Friday, November 21, 2008

Pasir Ris Beach

Decided to help KS with his sea star research at Pasir Ris last Monday since I had not helped him for quite a while, and also understood that it's his exam period at the moment, and most of his friends were not able to find time to help him.

Sand stars (Astropecten sp.)
Pasir Ris had a huge population of sand stars (Astropecten sp.). There were hundreds, if not thousands, of these little sea stars lying on the sand when we arrived.

Sand star (Astropecten sp.)
Most of them had the usual five arms, but we found one with only four arms.

After finding the spot with the most sand stars, we starting helping KS with his project. It was a rather tedious job actually, but that didn't stop us from taking photos other other interesting animals we saw them :)

Rock stars (Asterina coronata)
Other than the sand stars, we also saw several rock stars (Asterina coronata), and among them was another surprise find - one with six arms instead of the usual five arms!

Brittle Star
Another star we saw was this brittle star. Can't really remember if I've seen something like this before. It burrowed quickly into the sand as we were taking photos of it.

Bobtail squid
Enough about echnioderms, this little bobtail squid (Order Sepiolida) must be the cutest find of the day! This little cephalopod is said to be more closely related to the cuttlefish than true squids.

Bobtail squid
After a while, it tried to burrow into the sand. So cute right? :P

Orange mud crab (Scylla olivacea)
Most Singaporeans are familiar with the dish "Chilli Crab", but many probably do not know that the orange mud crab (Scylla olivacea), which is the mud crab often used in this dish, can also be found in Singapore.

Elbow crab
Elbow crabs (Family Parthenopidae) camouflage themselves very well with the surrounding mud and sand, and sometimes it can be quite difficult to spot them, even though they are quite common on our shores. They got their name from the long pincers potruding far out from its body.

Moon crab (Ashtoret lunaris)
Like most other sandy beaches in Singapore, moon crabs (Ashtoret lunaris) were rather common at Pasir Ris. Not really sure how did the one above got the seaweed stuck to the sides of its eye stalks.

This shrimp which I have no idea of the exact ID was particularly camera friendly, and hardly moved until I finished taking the photos I wanted.

These two seahares (Suborder Aplysiomorpha) looked like they were stranded together on the shore when the tide receded. Wonder if they were doing anything to prepare for the next generation when that happened :P

Sea pen
Several stranded sea pens (Order Pennatulacea) were also found on the sand.

It was already rather late and the tide was quite high by the time we finished out work, and we also didn't quite have the energy to explore further to seek for more intertidal life. But still, it's a nice change once in a while to help out with research work rather than doing guiding or leisure trips :)

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