Jun 17, 2007

Changi quickly

Yesterday morning, I spent a very short half hour on nearby Changi before heading to Pulau Ubin. Even such a brief visit allows encounters with an amazing variety of marine life on this much visited shore.

There were plenty of Peacock anemones (Order Ceriantharia) in various colours and patterns, hence their common name. These anemones create a soft felty tube to live in and are also called tube anemones.

Living on or near the tubes of peacock anemones are these strange black feathery worms with a double spiral of feathery tufts.

They are called phoronid worms. I see these worms most often on Changi, with many clustered around one peacock anemone.

Peacock anemones are different from sea anemones proper, which belong to Order Actiniaria.

Among the more well-known sea anemones are the Carpet anemones (Stichodactyla sp.) with very short tentacles on a large oral disk. On Chek Jawa, they can be 40cm in diameter. On Changi, I saw several very tiny carpet anemones about 2cm in diameter!

This rather stout sea anemone with many short fat tentacles and a pair of maroon dots on the oral disk is commonly seen on Changi. I'm glad to see many of them still on the shore. Its body column has lots of bumps, usually with a red dot on each bump. I still don't know exactly what kind of anemone this is.

An almost transparent anemone with white bars on its many short tentacles and pretty stripes on its oral disk is also frequently seen on Changi. I also don't know what it is.

This is yet another kind of sea anemone often seen on Changi. It has fewer tentacles with pinkish or brownish bars and a chevron pattern on the oral disk. The body column is smooth. Yet again, another anemone I have yet to identify, although it is common.

Besides the sea anemones, the ball sea cucumbers were also seen in some numbers. I didn't come across any sand stars, brittle stars or sea urchins. No seahorses either, nor pipefishes.
But there was this rather stupefied mantis shrimp just lying on the sand.

This narrow and rich shore is under constant visitor pressure. There were lots of tents on the shores, and some people already laid up their fishing lines even when the tide was very low. A man was out with a bucket and a 'cangkul' digging among the seagrasses probably for bait.

November took this photo of a man digging on the Changi shore as we were heading to Pulau Ubin.More photos of this on November's flickr site


Samson said...

So kiasu!

ria said...

It's true, I find it hard to NOT go to our shores during a super low tide. So I'll squeeze in time even for a brief visit.

There's not many of such low tides.

I feel it's important to learn and document as much as I can about our shores.

In particular, shores such as Changi which are under constant pressure, e.g., digging up for fishing bait, a highly destructive activity that serves only a very small group of people.

Will our children be able to enjoy these shores?

It will be a pity if we lose our shores simply because we didn't care about them while we could.