|The hairs on the long antennae probably interlock |
to form a breathing tube for the crab as lies buried in the sand!
Our special guest spotted a fish that everyone overlooked. It was washed up on the high shore among the seagrasses and appeared dead. But when Ivan put it gently into a pool, it was still alive. Probably a young grouper? Yes, says Shannon Lim of OnHand Agrarian who says its an Orange spotted grouper. Seagrasses are important habitats for young fishes, crabs and other animals to grow up safely. Without seagrass meadows, our favourite seafood may disappear.
Big-head seagrass octopus! Unlike those seen on the reefs, this seagrass octopus has a huge head and rather short skinny arms and so far, I've only seen it regularly on Changi and northern shores like Chek Jawa and Pulau Sekudu.
Geographic sea hare! Sea hares are sea slugs (snails without shells!) and can be large. They have a pair of flappy tentacles that possibly resembles the ears of a hare and they eat seaweeds. Aside from these, they are slow and don't resemble land rabbits, although they are kind of cuddly for a slug!
Hairy sea hare. Many sea hares release a purplish dye when they are annoyed. The function of this dye is not known. Unlike an octopus or squid, it doesn't form a screen for a quick escape as most of these slugs usually don't move very fast. One study found that the dye irriates other animals such as crabs, sea urchins, fishes and bristleworms.
Sea apple! This brightly coloured blob is actually a sea cucumber! In nature, bright colours are used to warn off predators. And indeed this Sea Apple sea cucumber is highly toxic to other sea creatures. It does not make good aquarium specimen as it often kills off its tank mates.
Warty pink sea cucumbers on the shore. And only a few Thorny sea cucumbers. We also saw Smooth sea cucumbers, Beige sea cucumbers (both yet to be identified) and also Garlic bread sea cucumbers small and medium-sized, and later one Ball sea cucumber.
Biscuit sea stars that look like they have been made with a cookie cutter. In the sand were many fast moving Plain sand stars as well as Painted sand stars. Marcus also found a tiny orange coloured Cake star. Sadly, we couldn't find any baby Knobbly sea stars that we saw here in the past.
White sea urchins, many carrying bits of debris. There were also some small Thorny sea urchins. Ivan also found some Cake sand dollars.
Ball moon snails. These snails can enormously inflate their bodies, hiding the shell, so they look like giant white slugs. Moon snails are fierce bulldozing burrowing predators. They feed on buried bivalves and snails. A moon snail wraps its huge foot around the hapless prey to suffocate it. If this fails, it secretes an acid to soften the victim's shell. With its file-like 'tongue', a hole is slowly drilled through the shell.
Olive snail burrowing in the sand. Earlier on, Ivan also found a Black lipped conch and we saw lots of Gong-gong. These conch snails can 'jump'. While most other snails have a broad 'door' (called the operculum) to seal the shell opening, members of the Conch family have a narrow operculum. Instead of a broad flat foot, a conch has a narrow foot that is strong and muscular. The conch digs its claw-like operculum into the sand and pushes against it to 'hop' forwards like a pole-vaulter. We also saw the egg capsules of Spiral melongena and many 'Sand collars' which are the egg mass of a moon snail.
Swimming anemones today. These sea anemones can actually swim. We also saw some Carpet anemones. The medium sized ones are probably Haddon's carpet anemones while the tiny ones are not necessarily baby Haddons but may be another species; Mini carpet anemones.
Spoon seagrass and Needle seagrass, the Fern seagrass I saw was looking rather poorly. Many were reduced to stalks without any leaflets on them. Oh dear. But perhaps there are healthy Fern seagrass growing in deeper water. The tide today wasn't very low.
Flower crabs and Elbow crabs. Kai and Ivan found Leaf porter crabs too. We saw some sea pencils while it was still dark (they retract into the ground at sunrise). As usual, there were only a few cerianthids. The team also saw some large living Noble volutes and one was apparently eating some other sea creature! We also saw many Hammer oysters and Window pane clams and Fan clams (mostly dead).
We enjoyed a glorious sunrise today! And making it even more special, Minister Desmond Lee was with us on this trip. He earlier shared with me his boyhood days exploring Changi and I'm touched he took time off from his busy schedule to drop by and check out this stretch of Changi with us today.
Jul 2011 who laid a long driftnet that we discovered at low tide. At that time, when I tried to make conversation, he merely said that he should not have laid the net so high up on the shore as it would be exposed at low tide. He then just quietly walked off and paddled away.
|The man we encountered with a driftnet at Changi in Jul 2011.|
|Releasing trapped animals and removing a long driftnet|
at Changi in Jul 2011
Photos and stories by the rest of the team on this trip