Oct 2, 2007

Changi is alive!

With the low spring tides now in the evening, a small group of beachfleas gathered on our favourite Changi shore for a leisurely after-work look. And wow! The shores are just seething with life. Sheltering next to a buried Fan shell and the white sea pen, are two Kite butterflyfishes (Parachaetodon ocellatus), a scorpionfish and a little rabbitfish!

Nick says the rabbitfish doesn't look like a rabbit. True, possibly the common name arose because it eats green stuff?

Chay Hoon found a really pretty dragonet (Callionymus schaapii) which has a downturned mouth to vacuum up edible titbits.This little sand-dwelling fish disappears instantly into the sand leaving only its beady eyes sticking out of the surface. Other fishes we saw included tiny filefishes and large soles and other flatfishes.

The shore was thick with green seaweeds and among them, all kinds of animals were hiding. We carefully avoided stepping on the seaweeds so that we wouldn't squash all the animals living there.

Octopus! Nick annouces. It was a marvellous one indeed. We only see this kind of octopus on the northern shores and it looks quite different from the ones we commonly see on the southern shores. All too soon, it slithered away to hide among the seaweeds.

Chay Hoon also spotted a tiny squid! It had its pair of tentacles extended.Squids (and cuttlefishes) have eight arms. These arms are short and stout, with suckers along their entire length. In addition to the eight arms, squids also have a pair of tentacles. These may be twice as long as the arms, are thinner and have spoon-shaped tips. Only the tips have suckers. A squid uses these two longer tentacles to grab prey. These tentacles shoot out and retract in an eye blink, bringing the prey within the grasp of the eight shorter arms which firmly grip the prey for the killing bite with its sharp beak.

Changi has some amazing molluscs including this beautiful Noble volute (Cymbiola nobilis) that Chay Hoon found for us. And among the many common moon snails ploughing the sand, Chay Hoon spotted this rarer Lined moon snail (Natica lineata).
What a stunning snail!

There were LOTS of armina nudibranchs on the shores! We don't know why.These slugs in pajamas have a colourful blue-and-yellow shovel shaped bit in front of the face. Chay Hoon also spotted some woolly slugs.

The green shores were dotted with large round white sea urchins (Salmacis sp.).As well as tiny sea urchins of different kinds.Like the pink pencil sea urchin (Prionocidaris sp.) and the black sea urchin (Temnopleurus sp.).

There were also strange sea cucumbers lurking among the seaweeds.Including the delightful pink Thorny sea cucumber (Colochirus quadrangularis) and this odd little white sea cucumber which might be a synaptid sea cucumber (Family Synaptidae).

We have been seeing this intriguing beige sea cucumber (on the left) on our northern shores lately. We don't know what it is.
And we're so glad to see the bigger Sandfish sea cucumber (Holothuria scabra) back on the shore. We also saw the smooth sea cucumber and ball sea cucumber (Phyllophorus sp.)

The sand stars (Astropecten sp.) were also plentiful!
The shores were also writhing with very large and active brittlestars!And we also saw sand dollars! So it appears the echinoderms on Changi are recovering very well.

Chay Hoon also showed us a lively mantis shrimp!
My find of the day was this awesome monster lurking among the seaweeds!Fortunately, it was tiny, about 2cm across. This fearsome bristleworm must strike terror into the shells of little animals that live on the shore.

We noticed someone on the shore walking around with a plastic bag while we were there. We couldn't get close enough to chat with him as he seemed to be avoiding us.

Let's hope he wasn't collecting these wonderful animals. In the past, we had encountered people collecting animals from Changi to eat.

This trip is also blogged by
Chay Hoon on her colourful clouds blog

No comments: