Sunday, September 02, 2007

Sekudu with Beachfleas & Ubin Volunteers

Today, the beachfleas were out exploring Pulau Sekudu!

We had quite a big gang actually, as the Ubin volunteers had also decided to join us and they hired another boat.

Sekudu was certainly recovering from the effects of the great flood early this year, and I saw quite a number of things on this trip.

One of the first things we saw was this sandfish sea cucumber. Quite happy to see it as many of them died during the great flood.

There were lots of flower crabs in the lagoon, and I came across this pair. The male (on top) was fiercely guarding the female, waiting for it to moult so that he can mate with her.

There was a belief that if a thunder crab grab you with its pincer, it will only release when it hears a clap of thunder. Anyway, seeing a thunder crab always reminds me of my Operation Thunder Crab on Sekudu in March this year :P

It nice to see several cowries too. Hopefully the rarer ones will start appearing soon as well...

There were several healthy carpet anemones in the sea grass lagoon and also the coral rubble area. Apart from usual green ones, there were a few purple ones too!

This is also the first time I witnessed butterflyfish feeding on a carpet anemone! Unlike the anemonefish, the kite butterflyfish above is not immune to the carpet anemone's stinging cells. Thus, it had to use what I call a dash-snap-turn-dash technique. Basically it went near the anemone, aimed at a tentacle, dashed towards that tentacle, bit it, made a quick turn and swam away. The whole process happened so quickly, and you will just see the butterflyfish darting to and fro.

I also found several sea pens among the carpet anemones. A sea pen is actually a colony of many animals called polyps! The centre "pillar" is actually the primary polyp, and the little flowery things sticking out from the primary polyp are the secondary polyps.

And today, FINALLY, I saw a cake sea star fro the first time! I have been to Sekudu and Chek Jawa so many times, but some how never got to see it with my own eyes until today! Was really excited about this, though while I was searching for it, I missed seeing the Luidia maculata that the others found on the other side of the island.

Here's the underside of the cake sea star. It's about 17cm wide.

Seems like these small sea cucumber were in season, as I saw lots of them among the seagrasses and seaweeds.

I also found this spiral melongena laying eggs among the seaweeds.

When I was heading back to the sanding area, I decided to try out my camera's macro.

This is a tiny sea anemone on the sand. It's probably less then 5mm wide!

And here's a tiny hermit crab, and its shell was slightly more than 1cm long.

Most fascinating was this nudibranch. It may look big in the photo, but it was probably less than 1cm long!

Taking a closer look at the cerata, I thought they looked like carrots or chilli wrapped in plastic.

On the whole, it's been a great trip. Sekudu is certainly recovering from the effects of the great flood. Many things are coming back, but when will the beautiful knobbly sea stars and pencil sea urchins come back, I wonder? Certainly hope that I'll see them again on another trip!


Siyang said...

heyhey! Nice revamp of blog ya!!

tHE tiDE cHAsER said...

thanks! heh heh, will put up what are that 12 animals used in the banner next week... :P