Monday, December 28, 2009

Tanah Merah Beach, 18 Dec 2009

My first time at Tanah Merah beach, and this time, I had the company of Kok Sheng, James, Marcus, Ria, Lester, Bingquan and Yang yuan. We were again blessed with great weather, as it is nearing the rainy season this time of the year.

My impression of Tanah Merah beach has always been that it must be "pretty dead" since it is a reclaimed shore. But NOOOO I was so wrong, it is teeming with life!

At the start of the trip, James spotted a Hollow-cheeked stonefish. I have heard alot about this amazing creature but never got the chance to see it live. However, I could not get a nice picture of it, but here is James' much better shot of it.

Somewhere nearby, we saw a Synaptid sea cucumber. When touched, its skin actually sticks to you but be sure not to pick it up as they may break since they are very fragile.

Nearer the end of the day, I saw a sea cucumber that looked like a Holothuria scabra, or commonly called the Garlic bread sea cucumber. Sea cucumbers are known more commonly as seafood, but there actually are a variety of them out on our shores!

Walking along the sandy stretch, it wasn't hard to realise that the sand had been "meddled with".

The picture above shows Bingquan, Yang Yuan and Lester curiously observing the Sand bubbler crabs. I tried to capture videos of them at work but due to the limitations of my camera I couldn't get close-up videos of them :( However, I found this great video online.

Marcus found a pair of Five-spot anemone shrimps on a Haddon's carpet anemone, and we managed to find the male, which was smaller and duller. It was incredibly shy and went to hide from us! This was my shot of the female. James has a higher res picture of this beautiful female here.

The Five-spot anemone shrimps are commensal shrimps. They live among the anemone and derive protection from them, yet do not provide the anemone with any benefits. In fact, many such commensal relationships exist in nature, and may occur between crabs and anemones, fish and anemones, etc.

We also saw the Gong-gong (also called Pearl conch) with its peering eyes.

There were many fan worms around as well, and some even occurred in groups.

Bottom-most: Orange fan worm

It was my first time seeing fan worms as well, and though they were pretty common, they pretty much dazzled me with their beauty. Here is a video I caught of a fan worm coming out of its tube.

The sandy shore consists of a considerably large patch where the Common sea star, Archaster typicus, can be found in abundance. It wasn't uncommon to find ones with 4 or 6 arms.

This individual has 2 regenerating arms.

Most, if not all, of them were feeding. This is one with its green-coloured stomach everted. Yes, they feed by sticking their stomachs out and digesting food externally.

This couple was caught mating.

After nightfall, a different group of animals emerged. I saw 2 Peacock anemone individuals.

I saw a Giant carpet anemone as well, sprawled on a huge boulder.

Kok Sheng advised James and I to turn rocks over as many organisms can be hiding underneath and demonstrated once, revealing a Red egg crab!

Near the end of the trip, we saw this Ornate leaf slug grazing on the rocks.

Without a doubt, this was a fruitful trip once again :) Thanks Ria and James for the links I use here!


  1. Great blog you have started! Nice animals that you've spotted at Tanah Merah esp the Giant carpet anemone. :)

    Keep it up and can't wait to read more about your future adventures.

  2. Thanks kok sheng! And yes I can't wait to share more on our shores too :D