Friday, June 22, 2007

Wonderful Satumu

On Monday, 18 Jun, some kind souls included a few of us on a special trip to the "One Tree Island", or Pulau Satumu. The gang wasn't here to see the trees though (there were actually more than one tree there these days), and neither were we here to visit the lighthouse (though the lighthouse keepers were quite friendly) but rather, we were there to check out the fabulous wildlife in the intertidal zone!

Pulau Satumu, more commonly known as Raffles Lighthouse due to the name of the lighthouse on the island, was truly a wonderful place for coral lovers. There were corals everywhere in the lagoon! Fortunately, the lagoon was quite small, and so although I had to stay near Alvin in case he needed any assistance, I was able to do quite a bit of exploration as well.

Really, I've lost count of the number of species of corals I saw - not that I'm much of a coral expert in the first place, so I wasn't able to identify most of them. But here are some of those I saw:

Table-top coral (Acropora sp.)

Cauliflower coral (Pocillopora sp.)

Blue coral (Heliopora sp.)

Leaf Coral (Pavona sp.)

And here are a few photos just to show how densely covered the place is - so many types of corals competing for space!

And they came in different shapes and colours too!

Apart from corals, this is also a great place to find feather stars (Class Crinoidea)!

Don't you think the extend arms of the one above looked just like feathers?

This cute green-coloured one was all curled up.

This one looked a little sticky with all the silt stuck to its arms.

And when I saw this from afar, I initially thought it was a flatworm! It was only when I got closer then I realised it's a crinoid!

I also managed to find the resident fluted giant clam (Tridacna squamosa), which I found during my last trip here about a year ago.

Some how, we usually couldn't find many nudibranchs at Pulau Satumu.

I only found a Phyllidiella pustulosa (L) and a Phyllidiella nigra (R). Some of the others found a Jorunna funerbris, which I didn't managed to grab a photo.

But not far from the black phyllid, I had a pleasant surprise.

A stranded false clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris) on a merten's carpet anemone (Stichodactyla mertensii)!

Using my metal chopsticks, I gently push it into a little tidal pool on the other side of the carpet anemone.

Just then, someone shouted that he found a large cowrie.

I walked over and saw that it was a pretty Arabian cowrie (Cypraea arabica).

And right next to where the cowrie was found, another shell caught my eye.

Hey! It's an abalone! Not sure if it's dead or alive, though it wasn't moving.

And as I walked towards the rocky shore, I suddenly noticed some feathery thing just next to my feet.

Alamak! Hyroids! Lucky I was wearing long pants, or I could have gotten some nasty stings!

At the rocky shore, I found this giant top shell (Trochus niloticus) resting among some rocks.

And to think that just earlier in the lagoon, I found 2 dead top shells, and inside each of them was a hermit crab (probably Dardanus sp.)!

And that's why I never remove empty shells from the shores. We could be depriving hermit crabs of their home, and they would have to run around naked, exposing their soft body to predators!

Walking out of the lagoon was certainly a totally different experience. The waves were much stronger, and the corals... What can I say? They were simply ultra AWESOME!

Just take a look at this!

Even with all the waves, we can still see that the area was so densely covered with corals! And they come in all colours too!

And just as I was about to turn to head back to the lagoon, a flash of green caught my eyes.

It was a big and brilliantly coloured wrasse! At least between 40-50cm long!

Wow! And as I watch, it was making splashes swimming among the corals. Too bad it was too fast for me to capture more shots...

Now, who says Singapore doesn't have colourful coral reefs with colourful marine life?

Just imagine, if we have less dredging, less litter, less collection, and more protection, all our shores can have such beautiful coral reefs too!


koksheng said...

Wow... What a wonderful discovery at Raffles Lighthouse!!!

Hai~Ren said...


How do we tell the difference between Trochus maculatus and T. niloticus? (Besides the latter growing to a bigger size)


tHE tiDE cHAsER said...

Pai seh, apart from the size, I also have no idea how to differentiate them. Any shell experts around?

desiree said...

that is so kewl i would love to see these in person? coral reefs are so colorfull and unike