03 February 2011

Signs of the Johor flood on Changi?

With news of massive flooding in Johor, we worry about a repeat of the mass deaths at Chek Jawa. So a few of us visited our northern mainland shores to see if there were any signs of the Johor floods there.
On Changi, we saw lots of fresh mangrove debris, including some rare mangroves, and some dead fishes.

Big piles of fresh mangrove leaves and seedlings and flowers and fruits were on the shore.
In the water, there were lots more mangrove debris floating about. On the horizon is Pulau Tekong which lies in front of the mouth of the Johor River.
On the high shore, more signs of mangrove debris. Changi and other shores managed by NParks are cleaned every day, so this load is probably only one day old.
All kinds of propagules and mangrove seedlings are washed up the debris.
While I know the triangular-pyramid shaped fruit is from the Nyireh (Xylocarpus sp.), I don't know what the other fruits are. I saw a lot of the round fruit with a black skin and pale yellow, corrugated insides.
WOW, a calyx of the rare Bakau mata buaya (Bruguiera hainesii). I saw five of them. Next to the little calyx are a bigger red calyx of the more common Tumu (Bruguiera gymnorrhiza), and a star-shaped calyx of probably the Perepat (Sonneratia alba).
Here's another cluster of different Bruguiera calyxes. The bright red one is Tumu as well as probably the paler pink one. The smallest one is Bakau mata buaya, while the two yellow ones in the centre are of the rare Tumu berau (Bruguiera sexangula).
In fact, I saw a lot of these Tumu berau calyxes!
And even one with the propagule still attached to it! One bright side to the flood I suppose is that our shores get the gift of new mangrove propagules including those of some rare mangroves!
Jerome spots a mangrove caterpillar washed ashore. It was still alive!
Fortunately, Jerome was there to help out with Dead Fish CSI. Jerome suggests this might be an escapee from the fish farms.
There were quite a few of these escapees. Jerome spoke to some of the people who were fishing on this shore and found out they do so specifically to catch these escapees. So escape is probably not an uncommon occurrence.
This fish was big. Probably about 40cm long. Probably also another fish farm escapee?
This small fish is probably a Cardinalfish (Family Apogonidae) that was caught and thrown away by a fisherman. Jerome points out the injury on the fish's mouth.
Another big dead fish (about 30cm), we don't know what it is.
A very large dead fish (about 50cm) which Jerome shares is a Queenfish (Family Carangidae). Apparently, this fish is not eaten by Chinese people who called it Tua Pek Kong's fish because of the dots on its body.
The Queenfish is a fierce predator with a large mouth full of sharp teeth.
Another dead fish (about 20cm) floating in the water, which may be a Jack (Family Carangidae).
We saw an enormous dead pufferfish (about 40cm)! It had spots on the sides of the body.
The pufferfish belongs to the Family Tetraodontidae which means four ('tetra') tooth ('odous') because these fishes have four fused teeth forming a powerful beak-like structure.
Jerome is really good at Dead Fish CSI! He suggests these are the remains of a catfish.
Some fishes, however, had no head or tail, so couldn't be identified. (I now better understand significance of the common phrase "No head, no tail"...haha!)
While this is more dead fish that we usually see on this shore, it's not quite as many as during the Mass Death of fishes on Pasir Ris that we saw in Dec 2009.

We saw the moult of a Coastal horseshoe crab (Tachypleus gigas), while earlier we saw a dead one.
There was also a dead bird in the water.
Although the tide wasn't low enough for us to see the marvellous seagrasses and marine life there, some were washed up such as a few White sea urchins (Salmacis sp.).
With the long weekend ahead, many people often camp on Changi. Serious tents are already being set up. During our visit, there were people fishing and throwing nets on the shore. There will be low spring tides during the next two days, which means these shores will be exposed to the visitors there.
Despite the high tide, people were already collecting from the shore. There was a little blue bucket on the shore with some collected Window-pane clams (Placuna sp.), a small Rabbitfish (Family Siganidae) and a 'Tamban'.
We also made a quick stop at Pasir Ris. The debris here doesn't have so much fresh mangroves.
But unfortunately, lots of the usual plastic and other man-made debris.
Another look at the debris on Pasir Ris.
A long line of 'Sea Barrier' skirts the entire length of Pasir Ris.
In Sungei Tampines, as we had a quick stop to look for otters that have been sighted here by Debby recently. No otters and instead I noticed fishing lines hanging from the mangrove trees. Hope the otters don't get entangled in them.
Yesterday, media reports suggested the worst of the Johor floods is over. But all that flood water is already in the Johor River, on the way out to the sea. Hopefully, the marine life in the Johor Straits won't be too badly affected.

Other posts about this trip
Russel who also checked up on other Changi shores.


  1. Why am I always not around to document all these potential Monday Morgue additions? =(

    Anyway, big dead fish might be a spotted sicklefish

    Didn't know they had extensible jaws like that!

    Floating dead fish might be a golden trevally

    Dead puffer might be a reticulated puffer; I saw a huge one at Changi in late 2008

  2. Thanks Ivan for the IDs! Yes, they were truly Monday Morgue Moments. Sigh.



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