Apologies, it's hard to think of a less corny blog title after four back-to-back predawn trips and having to suddenly look after twice as many cats who don't much like one another.
Anyway, early this morning, we were out to scout more of Changi for sea anemones, in preparation for the visit by world anemone expert Daphne Fauntin.
Alas, there were very few anemones where we went. I saw only two small swimming anemones, and one small tiger anemone.There were quite a few carpet anemones though. Some were tiny, others were larger (see the seagrass leaves in the photos for scale).For some reason, unlike the carpet anemones on Chek Jawa, those on Changi tend to have large anemone shrimps on them. There was a pair on this anemone that was still expanded as the waves sloshed over it.The bigger one is mama shrimp!For some reason, this part of Changi has lots of special crabs. We've only seen this colourful moon crab on Changi, and haven't seen them this year until now.As I walked in the dark, I nearly bumped into the most gigantic crab I have even seen. I think both of us startled one another. It must have been nearly 30cm wide including pincers. I think it's probably a mud crab (Scylla sp.)Another mutual surprise was my encounter with a cuttlefish! After a few rapid colour and pattern changes, it zoomed away into the murky water.I was wondering where all the sea urchins we saw about two weeks ago had gone. Then realised they were hiding!
The above lump of assorted living and dead stuff looked very suspicious. Gently turning it over revealed a pair of white sea urchins (Salmacis sp.?)I'm not sure what's going on between them. But like people, animals sometimes also gather together to feed. It's not always just to make babies :-)
Chay Hoon found a fang blenny!Needless to say, this fish has a powerful chomp. So fingers were kept well away. I've only seen it one other time at Pulau Semakau.
My find of the day was this amazing Lined moon snail (Natica lineata). This is the first time I've seen a living one! How beautiful the entire animal is! It's a pity such snails are collected and killed just for their shells.
All too soon, it was sunrise, and what a glorious one too!For some reason, most collectors appear on the shore near sunrise. We chatted with this pair of young guys. They had a large plastic bag with a pair of large horseshoe crabs and lots of crabs. They said they were going to eat them all, including the horseshoe crabs. All our horseshoe crabs are listed among the threatened animals of Singapore.This lone older guy was already on the shore for some time. We noticed, he also stopped to take a photo of the sunrise. We approached him and he had a bag full of stuff in one hand, and in the other, a large Bailer snail!
The Bailer snail (Melo melo) is listed among the threatened animals of Singapore. We have never seen a living Bailer snail besides at Beting Bronok. He allowed us to take a photo of it. We asked and he said he was going to eat it. We explained it was rare and asked him to leave it behind, but he just walked away. He wouldn't show us what else he had in his bag.
Is this the last Melo melo on Changi?
We were debating about whether to post about the Melo melo.
If we did, people might actually come look for and remove these beautiful and rare snails. But if we didn't, no one would know that our shores are slowly disappearing into cooking pots.
Recently, it was reported that Malaysia could clone endangered leatherback turtles that face extinction because they "have been hunted for their meat and shells and many get entangled and die in fishing nets in the sea". It is tragic that we only appreciate what we have lost after we have eaten and carelessly killed the last of a special creature.
- "No More No More" a plea in mandarin, arising from this incident, on the colourful clouds blog
- Hai Ren posted the Melo melo incident on tomorrow.sg
- A photo of a happy Melo melo on the wildsingapore flickr