17 June 2015

Rare plants at reefy East Coast Park

We returned to the reefy East Coast Park this morning. While the team explored the slippery seawalls encrusted with corals, I checked out the seagrasses and high shores.
I came across Noodle seagrass and Bonduc, both considered rare in Singapore.

Kok Sheng and Pei Yan did the awesome reefy seawalls. Which are too slippery for me to manage. Here's more on Kok Sheng's blog.
Photo by Kok Sheng on his blog.
I only dared to venture a little into the reefy parts of the seawall. Here, I encountered a Red egg crab. There were also many small Disk corals, some small Pore corals and many Zebra corals. Much like what I saw in May 2015.
A small Reef octopus slithered among the rocks.
Instead, Marcus and I explored the soft silty mid-shore with had seagrasses. There were medium-sized patches of skinny Needle seagrass sprinkled with Spoon seagrass with small leaf blades. They were growing in very soft silty sand. Crawling among them were lots of Flat-armed brittle stars and other creatures such as Penaeid prawns, Orange-striped hermit crabs, small Thorny sea cucumbers.
Among the interesting animals were sea stars. What's this tiny sea star? Perhaps a baby Knobbly sea star?
I saw one tiny Cake sea star and several Spiny sea stars.
There were several large Haddon's carpet anemones among the seagrasses and most of them had a pair of Anemone shrimps. The mama shrimp of this pair appears to be carrying eggs (green stuff on her belly).
I also saw one Mini carpet anemone. And among the rocks, some Frilly sea anemones.
The most astonishing encounter was a small patch of Noodle seagrass! It was about 2x2m.
The leaf blades were long and most of them were free of ephiphytes.
I saw one small clump of Tape seagrass with nice long leaf blades. Tape seagrass grows in circles, so this one is probably one plant.
I saw this tiny clump of what might be Hairy spoon seagrass.
There were also some small patches of Spoon seagrass with larger leaf blades.
I saw several tight clusters of Thorny sea cucumbers. I'm not sure what is going on. Prelude to mating?
I even came across a small Giant carpet anemone.
Among clusters of Button zoanthids, there were lots of Tiny red sea cucumbers!
I used to see these at Chek Jawa, and have not seen them there or anywhere for a long time.
Another highlight was this rather boring looking plant. It does look like Bonduc which is listed as 'Critically Endangered' in Singapore, with records of only three plants: in Pulau Semakau, Lazarus Island and Pulau Senang.
There were several Beach gardenia trees. These trees are listed as 'Endangered' in Singapore.
Alas, on the high shore, some abandoned fishing nets. Kok Sheng also saw some fishing nets laid out in the water.
As usual, there is a line of plastic litter on the high shore. But not a lot, for a shore that is probably not cleaned regularly.
We didn't manage to survey the entire shore before the tide turned well before sunrise. Too many shores, not enough low tides!

Posts by others on this trip

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