Aug 13, 2007

A look at the East Coast

The East Coast was one of the shores we hadn't had time to visit this year. So this morning, YC, Liana, Mervin and I headed out to check it out.

Most people think the East Coast is polluted and is dead. While, it does have a lot of litter, the shores certainly aren't dead.

Among the special marine life we've seen on the East Coast in the past are sea fans! And I saw three small ones today.Although they look like brightly coloured plants, these are actually colonies of tiny animals.You can see the tiny white polyps (fluffy things) on this sea fan 'branch'.

Last year June, we saw large sea fans at this spot. But a month later, the sea fans were dead. On this trip, I also didn't see the button shells or sand dollars that were there last June. Perhaps if we learn more about this shore and understand it better, the marine life there might have a better chance of thriving?

But I did come across this swimming crab with striking blue-and-black bands on its legs.It is possibly Charybdis annulata which I don't see very often elsewhere. The poor creature had lost its left pincer. According to the Labrador Book "Rhythm of the Sea", Charybdis annulata or the Ring-legged swimmer, is a new record from Labrador beach.

YC saw a frantic little Eeltail catfish (Plotosus lineatus) swimming all alone. It is usually seen in a group of many little fishes. So this little one is probably lost and in a panic.
And of course, wherever we go, we never forget Dr Daphne's "Nems Needed" list. Liana very soon spots the first anemone. And YC the next one. We realise the shore was quite thick with them!
We're not really sure if they are the same kind or different ones.

Mervin spots this really tiny sea anemone with a pair of darker longer tentacles. When we take it out to have a closer look, it's even more intriguing. We have no idea what it is.
Beneath the sand are also lots of buried ball sea cucumbers, which extend feeding tentacles out to the surface. This ring of tentacles look very much like anemones. But we are now well experienced and are not easily tricked by these.

YC gathers some stones with big green blobs. When we placed them in water, these 'flowers of the sea' unfurled their tentacles!

Mervin also finds the Tiger moon snail (Natica tigrina), which is not often seen elsewhere. It has a pretty spotted shell with an oversized body.There was also a very large Olive whelk (Nassarius olivaceus). The snail was foraging among the litter, mostly comprising fragments of plastic and styrofoam.

Our plastic litter doesn't decompose. But it does break apart, into smaller and smaller pieces that eventually re-enter the food chain. Small marine creatures eat them, which in turn are eaten by bigger animals and possibly end up in your favourite seafood!

Just as we headed home, we came across a really gruesome find.

I couldn't bear to even look at it. But Liana is brave enough to blog about it on her nearly lucid blog which also has some of the more pleasant encounters of today.


YC said...

hey! isnt the nem with the opposite dark tentacles the one that was so common down in kranji mangrove swamp? they certainly look very similar!

amelia said...

what beautiful sea creatures! i found this blog because i found an unusual brittle star in Siesta Key, Florida. it looks like 5 small striped brown snakes attached to a hard pink shell. i let it go but was curious. Wherever you are finding and exploring, the brittle stars are different. Thanks for reading my comment!