Longhorned cowfish (Lactoria cornuta) today, one year after this shore was hit by an oil spill. The shores were very fishy today!
As on my trip here last month, I saw lots of fishes today. Some of them are new to me. I'm not sure what this pajama-striped fish is. I've seen it sometimes on our other reefs.
|Mystery fish no. 1|
|Mystery fish no. 2|
|Mystery fish no. 3|
Pink-eared emperor (Lethrinus lutjan). What looks like a wound near the pectoral fins are actually red markings of an unharmed fish.
Chocolate hind (Cephalopholis boenak) is a grouper. I saw a few small ones (about 15cm long) lurking in the crevices.
False scorpionfishes (Centrogenys vaigiensis).
Painted scorpionfishes (Parascorpaena picta). I saw many of these fishes today.
Spangled emperor (Lethrinus nebulousus).
Freckled goatfishes (Upeneus tragula), most were about 10cm long.
Yellow banded damselfish (Dischistodus fasciatus) and the Three-spot damselfish (Pomacentrus tripunctatus) from tiny juveniles to small adults.
gobies (Family Gobiidae)! Particularly abundant were the Ornate gobies (Istigobius ornatus) which were often seen in clusters.
Cardinalfishes (Family Apogonidae), also some Silversides (Family Atherinidae), many small White-spotted rabbitfishes (Siganus canaliculatus), one Copperband butterflyfish (Chelmon rostratus) and several Crescent perch (Terapon jarbua). There were also many small and large Common mojara (Gerres oyena) and many Whitings (Family Sillagenidae)
Shadow gobies (Acentrogobius nebulosus), several Frill-fin gobies (Bathygobius sp.) and the Black-spotted lagoon-goby (Istigobius goldmanni).
Bengal sergeants (Abudefduf bengalensis) were plentiful, from tiny to medium-sized ones. And I saw several small Scissortail sergeants (Abudefduf sexfasciatus).
leathery soft coral (Family Alcyoniidae) that I visit every month seems fine. In some areas, various colonies of corals grow near one another.
Favid corals (Family Faviidae) and Pore corals (Porites sp.) which all seemed unbleached.
Acropora coral (Acropora sp.), Carnation coral (Pectinia sp.), Plate montipora coral (Montipora sp.), Anemone corals (Goniopora sp.), Brain coral (Family Mussidae) and Flowery disk coral (Turbinaria sp.).
coral scallop (Pedum spondyloideum) in one of the hard corals!
Oval moon snails (Polinices mammila), one Pink moon snail (Natica zonalis). Unlike the other lagoon, Bazillion snails (Batillaria zonalis) only covered a small part of the rockier areas. I saw several young small Window-pane clam (Placuna sp.), a few young small Fan clams (Family Pinnidae) and one Large cockle (Family Cardiidae).
octopus! My first sighting since the oil spill. It was hiding under a small stone and I nearly missed it.
Gong-gong snails (Strombus turturella) in the soft silty sand, even in the areas that were covered with brown scum. And I saw a pair near one another, suspecting that they were mating. And sure enough, when I got home to look at the photos, I saw the tell-tale string of eggs near the snail in front!
mantis shrimp (Order Stomatopoda)! It refused to come out. But it's good to know that possibly the mantis shrimps are back. One of the heartbreaking sights I saw when the oil spill first hit this shore, was a pair of mantis shrimp, dead, just outside their burrow.
Red egg crabs (Atergatis integerrimus), lots of tiny but skittish Spotted moon crabs (Ashtoret lunaris), many Ghost crabs (Ocypode cerathophthalmus), and lots and lots of Swimming crabs (Family Portunidae) of all kinds with a lot of small Flower crabs (Portunus pelagicus).
Spotted hermit crab (Dardanus megistos) with white spots on its hairy body and legs. I saw another hermit crab which I thought was similar then I realised it didn't have spots and wasn't so hairy and had smaller pincers. Hmm...another mystery beast.
|Mystery hermit crab (right photo).|
Button zoanthids or colonial anemones (Zoanthus sp.) and tiny patch of Broad zonathids (Palythoa mutuki), and for the first time after the oil spill, I saw several different kinds of cerianthids including the Small mouth cerianthid and Banded cerianthid. Also a tiny Frilly anemone. I also saw many clumps of Blue spatula sponge (Lamellodysidea herbacea).
Mermaid's fan (Padina sp.) and Sargassum seaweed (Sargassum sp.). I saw a few clumps of other kinds of seaweeds.
pom pom seaweed everywhere. With tufts of other kinds of seaweeds growing here and there. With the return of seaweed, hopefully other animals that feed on and shelter among the seaweeds will also return.
Spoon seagrass (Halophila ovalis) heavily covered in epiphytes. I also saw one small clump of Tape seagrass (Enhalus acoroides).I didn't manage to see any of these animals that I saw last month: Common sea stars (Archaster typicus), Haddon's carpet anemones (Stichodactyla haddoni), Giant carpet anemone (Stichodactyla gigantea).
Large parts of the shore were still covered in a fine brown scum. It was too dark to take a wide shot, but I still got a whiff of crude oil on some parts of the shore.
More about the oil spill on this blog and on the Oil spill facebook page.
Tomorrow, a look at the other lagoon at Tanah Merah.