Monday, June 06, 2011

Beting Bronok on 20 April 2011

We visited Beting Bronok last month, but didn't quite had the time to blog about it until today! Not sure if it's a seasonal thing or what, but we did not see any Melo melo despite the very low tide. Checked with the TMSI team there, and apparently they had not seen one for a while also. We saw several shells though. Anyway, here are some of the things we saw...

Nepanthia belcheri, a sea star which I have not seen for a while...

The Goniodiscaster scaber were every where!

There were many small Anthenea aspera, but I was glad to see a few of these big ones - more than 20cm wide.

I only saw one Astropecten sp.

Two Protoreaster nodosus were seen.

The Salmacis sea urchins were in season.

Only a few Temnopleurus sp. were seen though.

Holothuria scabra, a rather common sea cucumber in our local shores which is also a good burrower.

Prionocidaris sp. - always rather abundant here.

An unknown nudibranch which I was too lazy too look up for its ID.

This nudibranch looks like a Hoplodoris armata to me.

Dendrodoris denisoni - one of the more commonly seen nudibranchs on our shores.

Notobryon sp. - have only seen this at Changi before this.

Found this Actinocyclus sp. laying eggs! Unfortunately it was caught by the low tide though.

Another nudibranch which I have not seen for quite a while - Thordisa villosa.

Bursatella leachii appeared to be in season too.

Several small octopuses were stranded high and dry with the low tide.

I also saw some cuttlefish eggs, but did not see any cuttlefish though.

My first time seeing this brownish flatworm here, though I had previously seen it on our other shores.

Pseudoceros indicus - quite common but often overlooked as it's rather small.

An unidentified sea anemone which had two different types of tentacles - yellow ones in the middle, which the rest were dull coloured.

Stichodactyla hadonni - a rather common sea anemone on our shores.

Not so common was this Actinostephanus haeckeli, which supposedly stings painfully.

Dendronephthya spp. were quite abundant on our northen shores.

Chrysaora sp. was also in season. Haven't heard of any divers who got stung by it this time round though.

Varuna litterata?

Bryozoans were every where!

Several moray eels and sharks were caught in this fish trap. Sigh... the TMSI people had problems with the fishermen before, so we didn't free them.

Generally it was a nice trip. Glad to be back here after 2 years!

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Little Sister Island on 20 May 2011

Yet another rather late post. I have not visited the Little Sister Island for several years, and hence was really glad that we managed to organise a trip there this time round. Although it's quite a bit smaller than the Big Sister Island, there are still quite a number of things to see on the island.

The heart urchin, likely to be Lovenia elongata, appeared to be in season, and we saw quite a number of them! This one was walking over a rock using the spines on its underside. Looks really cute!

Here's another heart urchin burrowing into the sand.

Flipping over the rocks, I saw this little sea star, probably an asterinid among the encrusting bryozoan and red algae. This was only my third time seeing this sea star - the other times at Raffles Lighthouse and Big Sister Island.

Under the jetty were several red feather stars.

I also saw this black and white feather star in a shallow pool.

A stonefish sea cucumber (Actinopyga lecanora) was trapped high and dry during the low tide.

Not too far away from the sea cucumber was the resident fluted giant clam (Tridacna squamosa).

Another "giant" we saw was the giant top shell (Trochus niloticus), hiding among the rocks.

The creeper shell, Cerithium trailli, is supposed to be an endangered species in Singapore. I have been seeing a number of them on our southern shores though.

Another shell I saw was the dolphin shell (Angaria delphinus). Been seeing many of them these days too.

Only a few slugs were spotted though, including the pustulose phyllid nudibranch (Phyllidiella pustulosa).

A few leaf slugs, Elysia ornata, were also spotted. These slugs feed on algae, and are able to retain the chloroplast for photosynthesis!

The hairy leaf slug, Placida daguilarensis, was also in season, but since they were so small, it was rather hard to spot them unless you look closely.

This octopus moved around so gracefully, and almost looked like it was gliding over the corals and rocks.

The brown egg crab (Atergatis floridus) is commonly seen among corals and algae on our reefs.

The sponge, Rhabdastrella globostellata, was rather common here.

There are good populations of hard corals on the island too. The above is a small colony of turban coral (Turbinaria sp.).

At the sides of rocks and areas shaded from the sun, a few patches of cave corals were seen.

There are soft corals too, including several huge colonies of the Cladiella corals.

Some parts of the reef were covered with zoanthids, such as the two species of Palythoa above.

Corallimorphs of various colours were seen. Unfortunately, the species we have in Singapore remains a mystery.

Branching sea anemones (Phymanthus spp.) were very common on our shores. Recent studies shown that although they may exhibit various colours and appear different, most of them are probably of the same species.

Several giant carpet anemones (Stichodactyla gigantea) were seen, though I did not really spend time to check if there were any anemonefish inside.

And before I left the reef, I took one last look at the densely covered coral reef - a sight most Singaporeans do not know exist in Singapore...