Hurray! The big clams at Beting Bemban Besar are still there. I'm out again with Mei Lin and the Clam Team to check up on our wild giant clams.
Here is the second Fluted giant clam (Tridacna squamosa) that Mei Lin had spotted earlier on this reef. We are so glad that it's still there! Recently, we have lost clams seen at Cyrene, Pulau Jong and Little Sisters Island. I had to take the photos of these clams carefully as Mei Ling warned me that they can squirt a powerful jet of water at intruders!
last visit in May 2011. There are large patches of seagrasses on the sandy areas just opposite the natural shores of Pulau Semakau.
Tape seagrass (Enhalus acoroides) had cropped blades which were bleaching at the tips. Similar to the situation we saw a few days ago at Cyrene. Some Sickle seagrass (Thalassia hemprichii) and other species had burnt or reddish leaf blades. In some parts, the leaves were thickly coated in epiphytes.
Spoon seagrasses (Halophila ovalis) and Needle seagrasses (Halodule sp.) seemed well. But I didn't come across any Noodle seagrass (Syringodium isoetifolium).
Feathery filefish (Chaetodermis penicilligerus), tiny swimming anemones (Boloceroides mcmurrichi) stuck on the blades, a cerianthid, Kareen spotted a flatworm (Pseudobiceros uniarborensis) and Bill spotted a small Garlic bread sea cucumber (Holothuria scabra). I also saw one Common sea star (Archaster typicus).
fan worms (Family Sabellidae). I also saw the Very long ribbon worm (Baseodiscus delineatus).
Cauliflower coral (Pocillopora sp.). These species suffered quite badly during the 2010 mass bleaching event. I was also glad to see the tiny Red coral crabs (Trapezia cymodoce) that live in these branching corals.
Fire anemones (Actinodendron sp.)! These animals look like soft corals but are actually sea anemones that can sting painfully. It's not a good idea to touch anything with the word 'fire' in their common name.
Gymnodoris rubropapulosa. This nudibranch eats other slugs! Mei Lin also spotted Jorunna funebris.
White-rumped sea cucumber (Actinopyga lecanora) as it had a white ring around its butt.
strange animal that we sometimes see. I still think it's a sea fan rather than a leathery soft coral as it has a wiry stalk in the centre of the branches. The stalk isn't stiff, but rather flexible.
octopus and called me over to have a look at it. It was hunched up over a hole trying very much to be a rock.
Acropora corals (Acropora sp.), Branching montipora coral (Montipora sp.), Galaxy corals (Galaxea sp.), Tongue mushroom corals (Herpolitha sp.), Anemone coral (Goniopora sp.), Crinkled sandpaper coral (Psammocora sp.), lots of Favid corals (Family Faviidae) of all kinds and Disk corals (Turbinaria sp.). Also Small goniopora coral (Goniopora sp.).
Blue corals (Heliopora coerulea) and surprisingly, some had their polyps slightly extended. These confusing animals are not brown and not blue on the outside, and are not hard corals!
Leathery soft corals (Family Alcyoniidae), although small colonies were plentiful. Strangely, I didn't come across any obvious sea anemones.
sponge (Oceanapia sagittaria)!