07 December 2010

Special snails and sand diver on Cyrene

A cool evening on Cyrene: a touch of rain results in a rainbow!
I was out with TeamSeagrass for the last monitoring of 2010 and as usual, had lots of interesting sightings.

Sadly, as on our previous trip to Cyrene, the seagrasses don't seem to be doing well. More about this on the TeamSeagrass blog. On the other hand, coral bleaching seems to be over on Cyrene. I saw many large leathery soft corals (Family Alcyoniidae) in a healthy and unbleached state.
It was a relief to see many hard corals that were back to their normal colourful selves. I didn't see any large bleaching hard corals.
I saw one Anemone coral (Goniopora sp.) that was still bleaching. But I saw unbleached Flowery soft corals (Family Nephtheidae) and even some healthy Cauliflower corals (Pocillopora sp.). Cauliflower corals were badly affected by the bleaching event.
In between monitoring, we managed to have a quick look around. How nice to see on the wet sand bar, a large Olive snail (Family Olividae). So far, I've only seen this kind of Olive snail on Cyrene Reef.
Wow, a delightful surprise. This strange moon snail that I've also seen at Changi. It's really really flat, and I think is the Eggwhite moon snail (Neverita albumen). Jim found another one of this a short distance away!
Since it was windy, I took swimming camera under the ripply water to see what a Common sea star (Archaster typicus) looks like down there.
Ooo, I can see the tiny little tube feet 'walking' on the sand surface. I didn't see many Knobbly sea stars (Protoreaster nodosus) on my route back, but the rest saw lots and lots of them on the other side of the reef.
There were lots of crabs on the shore. This Mosaic crab (Lophozozymus pictor) actually came out of its hiding place and tried to attack my little swimming camera!
Another fierce crab, this one is a Red swimming crab (Thalamita spinimana) next to a nice brown and unbleached hard coral.
Just as we were heading home, Andy spotted this long skinny fish stranded on the sand. It has pretty 'eyelashes'. I think it's a sand diver (Family Trichonotidae)!
I took super close up photos of some seagrass blades. On the left, the serrated edges of the Serrated ribbon seagrass (Cymododea serrulata), and on the right the smooth tip and cross-veins of the Sickle seagrass (Thalassia hemprichii).
As I was taking a closer look at the seagrass blades, I noticed tiny tiny sea anemones on them. I think these are part of the explosion of Swimming anemones (Boloceroides mcmurrichi) that Kok Sheng observed on Cyrene. Wow!
Earlier, as we left the mainland for Cyrene, we notice massive work starting up at Berlayar Creek for the boardwalk to be constructed there. Kok Sheng just visited Berlayar on Sunday and shared what he saw there. Let's hope the boardwalk doesn't affect the marinelife there too much.
We also pass the rapidly expanding massive reclamation work site near Labrador shore. This is to create a new container terminal at Pasir Panjang.
It's been two back-to-back trips with TeamSeagrass so plenty of sandy muddy gear to wash up. Kimmy the cat is supervising the operations to make sure it's all clean.
Hades the black cat from Hell is 'helping' with the kilometres of tape that have to be unreeled, washed, hung up to dry, and reeled back in.
It's still low spring tide period and in a few hours we're heading out to Pulau Ubin! Hoping for good weather!

Others who posted about the trip to Cyrene
  • Kok Sheng - anemone explosion and MORE marvellous finds.


  1. Hi Ria,

    Good to hear your new discoveries again! Since the snails are found on Cyrene's sandy habitats, is no surprise that both of them are typical sand dwellers throughout their Indo-Pacific distribution.

    The olive snail is Oliva miniacea or Red-mouth Olive based on its colouration and patterning; While you're spot on for identification of the moon snail. :)

    All the best in your next exploratory trips!


  2. Thank you JK once again for sharing the ID!! I really appreciate this.



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