Friday, July 24, 2009

Wild Abalone at Raffles Lighthouse

Finally, I saw an abalone at Raffles Lighthouse again!

The last time I saw an abalone here, it was not moving at all, and so I wasn't really sure if it was still alive. This time round, it moved! The entire shell was about 6-7cm long. Certainly not as big as the ones you can find in temperate countries, but well, it's our very own native wild abalone!

Yet another exciting find for me today was this chiton. It was about 3cm long, and had really pretty patterns on its shell! I'm a little embarrassed to say that this is the biggest chiton I have ever seen in local waters actually, even though I understand that there are much larger ones (up to 10cm long) in local waters. But still, I was satisfied finding such a pretty one. Must make a trip to find the big ones next time :P

As per previous trips, Raffles Lighthouse is a great place to find different types of feather stars. I saw quite a number of them in different colours - yellow, black, bluish green, and the one above, dark brown.

Among some rocks, I found this stonefish sea cucumber, looking just like a round rock if you did not look carefully.

There were lots of octopuses among the rocks and seaweeds too! Many of my friends were quite surprised to learn that octopuses are very common in local waters.

Giant top shells were another common sight here. In other countries in the region, they were often collect for food, and the shell polished and cut into buttons.

Another giant we saw was this burrowing giant clam. It can grow up to about 15cm wide. Other species of giant clams in Singapore can grow up to about 40cm.

A few nudibranchs were spotted, including this black phyllid nudibranch. Not sure if it was due to the rain water or some predator, it was releasing a whitish fluid when I found it. Phyllid nudibranchs are known to release toxic chemicals into the surrounding water when they are stressed, especially when attack by predators.

Another nudibranch we saw was this Dermatobranchus nudibranch. It is believed that this nudibranch feeds on soft corals.

One of the volunteers found this pretty flatworm, probably a Pseudobiceros sp.

Raffles Lighthouse also has one of the nicest intertidal coral reef in Singapore.

The coral cover can get really dense here, compared to most other intertidal coral reefs in Singapore which are usually rather sparse.

On the whole, it was great to be here again and to be assured the reef was still pretty and healthy! :)

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