21 April 2015

Apple surprise at special Changi shore

There were lots and lots of Sea apples on the Changi shore that we explored this morning!
We seldom visit this Changi shore which has a surprising variety of marine life!

Here's some of the Sea apple sea cucumbers that I saw today. Their bright colours advertise their toxic nature. They should not be meddled with. They should not be collected and put into a marine tank as they will probably kill all their tank mates.
There were many other kinds of sea cucumbers too. There were lots of Thorny sea cucumbers as well as Pink warty sea cucumbers. There were lots of Ball sea cucumbers buried and floating loose. I saw many small Garlic bread sea cucumbers, one Beige sea cucumber, several Smooth sea cucumbers and Orange sea cucumbers.
This Painted sea star out of water appeared to have open wounds or scars on its body.
When I placed it in water, the 'wounds' disappeared. Later, looking at the photos, I realised there was a kind of orange worm at the 'wound' area and the worm was still in the same location when the sea star was submerged. I wonder what kind of worm it is?
There were many Plain sea stars. I saw one young Cake sea star with arms that are still long. The most abundant sea star were small to medium-sized Biscuit sea stars. I found one four-armed Biscuit sea star.
There were a lot of large White salmacis sea urchins on the shore. Some had a kind of worm around its mouth on the underside.
Jianling found several of these Thorny sea urchins. I didn't see any Black sea urchins.
Marcus Ng found this empty shell of a Watering pot shell. This creature is actually a bivalve. It has become extremely modified to form a tube with a watering pot at one end. All that is left of its two valves are two tiny wing-shapes near the watering pot.
There were also a wide variety of Swimming crabs on the shore, most were small to medium-sized.
Another creature abundant on this shore is the Orange-striped hermit crab. Here's a pair nibbling on something together.
The big piles of Drill snail shells are occupied by the smaller Tidal hermit crabs.
There were some large Haddon's carpet anemones here.
It was nice to come across some Tiger sea anemones, mostly small ones. I also saw a few Peachia anemones, some cerianthids and a few flowery sea pens and slender sea pens.
I saw a few living Noble volutes and one of their egg capsules. There were many young small Fan clams. The rest of the team saw a man harvesting larger Fan clams from the shore. Strangely, we didn't see any kinds of moon snails, which we had in Jul 2012. Jianlin saw one Seagrass octopus.
Sankar pointed out this baby Mangrove whipray that is so well camouflaged on the silty sand.
In the murky water, a blob that kept changing in shape and direction. These are probably baby Eel-tail catfishes that often swim together when they are tiny. I spotted some of these fishes in a pool where they are easier to photograph.
Today, I didn't see any spectacular animals on the jetty legs like we did on our last trip in Aug 2014. Perhaps the tide was too high and I couldn't get to the legs in deeper water? All I saw were scattered clumps of Thumbs up sea squirts, seaweeds and some ascidians. And White salmacis sea urchins. I didn't see any sponges. In Jun 2013, we saw sea fans, cowries and feather stars here.
At low spring tide, a wide expanse of seagrass meadows is exposed at some parts of the shore. There are also rocky parts made up of artificially placed granite rocks.
The Spoon seagrasses here have large leaves and are fresh and green! There were also some Fern seagrass.
Sadly, near the seagrass area there is a large collection of bakau poles that look like they washed away from the attempted shore protection. These poles will scour and rip up the seagrass meadows as they move in the waves. Hopefully, the poles will be removed eventually?
Among the trash on the shore were large tyres, lots of beer cans (tossed by people drinking on the promenade above?). Also large blue drums, small blue containers, many large bags of rice: all probably from coastal fish farms off Pulau Ubin.
On the horizon, next to the Police Coast Guard, there was someone in a boat laying a driftnet. Our rich Changi shores are under constant pressure. I hope they will stay well until we get a chance to visit them again.

Tomorrow, we visit a Southern island!

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