea ovum) too.
There were lots of Fan clams (Family Pinnidae) on the shore and I noticed they had different coloured bodies. There were also some scallops (Family Pectinidae) and lots of other clams were seen on another portion of the shore that I didn't get to explore.
There were many Pink moon snails (Natica zonalis) and I saw one  Tiger moon snails (Natica tigrina).
I came across two tiny octopuses. Some parts of the shore were covered in a soft layer of nest mussels (Musculista senhousia).
Among the seaweeds were many pipefishes! Chay Hoon finally spotted our first seahorse sighting in a long long while at Changi.
On the rock parts of the shore there were tiny patches of Zebra corals (Oulastrea crispata). Also various sponges of all shapes and colours.
Alas, I also came across many bunches of abandoned fishing lines and remains of driftnets.
I tried to drag out as much of the abandoned fishing lines and nets as I could.
I came across patches of healthy looking Spoon seagrass (Halophila ovalis) with large leaves, and nice growths of Fern seagrass (Halophila spinulosa). There was a bloom of Sea lettuce (Ulva sp.) blanketing the shore, so I'm not sure how extensive this seagrass growth is.
I haven't visited this part of Changi for years and I'm glad to see that it is doing well. Chay Hoon and Peiyan did another part of the shore, while Marcus did yet another part. So the small team really covered a lot of ground on this trip.

MORE shore trips at ungodly hours in the week ahead. Can't wait to see what we will find!

Posts by others on this trip
  • Marcus shares spoon worm and other strange finds on another stretch of Changi that he did. 
  • Chay Hoon shares nudis and more on facebook.

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