Saturday, August 30, 2008

Starry Changi

My luck wasn't too good the last time I explored Changi Beach, so decided so pay another visit to it today with a few other friends. And it seemed like my luck has improved this time round. We saw lots of interesting stuff, including many sea stars!

Among the various Singapore shores that I've visited, Changi probably has one of the most variety of sea stars.

Sand star, Astropecten sp.
The most commonly encountered one must be the sand star (Astropecten sp.), which feed on small bivalves by swallowing them whole. It has pointed tube feet which allow it to burrow quickly into the sand.

Rock stars, Asterina coronata
At the rocky area, there were plenty of rock stars (Asterina coronata). Most rock stars are brownish in colour, which allow them to camouflage very nicely into the surrounding. But once in a while, we encounter some, like the one above, which are brilliantly coloured.

Six-armed sea star, Luidia penangensis
As we were walking along the upper, ST found this six-armed sea star (Luidia penangensis) stranded on the sand.

Underside of six-armed sea star, Luidia penangensis
Looking at the underside, we can see the orange tube feet. This sea star supposedly feeds on other smaller sea stars by swallowing them whole!

Starfish, Luidia cf. hardwicki
SY later found another one. Initially, I just assumed that it should be an L. penangensis as well, until after the trip ST told me he found the colour to be kind of pinkish, similar to another Luidia that KS found recently. Unfortunately, we didn't take any photos of its underside. I decided to blow up some of the photos I've taken to see if I can spot any tube feet.

Starfish, Luidia cf. hardwicki
And in one of the photos, I managed to see some tube feet as the sea star lifted up its arm! And it's not orange in colour! Could it be a six-armed variety of the sea star that KS saw last time? We thought it could be a Luidia hardwicki, but these days I'm beginning to wonder if it could be some other species that hasn't been recorded.

Biscuit sea star, Goniodiscaster scaber
Anyway, at another patch of exposed shore, we saw lots of biscuit sea star (Goniodiscaster scaber).

Starfish, Gymnanthenea laevis
And also, several Gymnanthenea laevis.

Cake sea star, Anthenea aspera
As the tide was rising, I also found a cake sea star (Anthenea aspera).

Pink thorny sea cucumber, Colochirus quadrangularis
We also saw several sea cucumbers, inlcuding the pink thorny sea cucumber (Colochirus quadrangularis) above among the green algae and red algae.

Ball sea cucumber, Phyllophorus sp.
There were several ball sea cucumber (Phyllophorus sp.) emerging from the sand too. This one has a hermit crab next to it.

Orange striped hermit crab, Clibanarius infraspinatus
And here's the orange striped hermit crab (Clibanarius infraspinatus).

Hell's Fire Anemone (probably Actinostephanus haeckeli)
I also found an uncommon Hell's Fire Anemone (probably Actinostephanus haeckeli). Have seen several other species of Hell's Fire Anemone from the Actinodendron and also probably the Megalactis genus, but this is the first time I'm seeing one an Actinostephanus! Was rather excited about this :)

Sea anemone
Also saw several of this anemone that we always see at Changi, but have no idea of the exact ID.

Tube anemone
There we lots of tube anemones too! They were like bunches of flowers scattered around the intertidal aarea. Very pretty!

Striped eeltail catfish, Plotosus lineatus
We also found a striped eeltail catfish (Plotosus lineatus) in one of the tidal pools. Earlier, we saw a whole school of juveniles swimming around, but unfortunately, the water was too murky to take any decent photos.

There were several halfbeaks (Hemiramphidae) swimming near the water surface too.

Again, this was a good trip with several interesting finds. Changi is surely one of my favourite local shore! :)


Eric Heupel said...

Looks like a great beach and great pictures!

Ron Yeo said...

Thanks for the compliments and for visiting my blog :)