03 April 2012

Dead fish patrol at Pasir Ris

Are there any more dead fishes at Pasir Ris? I had a quick look at another stretch of Pasir Ris this afternoon.
A Striped hermit crab (Clibanarius infraspinatus)
foraging on the shore.
Although the tide is not very low and it was a rather hot day, all kinds of marine life were out and about! Fortunately, no dead fishes. Not a single one.

Lush seagrass meadows grow here in a narrow fringe along the beaches. The highest portion was peeping out during this not-so-low tide.
The Spoon seagrasses (Halophila ovalis) on this shore have very large leaves. Those I saw today seemed fine, without any bleaching or burnt leaf blades.
A leaf moving in the 'wrong' direction reveals a little Leaf porter crab (Family Dorippidae) under it. As its common name suggests, it has two pairs of legs that are short and bent permanently over the back. These legs are tipped with hairy pads to cling onto a leaf. Two other pairs of legs are longer and fringed with hairs. These fringed legs are used like paddles to swim slowly about. It may also hide under shells or bits of rubbish.
Although it was rather hot, there were snails creeping about on the shore! This one is a Lined nerite (Nerita articulata).
Some parts of the sandy shore were studded with the tubes of worms. A sandy shore might seem barren, but many animals can live hidden beneath, leaving few signs of their presence.
On some of the shallower sandy shores, there were lots of little Orange fiddler crabs (Uca vocans). Looks like an unlucky male has lost his enlarged pincer. Possibly in a fight? Males use their enlarged pincers to attract females (which have two small pincers) and intimidate other males.
The artificial rock walls are alive! With more and a greater variety of marine life at the bottom of the seawall, where it is more often wet. There were little crabs, snails, sea anemones, sponges and slugs too!
The artificial rock walls were coated with barnacles and little black clams. I'm not too sure what the clams are.
There were lots of Onch slugs (Family Onchidiidae) on the rocky shore too, despite the heat.
Bits of rock stuck out above the water. They were teeming with Drills (Family Muricidae), laying egg capsules.
I had a quick look at the very rare Bakau mata buaya (Bruguiera hainesii) and it seems to be well. Lots of fallen flowers and one propagule.
A driftnet has been laid on the shore. The location of the net indicated by the plastic bottle and other floats keeping it up to trap fishes. The long line of blue drums in the distance is a security barrier put up to stop illegal immigrants from landing on the beach.
This man was cast netting.
There were signs of efforts to stop the erosion on the beach, like this tall stack of sand bags behind the rock walls.
There are many 'gullies' in the sandy beach. Perhaps the sea shore plants growing on the beach should be allowed to grow there? This might help control the erosion?
The Sea morning glory (Ipomoea pes-caprae) is very pretty too! According to the late Prof Ivan Polunin, this plant is the most important coloniser of many tropical beaches around the world. Its creeping rooting stems often form dense patches which hold down the sand and produce humus.
Many parts of the beach were clean.
Alas, as usual, some parts of the shore were lined with litter.
A closer look at the litter and some of them look very likely to come from the offshore floating fish farms. There are laundry detergent bags, the detergent designed for use in washing machines (I also wonder if the detergent water is released into the water?). Also large rice bags and flour bags, not stuff recreational users of the beach would bring and dispose.
Pasir Ris is a great shore! Easy to access, with a wide range of habitats to explore. From rocky shores (albeit artificial), sandy shores, mudflats, seagrass meadows and mangroves (with a boardwalk through it!). If you'd like an easy introduction, join the Naked Hermit Crabs FREE evening guided walk at the Pasir Ris mangrove boardwalk later this month.


  1. You raise an excellent point re there being a whole ecosystem under the sand that we never see. I recently saw my first acorn worm after wondering for ages about their huge castings...it was huge! Thanks for sharing Ria :)

  2. Wow Russell, I've not seen an acorn worm...yet!

  3. Hi Ria, may I know which parts of Pasir Ris Park can you find these organisms? And which other parts of the park are biodiversity-rich? I visited the part of the park near Downtown East today, but didn't manage to spot many organisms.

    Thanks! :)


  4. Dear YH, You can probably see marine life all along Paris Ris Park from Carpark A to Carpark E, but you need to go out at low tide. At high tide, all the animals are hidden underwater.

  5. The packages from the thrash you showed may perhaps come from the other side of the straits as well and not just from the floating fish farms. It is well known that our northern neighbours see their rivers and seas as their convenient dustbins.

  6. Hi Ria,

    Can I ask which part of Pasir Ris are the photos taken? I would like to take a look at the sand bags wall.


  7. Dear Don, could you email me? hello@wildsingapore.com



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