Sep 3, 2007

Frog Island revisited

A late evening tide and we were off to have a look at Pulau Sekudu or Frog Island. As always, we are anxious to see signs of recovery. Like Chek Jawa, Pulau Sekudu was also affected by the flooding early this year, but not as badly.

We are delighted to see blobs, gobs and other colourful stuff growing back on the big boulders. By the way, these are all animals! We're excited because nudibranchs eat these encrusting animals. And we love nudibranchs.

Alas, we didn't see many nudibranchs. I saw this pair of fugly nudis, which are possibly Thordisa villosa.And Chay Hoon (of course) found a miniscule nudi. Tiong Chin broke his back photographing it, thus sparing me the agony of having to do so. Ron also took a good photo. We shall just slackly await one of them to blog the photo.

It was encouraging, though to come across this large egg mass laid in a spiral on the boulder. It certainly looks like a nudibranch egg mass. Ron also came across a spiral among the seagrasses. So we can hopefully look forward to seeing more nudis later on.

On the rock was also this ... ahem, Rock star (Asterina coronata).This was my big star for the trip. But the others found the 8-armed sea star (Luidia maculata) and Ron saw the Cake sea star (Anthenea aspera). Wow!

Hopefully, soon we will also see the Knobbly sea stars (Protoreaster nodosus) that used to crowd this shore. Alas, we didn't see any tonight.

It was also encouraging to chance upon this young Sandfish sea cucumber (Holothuria scabra).These animals unfortunately died in large numbers on Chek Jawa during the Big Flood. It's good to see them coming back.

Just after I told Adelle that the season for sea urchins was probably over, I came across this little white sea urchin (Salmacis sp.?). By then, she and her party were too far away to call back.This rather camera-shy animal 'carries' objects and is thus hard to spot although it is bright white!

Tonight, we're off duty from the Nem Hunt. But we still documented them by photographs.

There were a few Haddon's carpet anemones (Stichodactyla haddoni).And some really tiny sea anemones. I'm not sure if this one is a baby Haddon's carpet anemone or Stichodactyla tapetum.

There were several swimming anemones too.And the sand was just teeming with the tiny anemones that we've already seen at Sembawang, East Coast and Changi. Wow! It's just stunning what we can see if we look closely.Albert and friends saw a moving sea anemone! But a look at the photo suggests it was probably an anemone stuck to a shell occupied by a hermit crab.

The shores of Sekudu were also teeming with fishes. Tiny TINY ones swarmed in schools among the seagrasses.

This large toadfish (Family Batrachoididae) lurked on the bottom pretending to be a stone.While this young rabbitfish (Family Siganidae) is perfectly camouflaged among the seaweeds.On the water surface was an odd little halfbeak with a shovel-shaped lower jaw that is many times longer than it upper jaw.Seagrasses are an important nursery for fishes, many of which are important food fishes. Pulau Sekudu and Chek Jawa are probably important areas where our favourite seafood can breed and grow up before moving out to our other nearby shores. Keeping these two areas as no-fishing zones will probably result in better fishing nearby.

Thus it is heartening to note that access to Chek Jawa and Pulau Sekudu by boat is now restricted. A permit is now required from NParks to land on Pulau Sekudu. See the NParks website for more details scroll to "Notice to Vessels"; "PDF of Designation" and "Application for Permit".

Andy also did a quick check on the trash situation on Pulau Sekudu, and it seems to have improved.

Well, this is the last of the low tide trips for a while. As usual, at this time of the year, there's a few weeks when there are no low tides. This is a time for us to catch up on sleep, give public talks, conduct training, plan for the next series of evening tides.

Links to more blogs about this trip
Ron's tidechaser blog: butterflyfish, more sea cucumbers, the lovely large Cake sea star, tiny nudibranch and more.
TC's mountain and sea blog: cuttlefish, black peacock anemone, 8-legged sea star and more.

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