29 May 2014

Changi with colourful slugs

It's been a while since I've seen this nudi in pajamas. I've only seen this on our Northern shores.
Indeed, I see more different kinds of nudibranchs on Changi than on other shores!

It looks just like a bit of seaweed, but this is the Leaf slug. Which strangely, I have not recorded for Changi until now.
Also often mistaken for seaweed is this is a Bushy slug. It has leaf-like things on its body that is sticky and can be dropped off on purpose if the animal is scared. So please don't touch them.
There were some big fat juice Geographic sea hares, mostly half buried in the soft sand. I also saw several of their tangled pink egg strings. The rest of the team saw other interesting nudibranchs and slugs.
I saw this beautiful shell which I have no idea of its identity. The snail was dead and gone.
Here's what the underside looks like. There was a hermit crab living inside the shell. Thanks to Chim Chee Kong and confirmed by Tan Siong Kiat, it is Babylonia spirata first recorded in Singapore in 2013. More in this paper on the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum.
I saw a few dead fishes, mostly small ones except for this Spotted scat.
Besides some tiny Biscuit sea stars, a few Plain sand stars among the seagrasses, on the rockier area I saw one Crown sea star and Shannon spotted this small Cake sea star. The rest of the team saw a baby Knobbly sea star! I only saw a few Warty pink sea cucumbers and no Thorny sea cucumbers. I did see a lot of Ball sea cucumbers.
There are quite a lot of cerianthids on this soft silty shore. They are also called peacock anemones because they come in such a wide variety of colours, although they are not true sea anemones.
There are also very dark cerianthids. I have no idea if they are different species or just colour variations of the same species.
The seagrasses looked lush, I saw only Spoon seagrasses. There were Mini carpet anemones and some small Haddon's carpet anemones. I also saw one Swimming anemone and some Peachia anemones. Kwan Siong found a strange kind of worm that looks like an acorn worm.
The rocky shore was not as colourful as in July 2013. Although some stretches were coated with Melted chocolate sponges, some areas dotted with Button zoanthids and there were many patches of Zebra corals. But there was not many other kinds of sponges and most were small. I did see one Crown sea star.
I saw one Onyx cowrie and many Ovum cowries.
I only saw 5 small sea fans in deeper water. Oh dear. I wonder what happened to sea fan garden that I saw here in July 2013.
Sadly, at sunrise, the team discovered a 50m driftnet laid on the shore.
The placement of the net parallel to the shoreline is worrying because in the past, we have seen dugong feeding trails on the seagrass meadows here.
Dugong feeding trails? Seen on July 2013.
It takes a lot of patience to untangle the animals from the net. We removed the net and released all the animals trapped in it: 40 Flower crabs, 1 sting ray, 1 horseshoe crab and 1 flounder as well as one decomposed fish. More about the net removal on Project Driftnet.
Such heartbreaking encounters are the reason why we need to regularly monitor our shores.

Photos and posts by others on this trip

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