Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Special animals all over St John's Island!

Stephen cups a fiddler crab that was running up his pants. Hilarious.

Off to St John's island! On Saturday, we headed out before sunrise and hit the rocky shore with our torchlights and cameras. Before we knew it, daylight had dawned but we'd missed the sunrise that was obscured by the cliff behind us. The rocky shore of St John's Island had many surprises, big and small. Sometimes incredibly tiny, like this teeny tiny brittle star I accidentally happened across under a rock. Its oral disk was something like, less than 0.5cm in diameter.

I caught a top shell on the move!

Woo! What have we here?

My find of the day!! This wiggly star anemone that's got pretty pink and green bands on its tentacles! There's also a stray brittle star arm in this shot. I was fortunate to get this picture because this anemone was so nervous, an attempt to advance made it promptly retract. From experience in previous anemone trips, we can wait til the cows come home but it won't come out to let you peer at it until next Christmas. Actually, we just call it a wiggly star anemone, but it's not yet been identified! We should check with Dr Daphne, anemone expert, when she visits us again this week for more anemone expeditions!

The rocky shore was teeming with these cowries too!

Here, I prodded a floral egg crab in hiding.

A few fan worms were up and about.

The shore was abundant with these magnifica carpet anemones! They are huge, but I didn't spot any anemone fishes or shrimps that day.

A super long ribbon worm greeted Ivan and I in the middle of nowhere when we were busy poking nudibranchs!

These are the mysterious orange nudibranchs in question.

Nearby, a tiny polkadotted nudibranch crawled about. It was so tiny, there were hardly any polkadots on its body! Aw, cute.

Aiyoh, before we knew it, a storm was headed our way! Ominous clouds formed above and sheets of rain could be seen in the distance, pelting down on the islands nearby.

There's sisters' islands in the background, under looming storm clouds, while the team was oblivious, engrossed in taking pictures of a phyllid nudibranch!

This nudibranch.

We fled to shelter as the rain started to fall. When it slowed to a drizzle, we headed back out, this time to the sandy lagoon. Here, I saw this strange moon snail with dark markings. Nobody knows what it is.

These nerites have colonised a dead oyster.

We were very enamoured with this conch which I started calling a "special gong gong" because it looks like a gong gong... but special. The markings on the shell and the wavy lip makes it very mesmerising.

Kok Sheng drew my attention to the patterned siphon. Very cute. I really like how innocent gong gong eyes are. Adorable.

Here's a stranded fiddler that Stephen fingered. So cute!

Have you cupped your crab today?

James has some amazing pictures of his finds on this trip!

On the ride back, loony boys obviously got a bad case of stupox as they... tried to slow the boat down by creating drag with their ponchos. No, not really. Actually Kok Sheng came up with this really innovative way of drying his poncho on the way back to mainland, so that it's dry by the time we dock, AND he doesn't have to mess up his home hanging it out to dry! Amazing! Ivan of course, joins in.

It was unfortunate that our trip was interuppted by rain, I would have loved to see more of the rocky shore! There's always interesting critters to observe.


James K said...

That shot of the fiddler back on more familiar ground is very nice, it's like it blur liao, dunno what just happened to itself.

Also, thanks for sharing that last photo, hahaha!

Ria Tan said...

Wow, that's a very intriguing fiddler crab! Thanks for sharing.

We sure saw a lot of stuff despite the weather.