The drizzle didn't dampen the spirits of a small team out to explore Terumbu Semakau this morning. This large submerged reef lies right next to the Semakau Landfill! And yet it is full of corals and other marine life!
The special find of the day was the Merten's carpet anemone (Stichodactyla mertensii) which Marcus first spotted. For a long while, we failed to find these anemones on our shores. But recently, we seem to be seeing them especially on our submerged reefs, often only one per reef.
Haddon's and Giant carpet anemones. The Merten's has the short stubby tentacles of the Haddon's, and the bright pink spots on the body column like the Giant. In the Merten's anemone, the body column is usually pale, while in the Giant this can be many other colours. That's what I notice so far.
Reef wriggly star anemone which are very difficult to get a closer look at.
Bubble tip anemones (Entacmea quadricolor), with nicely inflated bubbles on the tips of the tentacles.
Magnificent anemone (Heteractis magnifica) here. Also many Giant sea anemones (Stichodactyla gigantea). Alas, none of us saw any clown anemonefishes today.
Pizza anemone (Cryptodendrum adhaesivum)! This sea anemone is usually well hidden, tucked deep in crevices, but this one was easy to photograph. This very flat sea anemone has a rounded thick edge so it looks like a crumpled pizza!
Snaky sea anemone (Macrodactyla doreensis)! But today I didn't see some of the special anemones I saw in the past like the Haekel's anemone (Actinostephanus haekeli) and Fire anemone (Actinodendron sp.).
Scintilla clams (Family Galeommatidae) that cover the shell with their brown body mantle.
brittle star with very long arms (Ophiotrix longipeda) ! James saw an enormous Cushion star (Culcita novaeguineae)!
Anchor corals (Family Euphyllidae) were back on the reef. I saw several of these species. I also saw many nice colonies of Acropora corals (Acropora sp.).
Moon coral (Diploastrea heliopora), which I think is the most elegant of our hard corals.
Asparagus soft coral (Family Nephtheidae) were rather pale with yellowish rather than purple or brown tips. I noticed this during my brief trip here in May as well.
Tape seagrass (Enhalus acoroides) among good growths of Spoon seagrass (Halophila ovalis). But the seagrass meadows here are still not as lush as they were in 2010.
Fluted giant clam (Tridacna squamosa). The team also saw several Tiger cowries, seahorses, bubble shell snail, nudis and more!
Oh dear, there were two huge fish traps on the reef edge. Each about 1m long. In one of them, there were four large Blue-spotted fantail rays (Taeniura lymma). I made a hole in the traps to release the animals.
cuttlefish was in the trap! Thankfully, we managed to release all the fishes. This Terumbu seems to be one of the targets of fishermen. In 2011, we saw a large driftnet laid right across the reef, trapping many fishes.
Let's hope this marvellous reef survives the many pressures it faces.
Tomorrow, the last of the morning low tide trips for this series! With TeamSeagrass to Pulau Semakau!
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