With permissions from National Parks Board, we were back at Pulau Sekudu to survey the coral rubble on a lower spring tide. I ended this trip with mixed feelings with both exciting and not-so-happy finds.
This fish is also a clear reminder not to put keep all our emotions in the box, for us to also think out of the box! We named it Boxie and were reminded of boxing name. Of course, we were cautious not to be boxed by this fish. x_x
Shortnosed boxfish (Rhynchostracion nasus) whose distinguishing features are a small bump on the snout above the upper lip, and a ridge along the middle of the back. It was swimming up and down for quite some time before it decided to take a break.
The boxfish has a strong and hard body shell. This species is likely to be able to secrete a powerful toxin on the skin (called ostracitoxin). This toxin is poisonous to other fishes and can even kill the boxfish itself if it is confined in an aquarium. Thus they are not recommended for aquariums.
Estuarine seahorse (Hippocampus kuda).
Sea fans or Gorgonians (Order Gorgonacea) though it swam away shortly after we took a look at it.
Pore hard coral (Porites sp.) which we also saw at the coral rubble of Chek Jawa which is only separated by a stone's throw away across the channel.
Sandpaper coral (Psammocora sp.).
What was sad about the coral rubble was the decimation of sponges that used to cover many rocks of the reef. This was also what we observed at Chek Jawa the day before. It's quite worrying as it is not a localised phenomenon. We wonder what causes this situation.
Yellow bumpy sponges and the Chocolate sponge. The rocks were also mostly coated in Melted chocolate sponge.
Purple branching sponges (Callyspongia sp.) which can be found in large numbers on mainland shores such as Changi are not even able to thrive at Sekudu or Chek Jawa.
Black-margined nudibranch (Glossodoris atromarginata) that was seen feeding on the black sponge. Having less sponge means less food and also less slugs.
White sea urchins (Salmacis sp.) are found in great numbers on the coral rubble of Sekudu.
Feather stars (Order Comatulida), I only saw one at the coral rubble instead of the few that we usually would find in the past.
Biscuit stars (Goniodiscaster scaber) that used to be found in higher numbers in the past. I only saw one at the rubble area today. It's puzzling that I see a lot more just a stone's throw away at Chek Jawa.
Onyx cowries (Cypraea onyx) and also the Scaly sea star (Nepanthia sp.)!
Knobbly sea stars (Protoreaster nodosus) are still alright and since today's trip ended after sunrise, it was a great opportunity to take a photo of the scenic background with the sea star in front. :)
Oval heart urchin that we have seen. It is still alive and is as nearly as huge as the size of our palms. They got their name because they have a heart-shaped body.
Aeolid nudibranch (Cratena sp.) which I've also seen at Chek Jawa yesterday. It's really tiny!
Cerberilla sp. slug. Can you spot the eye spot on this slug?
Aeolid nudibranch (Flabellina sp.) on the hydroids!
Chromodoris nudibranch (Chromodoris tumulifera) that looks like a cow with its dots on the body.
Hypselodoris nudibranch (Hypselodoris sp.) that is sometimes also seen at other northern shores such as Changi.
once saw a living one just off the waters of Chek Jawa!