Saturday, January 26, 2008

Changi on a Not-so-low-tide Evening

Tide wasn't really very low yesterday, but after my last encounter with the six-armed sea star and the heart urchin during a similar tide last month, decided to take my chances to go to Changi Beach again. Together with me were LK, ST, SJ and my friend ZY.

Well, unfortunately didn't managed to find the above two critters again this time round, but we still managed to find all sorts of interesting animals :)

A cute little leaf porter crab. Mind you, I didn't turn it over, but found it swimming in this position. Apparently, this helped it to hide from predators swimming below. They are usually found in this position at dusk or when they are attracted to lights.

There were so many sand stars every where that we had to be really careful not to step onto them.

Found this pretty sand star, probably a different species, emerging from the sand. Sand stars are predators of little shells, and I've seen them feeding on button shells before.

Like Chek Jawa, we saw lots of sea hare eggs as well.

And also, many hairy sea hares. About one year ago, we saw many of these hairy sea hares and their eggs as well. Could this mean that they have a consistent yearly breeding cycle?

I lost count of the pink thorny sea cucumbers I saw too. Many of them had their feeding tentacles out.

Found several salmacis sea urchins among the seaweeds.

Some of the bare batches of sand has many sand dollars hidden underneath too.

As it got darker, the brittle stars also started appearing.

Found a patch of seaweeds with lots of whelks. There were probably thousands of them. What attracted them here? Food? Or Sex? Or both? Really have no idea.

Found several of these sea anemones.

But the highlight of trip must be this seahorse! I was busy scanning around for sea stars and heart urchins and have not really been searching closely for other well-camouflaged animals. Fortunately the rest of the gang were looking at things more closely though :P

As it got darker, some of the tiny sea stars started appearing too. The one above could be a juvenile biscuit sea star.

Not sure about this one though. Saw a tiny green sea star as well during my last trip here with JL, so was really delighted to see one again this time.

Also found this sea urchin stuck to a durian shell. Spikes against spikes :)

Only saw a few sea pencils this time. I guess most of them were probably found on the lower shore which wasn't exposed during yesterday's not-so-low tide.

Found this bristle worm towards the end of our exploration. Apparently the rest already saw quite a few of them.

When we walked over to the artificial rocky shore, we saw several purple climber crabs.

There were a few onchs too. These are not sea slugs (which refers to opistobranchs such as nudibranchs, sap-sucking slugs and sea hares), but marine pulmonate slugs more closely related to land snails that breathe air using simple lungs. Some species hide in air pockets among rocks during high tide, while some other species are able to burrow into the sand during high tide, forming form S-shaped tubes with an air pocket from which they breathe during immersion. It is known that a few species can breathe through their skin underwater too.

We also found this moon crab stuck among some rocks, high and dry because of the low tide. We later put it back into the water.

Tide was already rising then and we had to leave. While we couldn't find the six-armed sea star and the heart urchin, it was still a great day with many interesting sightings.

And after washing up, it's off to my favourite coffeeshop for my favourite teppanyaki! :)

No comments: