19 December 2009

Tanah Merah in daylight

It's my first trip to Tanah Merah in broad daylight, and the shore looked broader indeed! Our many previous trips were mostly before sunrise or after sunset, when we usually only saw what our torchlight could reveal.
Despite the dire warnings of a deluge, we had a very bright afternoon on the shore. Hooray!

During daylight, I could see other wildlife such as shorebirds! Here's some very lame photos with a feeble not-long lens of some busy Pacific golden plovers.
There was also a Reef egret in the distance, scolding us loudly whenever we got too close.
I also noticed some Zoned horn snails (Batillaria zonalis) creeping along in a broad band. I have no idea what is going on.
There were lots of Gong-gong (Strombus canarium) on the shores, as well as plenty of Black-lipped conch (Strombus urceus). These were also found in numbers grazing on the rock wall. Unlike other snails, conch snails don't creep. Instead, the operculum is modified into a knife-like shape on a strong muscular foot, and the conch uses it to 'pole-vault' in hops across the sea bottom!
Marcus found the loveliest of our conch snails! The Spider conch (Lambis lambis) is very colourful on the pearly underside.
It is well camouflaged on the upperside with encrusting growths. The pair of eyes on stalks peep out between the spines of the shell! (Top right corner).
The Spider conch is usually found near reefs and indeed, the rock walls are quite reefy! Some portions are encrusted with a variety of marine life including sponges and fan worms.
There are many small colonies of hard corals too.
Among the many kinds of hard corals found here are Cauliflower coral (Pocillopora sp.).
Favid corals (Family Faviidae) of all kinds of shapes and colours.
Tiny colonies of Flowery disk corals (Turbinaria sp.) can be seen budding off the rocks here and there.
I saw a small colony of Anemone hard coral (Goniopora sp.) which James saw a bigger one.
There were large colonies of boulder shaped Pore corals (Porites sp.).
As well as branching Pore corals (Porites sp.).
And a little plate-like colony of what seems to be Montipora sp. James also came across a small colony of Acropora sp.!
And these are not hard corals but a cluster of colonial anemones or Button zoanthids (Zoanthus sp.).
Growing near the hard corals and in other cosy crevices were lots of blob-like sea squirts or ascidians. There were the 'Thumbs up' sea squirt (Polycarpa sp.) with bright orange stripes, and many of the more well camouflaged ascidians which also seem to have two openings often a bright yellow.
Lots of animals live inside the corals too! I noticed a blur of red inside this living coral and I think it is some sort of crab or porcelain crab! But the water was too murky to take a good photo.
Among the rocks, I saw a large Haddon's carpet anemone (Stichodactyla haddoni). Chun Fong also saw a Giant carpet anemone (Stichodactyla gigantea).
There are a lot of pretty fan worms on the rock wall. This Orange fan worm had its fan in curls and I could see right into its mouth.
Other reefy animals seen include the beautiful Persian carpet flatworm (Pseudobiceros bedfordi). It was swimming!
We also came across this elegant black flatworm (Pseudobiceros uniarborensis) with an orange-and-white edge to its body.
Although very common on our other shores, the Spotted black flatworm (Acanthozoon sp.) is not frequently seen on this shore.
Marcus found this odd worm which appears to have a kind of umbrella-shaped bit on one end of its body. I have no idea what it is. It looks rather dead though.
The rocks also shelter fishes! Here is James showing some of our friends the Stonefish! Yes, we saw another of the dreaded Hollow-cheeked stonefish (Synanceia horrida). In the background, the bright bright day, the city skyline complete with hideous Flyer, and a plane landing.
Ironically, in the bright daylight, the fishes are very well hidden. It was only after the sun set that they started to emerge. Just before we left, I saw lurking among the reefy rocks, the Estuarine moray eel (Gymnothorax tile)!
While it was nice to see Tanah Merah in daylight, the shore is a lot livelier during a predawn trip!

Kok Sheng and his friends also saw lots of interesting shrimps and other new finds!

While I had an interesting encounter with hermit crabs.

Other posts about this trip

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful shots on those amazing marine species that I have never seen before.

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