13 August 2011

Sharing Changi with Dr Dan and Debby

Early this morning, Dr Dan Rittschof joins us for a look at Changi. I didn't realise this was his first morning trip with us! Debby Ng of the Hantu Bloggers was also with us, another rare privilege.
I'm glad we found lots of interesting things to show them on our shores.

As usual, some parts of this shore is festooned with colourful sponges, hydroids and other amazing animals. Even man-made structures are coated in them. Today I saw few zoanthids (Order Zoanthidea).
Although the water is rather murky, we get a glimpse of the underwater garden here. Dr Dan and Debby also spotted flowery sea pens (Family Veretillidae), large sea fans (Order Gorgonacea), blooming cerianthids (Order Ceriantharia) and other animals in deeper water. Alas, none of the seahorses I saw on my last trip here in June 2011.
On such encrusted surfaces, we often find nudibranchs. Here's one that looks a little boring. Chay Hoon knows what it is!
Other animals that slitter around on encrusted surfaces include flatworms, like this Blue spotted flatworm (cf Pseudoceros indicus).
Dr Dan also found a spotted blob on the rock which turned out to be a nudibranch. I haven't seen the Hypselodoris kanga for a long while. Thank you Dr Dan!
Chay Hoon found a Spotted tail frogfish (Lophiocharon trisignatus)! It was very lively and displayed its very clearly spotted tail.
Oh, a Rock star minus his electric guitar. Haha, it's the Crown sea stars (Asterina coronata) that we often see on rocky shores here. Dr Dan also found an orange one!
Dr Dan found a feather star (Order Crinodea)! It was quite lively and crawled about on the rocks until if found a comfortable spot to cling on with its claw-like 'feet'.
How strange to see this Mangrove tree-dwelling crab (Selatium brocki) on a pillar. It's usually found in mangroves. As usual, there were many Purple climber crabs (Metopograpsus sp.), large Stone crabs (Myomenippe hardwicki) on the rocks and many different kinds of swimming crabs (Family Portunidae) in the water.
Under the stones, we saw Ovum cowries (Cypraea ovum) and  Hoof-shield limpets (Scutus sp.). But today I didn't see any pink flowery soft coral (Family Nephtheidae) or Ball flowery soft corals (Family Nephtheidae).

The large boulders here often have a thick carpet of tiny algae. I pointed out the funny looking long-legged insects that were constantly bouncing up and down poking their butts into the algae. Dr Dan is fascinated with them and believes they are laying eggs.
Dr Dan spotted this insect just emerging from its pupa among the algae!
We are inspired to take a closer look at the algae carpets and are surprised to find all kinds of insects life here. Shiny larvae-like things were embedded among the algae, and tiny yellow maggots crawled openly!
There were also flies, bugs, beetles, and tiny things with red legs that might be mites. Chay Hoon took much better photos of them.
Dr Dan wanted to see the shore cricket (Family Gryllidae) and I was glad they are still common on this shore. Dr Dan said he didn't know there could be so many different kinds of insects found on the intertidal.
And on the seawall, I even saw two geckoes and two small centipedes!
The shore ends near a seagrass meadow growing on super soft silt. The meadows of Spoon seagrass (Halophila ovalis) seem to be doing fine, with lots of big green leaf blades.
Dr Dan has a strange fishy encounter! We think they are bait accidentally lost by fishermen, who were quite active on the shore this Friday evening.
As usual, there were many fish traps and crab traps laid on the shore.
There are also lots of abandoned fishing lines on the shore. Dr Dan removed two of them. And found this poor crab completely wound up in one of these lines. There were two fish hooks stuck to the crab as well. It took some time for Dr Dan to cut up and remove the line, probably because my scissors is so rusty. He is sure the crab will be alright now.
The victims of abandoned fishing lines can suffer horribly.

Recently, the Cat Welfare blog featured a cat that was injured by an abandoned fish line. The blog said "A community cat was spotted at Yishun Orchid Country Club with a nylon string dangling from its anus. Some caregivers managed to trap the cat and send it to AMK Veterinary Clinic. The vet found its intenstines in a tangle and immediately did a survey. A rusty fishing hook with a long nylon string was removed from its intestine." The cat probably ate a fish still stuck to a hook and line!

Tomorrow morning, a few of us are heading out for Project Driftnet at Pulau Semakau. To remove some nets we have been seeing there.

Debby also posted about this trip on the Hantu Blog.


Related Posts with Thumbnails