08 December 2009

Another fishy day at Tanah Merah

It's been a gruelling series of low tide trips, and a few of us decided to relax by going to an 'easy' and familiar shore on the last of this low tide series.Tanah Merah, as usual, teems with fishes. Like this little bright red fish. I have no idea what it is!

The shallow pools were teeming with Tropical silversides (Atherinomorus duodecimalis), constantly splashing and jumping and getting into the way of taking photos. On the sandy bottom, lots of little gobies and this unknown flatfish. Perhaps it is a young Large-tooth flounder (Family Paralichthyidae)?
Another fish of sandy areas is this brightly patterned Diamond tuskfish (Halichoeres dussumieri). Kok Sheng found this burrowing fish. We leave it alone as it has a nasty bite.
The rocky breakwater is full of fishes. Especially filefishes (Family Monacanthidae). This one is probably the Seagrass filefish (Acreichthys tomentosus).
This one has a bristley tail base. I still don't know what it is.
From the top, it doesn't look like a fish at all!
There are lots and lots of Ornate lagoon-gobies (Istigobius ornatus) on this shore.
And it's always delightful to come across the colourful Head-stripe goby (Amblygobious stethophthalmus).
Another attractive fish is the Copperband butterflyfish (Chelmon rostratus) and there were several small ones well hidden in the rocky crevices.
Among the rocks are big fishes like this Chocolate hind (Cephalopholis boenak) which is a grouper.
And this Streaked rabbitfish (Siganus javus).
In the deeper crevices, I saw several Goatfishes (Upeneus tragula) which were hard to photograph.

While we were talking with Eugene in knee deep water, a big long stick-like fish swam around us.
At first we thought it was a Needlefish or Garfish (Family Belonidae). But it had a small 'beak' and in fact appeared to be more of a half beak. Perhaps it is an older version of this smaller halfbeak with a short 'nose' that we often see on this shore?

The most excitement-inducing fish find was the Hollow-cheeked stonefish (Synanceia horrida). Kok Sheng found it just BEFORE he stepped on it. Alas, often, this is how I too find the stonefish. Which is why it is VERY important to walk slowly and watch your step. Here is a photo of the stonefish in its surroundings. Can you see the stonefish?
Here's a closer look at the fish. It is so stonelike that there is even a little creeper snail right between its tiny beady eyes! Read all about this encounter on Kok Sheng's blog post with lots more details about stonefishes.
Later on Brandon found another fish that looks very much like a stonefish. But I think it's a scorpionfish (Family Scorpaenidae), a rather bleached one at that.
Another scary fish spotted was the Blue-spotted fantail ray (Taeniura lymma) spotted by Chay Hoon. She also spotted a pufferfish (Family Tetraodontidae)!

Besides fishes, we also saw lots of other marinelife.


  1. Hi Ria;
    What's the depth of the water that enable you to capture those lovely pictures?

  2. Thanks for dropping by the blog. The water depth varies on this shore, from about ankle deep to knee deep and deeper. But better photos are more easily taken in shallower waters, and where the water is clear and still (no wind).

  3. I think the red fish is some sort of squirrelfish (F. Holocentridae), probably belonging to the genus Sargocentron, though I'm currently too lazy to go find out which species though. Can't seem to find any photos on FishBase which match the colour pattern of the one in your photo.

  4. Thanks Ivan! I will follow up on this tip!



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