Saturday, August 01, 2009

Chek Jawa Walk on 27 Jul 2009

This is again a long overdue entry, as I was really busy last week after this intertidal walk. Anyway, managed to find time to help out at Chek Jawa last Monday. There were sufficient guides, and so I finally got to be a hunter-seeker for a change. And here are some of the things we found...

This is a rather common sea cucumber, but we were still not quite sure of the exact species. Personally I suspect it to be a colour variation of Paracaudina australis, as I have seen in a guide book a similar-looking one being identified as that.

There were a few ball sea cucumbers (Phyllophorus sp.).

Sandfish sea cucumber (Holothuria scabra), the one that you can find in Chinese restaurants.

And we found this black one which looked like a sandfish too. I am beginning to wonder if the one I found at Semakau is also just a variation of sandfish. Could it be Holothuria scabra var . versicolor? I had thought that the one at Semakau was a curryfish (Stichopus hermanni) based on the orange papillae, but guess I could be wrong.

There were quite a few pink thorny sea cucumbers (Colochirus quadrangularis) among the seagrass.

Some of them may look similar to the thorny sea cucumber, but like the one above, they could be Cercodemas anceps instead.

As per other trips, sand dollars (Arachnoides placenta) were really plentiful on the sand bank.

Also on the sand bank was this lonely sand star (Astropecten sp.). they are more commonly seen when it's darker, so I was glad that we still managed to find one.

There were also 2 sand-sifting sea stars (Archaster typicus).

And also, a knobbly sea star (Protoreaster nodosus)!

Among the seagrass, there were a few tube anemones too.

It was nice to see a few big Haddon's carpet anemones (Stichodactyla haddoni). But I wonder when will the population return to the way it was 3 years ago before the flood.

I found a moon snail (Polinices didyma) crawling on the sand, probably seeking for little shells to feed on.

There was also a tiger moon snail (Natica tigrina).

I almost missed this gong gong (Strombus turturella) as it was really well-camouflaged among the seagrass, until it started hoping using its long trapdoor.

There was a small noble volute (Cymbiola nobilis). This volute feeds on other snails and clams.

Many of the other shells I found were dead ones though. The bigger dead shells were mostly occupied by orange striped hermit crabs (Clibanarius infraspinatus) and slipper snails (Crepidula walshii).

This flower crab (Portunus pelagicus) had just moulted, and its shell was really soft.

One of the visitors spotted this little mangrove horseshoe crab (Carcinoscorpius rotundicauda). Horseshoe crabs are ancient animals which existed more than 400 million years ago!

All in all, it was fun to do hunting-seeking again at Chek Jawa, especially when there are so many go finds! :)

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