I'm back on Cyrene with another enthusiastic group of Shell volunteers!
Hurray, the tide is as low as predicted! I was worried because during the last low spring tide cycle, the tide was higher than predicted, which makes it difficult to work on a submerged reef. We make quick and safe landing as usual, thanks to Alex and his crew of Summit Marine.
in the middle of the industrial triangle it has amazing marine life! Alas, it starts to rain heavily just as we are assembled on the sand bar!
Common sea stars (Archaster typicus)!
Ulimid snails (Family Eulimidae) that were found on one of the Common sea stars. These snails stick their proboscis through the body wall of the sea star and suck on the host body fluids. Eew.
Cake sand dollar (Arachnoides placenta), which are flat disks with tiny prickles. These sand dollars are eaten by Grey bonnet snails (Phalium glaucum). Usually, these snails are buried in the sand and only come out at night. But we saw lots and lots of them during this trip. Perhaps due to the rainy weather?
White sea urchins (Salmacis sp). Not only in the seagrass meadows, but also on the sandy areas. These prickly little balls were camouflaged by their habit of 'carrying' bits of debris. This sea urchin is more common on our northern shores like Chek Jawa and seldom seen on our southern shores. Indeed, I consider Cyrene the Chek Jawa of the South.
heart urchin (Lovenia sp.)!
Thorny sea urchin (Prionocidaris sp.) also called the Pencil sea urchin because its spines are thick and spiny.
Bartail flathead (Platycephalus indicus), which I've not seen on Cyrene yet.
Flower crab (Portunus pelagicus). It took a while before we noticed the smaller brown crab in front of it. It's probably a pair of crabs about to mate! We also saw many small flower crabs among the seagrasses.
red ribbon worm (Phylum Nemertea)! These worms are fierce predators and I seldom see them during daylight.
Carpet anemones (Stichodactyla haddoni) usually have a pair of anemone shrimps (Periclimenes brevicarpalis) living in it. The female is larger with more white spots.
Cerianthids (Order Ceriantharia), also called Peacock anemones because of their colourful variety. But these are not true sea anemones.
Knobbly sea stars (Protoreaster nodosus) gather together. Alas, by then the tide was starting to come in and the sun was setting.
Fan shell clams (Family Pinnidae), Black lipped conch (Strombus urceus) a snail that hops, Stone crab (Myomenippe hardwickii), Chocolate sponges (Spheciospongia cf. vagabunda), sand collars laid by moon snails, different kinds of hermit crabs. Also of course, lots of seagrasses and various kinds of seaweeds.
Fortunately, the rain cleared earlier on so we had a mostly dry trip! But tides move on and so we have to leave eventually. Cyrene is vast and is impossible to explore completely in one trip. And we keep seeing new things everytime we visit!
I look forward to another trip to Cyrene with the Shell volunteers later today!
More about Cyrene Reef.