Sunday, January 03, 2010

Huge Sea Stars at Changi

Have not been to Changi Beach for quite a while, and thus decided to ask a few friends to go with me. As usual, Changi was a great place to find sea stars, and our luck was really good and we saw some really huge sea stars!

Eight-armed Luidia Sea Star (Luidia maculata)
We saw a total of 4 Eight-armed Luidia Sea Stars (Luidia maculata), and these were certainly the biggest living sea stars that I had ever seen in Singapore in terms of their diameter! Each was about 50cm wide! The biggest sea star I had seen (including dead ones) were also of this species, when Kok Sheng and I found a dead one about 60cm wide last time, also at Changi.

Eight-armed Luidia Sea Star (Luidia maculata)
Here's another one. These sea stars are known to feed on other smaller sea stars, and they can burrow into the sand to seek for their prey.

Rock Star (Asterina coronata)
We also found a few Rock Stars (Asterina coronata) hiding under rocks at the rocky area.

Sand Star (Astropecten sp.)
As usual, Sand Stars (Astropecten spp.) were rather common here. These was one of the smaller species, and was only about 3cm wide.

Sand Star (Astropecten sp.)
Not sure if this one is a different species. It's more colourful than the earlier one, and was about 5cm wide.

Sand Star (Astropecten sp.)
I later found this bigger one which was a little more brownish in colour and much bigger, about 8cm wide.

Biscuit Sea Star (Goniodiscaster scaber)
There were lots of Biscuit Sea Stars (Goniodiscaster scaber) that I lost count of them.

Cake Sea Star (Anthenea aspera)
We also saw 2 Cake Sea Stars (Anthenea aspera) about 15-18cm wide each.

Six-armed Luidia Sea Star (Luidia penangensis)
Luan Keng later spotted a Six-armed Luidia Sea Star (Luidia penangensis). Some of its arms appeared to have been chomped off. Somehow, I hardly see any "complete" Six-armed Luidia with long arms. Good thing that it can regenerate lost arms, or else it's going to have problem moving around fast enough to seek food and to escape from predators.

Pink Warty Sea Cucumber (Cercodemas anceps)
The Pink Warty Sea Cucumber (Cercodemas anceps) appear to be in season, and we saw lots of them.

Pink Thorny Sea Cucumber (Colochirus quadrangularis)
So were the Pink Thorny Sea Cucumbers (Colochirus quadrangularis). This one was extending its oral tentacles to collect plankton in the water to feed on.

Pinkish Red Sea Cucumber
We also came across this pinkish red sea cucumber with dotted lines by the sides which I do not know the ID.

Ball Sea Cucumber (Phyllophorus sp.)
Ball Sea Cucumbers (Phyllophorus sp.) were really abundant here, and many of them had burrowed into the sand, leaving only their front end sticking outside.

Sea Cucumber
We have seen this sea cucumber many times, but I am still not sure of its ID.

 Sea Apple (Pseudocolochirus axiologus)
But the top sea cucumber of the trip must be this Sea Apple (Pseudocolochirus axiologus). It got its common name from the fact that it's round-shaped and reddish in colour.

Salmacis Sea Urchin (Salmacis sp.)
I only saw one Salmacis Sea Urchin (Salmacis sp.). It had several shells, seaweed and seagrass stuck to its shell to camouflage itself.

We also saw this octopus, which was really cooperative and did not even move much when we were taking photos of it.

Hairy Sea Hare (Bursatella leachii)
There were lots of Hairy Sea Hare (Bursatella leachii), and I saw a number of their egg capsules too.

Leafy Sap-sucking Slug (Polybranchia orientalis)
Yet another animal in season will be this Leafy Sap-sucking Slug (Polybranchia orientalis). This animal has projections on its back known as cerata which it drops to distract predators.

Mangrove Horseshoe Crabs (Carcinoscorpius rotundicauda)
There was a pair of Mangrove Horseshoe Crabs (Carcinoscorpius rotundicauda) too. The smaller male was riding on the back of the female, which was hidden in the sand. They practise external fertilisation though, and the female will lay the eggs first, and then the males will release their sperm on them.

Dead Grouper
I heard from Luan Keng that when they were at another part of the beach, they saw a lot of dead fish and jellyfish. This part of the beach seemed better with just a few dead fish here and there. Among the dead fish were a few groupers, catfish and other unidentified ones.

Dead Seahorse
But we were all really sad when we saw a dead Spotted Seahorse (Hippocampus kuda). The colour was so bright that initially from afar I had wondered if it's a toy seahorse. But a closer look told me that it's a dead one, but certainly a real seahorse and not a toy.

It was really nice to be back here on Changi Beach and seeing so many familiar marine life. They were like old friends whom I visit once in a while. Hopefully the situation will improve and the fishes will stop dying.


Anonymous said...

Is it true that horseshoe crab can be eaten?

tHE tiDE cHAsER said...

It is said that some people eats the roe of the horseshoe crab, as there's hardly any meat. However, the roe of the species in this entry, the mangrove horseshoe crab, is actually poisonous, and has caused many death cases.

Anonymous said...

Yes..i seen people eat it in kelong...then i read somewhere that says it is i was like

zog zog said...

I dunno Changi Beach is so rich...very surprising for a sandy beach to have so many stuff.

unknown said...

yeah agreed...were all these marine life really found at the changi beach park area?