26 June 2009

Nem check at Cyrene Reef

We are gearing for a visit by Dr Daphne Fautin in July. She is the world authority on sea anemones and we'd really like to show her our best nems.
Cyrene has lots of Haddon's carpet anemones (Stichodactyla haddoni) among the seagrasses and on the sand bar. I didn't see any, but Andy got lovely video shots of the anemone shrimps (Periclimenes brevicarpalis) that live in them.

There are smaller carpet anemones too. Which may be Stichodactyla tapetum and not just young Haddon's carpet anemones. This is why we need Dr Daphne to check out our nems.
I also saw this odd anemone that was very well camouflaged among the fluffy pink pom pom seaweeds that grows profusely among the seagrasses on Cyrene Reefs.
Here's a closer look at the tentacles. Is it just a small Giant carpet anemone (Stichodactyla gigantea)? Or something else altogether?
There were also lots of Frilly sea anemones (Phymanthus sp.) in the rubbly area. Including this one with smooth tentacles.
I know there are several Snaky sea anemones (Macrodactyla doreensis) on Cyrene Reef, but didn't any today. I saw some anemones retracted into the sand, but couldn't get a closer look at them. Chay Hoon and James also saw some very interesting sea anemones that I've never seen before!

Besides nems, we also saw lots of other interesting marine life on Cyrene Reef. The reefs seem to be doing well. With hard corals and soft corals of all kinds. James did lots of close ups of these today.I spent a very brief time in the reef, but did come across this very pretty and happy Tongue mushroom coral (Herpolitha sp.) with its tentacles expanded.
In the seargasses, I came across this pair of elbow crabs (Family Parthenopidae) which were all elbows literally as they seemed to be getting ready to mate.
And a really tiny little Black long-spined sea urchin (Diadema sp.).
Cyrene Reef is exceptional among the Southern shores in having a good representation of echinoderms. There were plenty of Knobbly sea stars (Protoreaster nodosus) on the shores today! It was really hot too, so those which got stranded out of water were curling up their arms.
I also came across a small Cushion star (Culcita novaeguineae). Andy saw one as well, while James saw a young one that wasn't so rounded yet!
Of course there were lots of common sea stars (Archaster typicus) and sand dollars (Arachnoides placenta) on the sandy parts. Among the seagrasses, there were quite a lot of Big synaptid sea cucumbers (Family Synaptidae). And James saw the White-rumped sea cucumber (Actinopyga lecanora). James and Stephen also saw strange sea cucumbers that we've not seen before.

I finally came across this Olive snail (Family Olividae) that many of the others have seen in previous trips. It has a spotted foot and bands on its shell. I'm not sure if this is different from the kind we usually see on our Northern shores.
Chay Hoon found this wonderful strange snail. I have no idea what it is!
James and Stephen found some nudibranchs too. But I didn't see any slugs today.

We also saw interesting fishes today and I took lots of landscape photos.

More blog posts about this trip

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