30 May 2014

Silty but lively at Pasir Ris

Tiny polka-dotted black nudis! I saw three of them at Pasir Ris among the seagrasses there.
The silty sandy shores here are full of tiny creatures!

Many creatures were well camouflaged. This fast moving Silt flatworm looks just like the sand that it's slithering rapidly through!
Many others live a burrowing lifestyle. This is a Common cerianthid with its tentacles retracted into its tube, surrounded by tiny Black phoronid worms that live with cerianthids.
At first I thought it was nudibranch! But it turned out to be a small patch of Zebra coral with the polyps extended!
A cute little hermit crab with feathery antennae and faintly colourful markings on its head and legs.
I had a brief glimpse of a Spearer mantis shrimp before it disappeared into its burrow. It  peeped out, but refused to come all the way out again. Later, when I checked similarly shaped burrows, I noticed they also were homes to mantis shrimps!
There were lots of snapping shrimps of various kinds burrowing in the soft silty sand among the seagrasses.
Here's another kind of snapping shrimp.
Some of the snapping shrimps were close to a goby, but I'm not sure if they actually were in a special relationship.
This is a Tiger sea anemone, with its innards hanging out. I don't know why. Sometimes, I see the innards without seeing the spotted body column and mistake the blob for a jellyfish! I saw several of these Tiger anemones today.
For some reason, I saw many (more than 20) tiny Mini carpet anemones today. I have no idea why.
I also saw some small Haddon's carpet anemones and small Petal-mouthed mangrove anemones.
There were also lots of other tiny sea anemones that I have yet to figure out what they are. We've also seen these sea anemones at Punggol and other silty sandy northern shores.
This little Common whelk has a pair of Snail-hitching anemones on its shell!
There were also some Big hermit-hitching sea anemones, although these were stuck to immobile hard surfaces and not shells occupied by hermit crabs.
This is NOT a sea anemone. It's the feeding tentacles of a buried Ball sea cucumber. You can tell because the tentacles are branched. Sea anemones mostly don't have branched tentacles.
Some parts of the shore were also covered in a carpet of Nest mussels. I saw many Plain sand stars well dug into the carpet, probably eating the mussels. When submerged in water, the mussel shells open slightly and I could see the animal filter feeding.
There are many large pink Ribbon worms on the silty sand. These worms are ferocious predators that can immobilise and eat large prey. I saw one eat a shrimp during another field trip.
These pink wriggly things I think are the tentacles of a spaghetti worm buried in the silty sand.
This is another kind of spaghetti worm with long sticky tentacles with fine yellow bands. I realised it was sensitive to light as it eventually disappeared into its tube as I tried to take a good photo of it.
Then there was this large polychaete worm. I've not seen something like this before.
There are still some lush patches of Spoon seagrasses, but I didn't see any Hairy spoon seagrass. I didn't see any sponges. But I couldn't go into soft mud yet, my broken foot is still not ready for it. And I didn't manage to go beyond the Park boundaries.
Well before sunrise, a few fishermen were out on the exposed shores. One pair were fishing with lines, and another pair were digging in the ground.
I could see and hear them dig up large holes, probably looking for bait? Some of the holes were dug up in seagrass growths. Fortunately, I didn't come across any nets today.
Alas, there is still trash on the low-water mark even in the official Park area, which is supposed to be cleaned everyday. These include large plastic bags that used to contain rice or sugar, as well as large blue drums which are no longer blue as they are covered with encrustations.
There are about 60 Singapore fish farms located between Pulau Ubin and Pasir Ris. Would there be a lot less litter washing up our shores if all the 119 fish farms licenced by AVA are provided daily door-to-door trash collection? Like every business, household in Singapore? Even every ship parked in Singapore port is provided with daily door-to-door trash collection.

Wouldn't cleaner waters be better for fish farmers? According toFarmers still reeling from losses after fish deaths by Neo Chai ChinToday Online 19 May 14: since the mass fish deaths in Mar 2104, some farmers "say water conditions have largely remained sub-par until last week, with some fish — albeit in smaller numbers — still dying."

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