What a surprise to see this rather large Fluted giant clam (Tridacna squamosa) on Big Sisters Island!
We survey this island very regularly. How we could have missed this Giant clam in all these years? Together with the five smaller Fluted giant clams we saw for the first time yesterday at Pulau Hantu. What is going on with this 'sudden emergence' of giant clams? Mei Lin aka Giant Clam Girl shares her thoughts about this puzzle on her blog. Regardless, we are quite encouraged by these finds!
All the Sargassum seaweed (Sargassum sp.) has disappeared from the shore. So of course, we can find the seahorses here more easily, unlike during our last trip here with Tse-Lynn! This looks like a pregnant papa seahorse. I'm not sure why he has a big pink-edged hole on his tummy. Did he just 'give birth'? There was another seahorse nearby. Both of them were covered with a fine coating of furry growths, but they had banded tails so they are probably Tiger-tail seahorses (Hippocampus comes). I couldn't find any other seahorses today.
frogfish (Lophiocharon trisignatus) nearby! Pei Yan also spotted a Burrowing snake eel (Pisodonophis crancrivorous) eating an octopus!
Spider conch (Lambis lambis), for example, is encrusted on the upper side so it is hard to spot among the equally encrusted rubble.
May 2012 around the same time. This Pore boulder coral seems to be suffering some sort of disease on the upper part of the colony.
Pore corals (Porites sp.) had pale upper rims and bluish sections. I saw a colony of Carnation corals (Pectinia sp.) with fluffy green algae growing on the upper parts of the colony.
Carnation corals (Pectinia sp.) on the right seems to be dying. Although the Ridged plate coral (Merulina sp.) on the left seems to be doing fine.
Circular mushroom corals (Family Fungiidae) were bleaching or bright pink with dead portions. But most seemed normal.
Brain anchor coral (Euphyllia ancora) seems fine and I saw several Crinkled sandpaper coral (Psammocora sp.) which didn't look obviously bleached although some were pale. I didn't see any Cauliflower corals (Pocillopora sp.). These species were among the first to bleach during the global coral bleaching event of 2010.
Brain corals (Family Mussidae) were rather pale.
Pore corals (Porites sp.) and Favid corals (Family Faviidae). As well as other common kinds of hard corals.
Leathery soft corals (Family Alcyoniidae) I saw seemed alright. I didn't come across any flowery soft corals.
Giant carpet anemones (Stichodactyla gigantea), Frilly sea anemones (Phymanthus sp.), what seems to be a Bubble tip anemone (Entacmea quadricolor), many Peachia anemones (Peachia sp.), Haddon's carpet anemone (Stichodactyla haddoni) and clusters of the mysterious white tipped anemone-like creature. While Marcus saw signs of 'Nemos' some of the large sea anemones, the rest of us missed these. This shore is somewhat heavily impacted by fishing. We even once came across two driftnets laid in the lagoon in Oct 2011.
Glossodoris atromarginata and I saw one Jorunna funebris as well as several Ornate leaf slugs (Elysia ornata) among the seagrasses. The rest of the team spotted the Fugly nudibranch (Actinocyclus sp.) and other kinds of slugs.
Long-spined black sea urchins (Diadema sp.), rather small ones. I haven't seen them for quite a while.
Fan worms (Family Sabellidae) that I see. Hopefully, in the upcoming Southern Expedition, we can take a closer look at the biodiversity in our Southern shores and learn more about them.
Tape seagrass (Enhalus acoroides) in the lagoon and tiny-bladed Spoon seagrasses (Halophila ovalis) have densely covered about one third of the sandy lagoon. I also saw a small clump of Sickle seagrass (Thalassia hemprichii) outside the seawall, and there remains a sprinkling of Spoon seagrasses in the big lagoon.
Common sea stars (Archaster typicus) on in this lagoon. I also saw a super tiny Common sea star among them.
Land hermit crab (Coenobita sp.) that had curled up inside a Fig snail shell among the similarly shaped Sea almond fruits (Terminalia catappa) on the grass. The shell is way too small for the animal. This is why we should NOT remove empty shells from the sea shore. They are potential homes for hermit crabs who may die if they cannot find a shell to protect their soft backsides.
Posts by others on this trip