Northern Stars of Singapore and other low tide highlights

Another series of morning super low tides has just ended.

And what amazing sights were shared by intrepid explorers during these brief glimpses of our shores.

Among the encounters were our amazing sea stars of our Northern shores! As well as other special sightings.

The Changi shores are surprisingly rich in numbers and varieties of sea stars! Not only large adults, but also tiny juveniles.

The more commonly encountered species on Changi include the Sand star (Astropecten sp.), Cake sea star (Anthenea aspera), Biscuit sea star (Goniodiscaster scaber) and Rock star (Asterina sp.). Further up north at Pulau Sekudu, the Knobbly sea stars (Protoreaster nodosus) are still present.

Less commonly encountered usually, but seen in numbers during these trips was Gynmanthenea laevis.
Special stars

Some special sea stars include this Scaly sea star (Nepanthia sp.) at Changi.And a very special star found by Sam, is this beautiful pale blue star which is likely to be Craspidaster hesperus. A first sighting for the intertidal explorers!And a little green star on Changi! Its identity has yet to be ascertained.There was even a baby Knobbly sea star (Protoreaster nodosus) sighted on Changi.Adult Knobbly sea stars were seen on Pulau Sekudu!As well as at Beting Bronok, Pulau Semakau and of course, Cyrene Reefs probably the only Singapore shore where baby Knobblies are abundant!

Our shores are very much alive! And we can only be aware of our special stars and other marine life by visiting our shores. And sharing about them.

The most commonly encountered sea star on our Northern shore is probably the Sand star (Astropecten sp.). They are found even on Pasir Ris in huge numbers, as well as at Changi, Pulau Sekudu and Beting Bronok. For some unknown reason, they have not been seen on our Southern shores.Unfortunately, the Common sea star (Archaster typicus) is no longer commonly seen. Previously seen on Changi, they are now only common on Chek Jawa and even so, less regularly sighted since the flooding of 2007. Thus we shouldn't take our 'common' marine life for granted.
This photo of Common sea stars was taken on Pulau Semakau. The Common sea star can still retain its common name as it continues to be the most widely distributed sea star commonly seen on some of our shores both in the North and South.

Although not a sea star, this pink sand dollar is a relative of the sea star. It was another amazing first time sighting for this series of visits!This might be Peronella lesueuri which is listed in Dr Lane's book (Lane, David J.W. and Didier Vandenspiegel. 2003. A Guide to Sea Stars and Other Echinoderms of Singapore. Singapore Science Centre. 187pp.) According to the Guide: "This species is not common in Singapore waters. In recent years, it has been dredged only south of the mainland and then only occasionally."

Another stunning first time encounter this series of trips was Nemo of the North at Pulau Sekudu! This island is now part of the Chek Jawa Wetlands and requires a permit to visit. Originally thought not to exist on our Northern shores, it was surprising to find this False clown anemonefish (Amphiprion ocellaris) on Pulau Sekudu!

Unfortunately, clown anemonefishes have been harvested from the wild for the aquarium trade. So much so that they may become locally extinct. Here's more about the situation in Australia. Let's hope this little Nemo and her friends on our other shores are left alone in the wild.

Although there were fewer fish traps on the shores compared to the last trip, an abandoned driftnet was seen stuck among the rocks.A fisherman was seen laying a drift net in the channel between Pulau Sekudu and Chek Jawa. Hopefully, all these dangers will not hurt Nemo and all the marine life on our shores.

Outreach events this low tide period included a public walk at Sentosa's natural shores by the Naked Hermit Crabs.Everyone had a chance to see hard and soft corals, various nudibranchs and enjoy the natural cliffs and reefs of this tiny part of Sentosa that remains undeveloped.

The International Coastal Cleanup Singapore team also had an organisers' workshop to prepare for the upcoming effort for our shores in September.

A round up of the best of the sightings of these trips is on the colourful clouds blog, with video clips of some sightings on the sgbeachbum blog.

There so much more to learn and share about our amazing natural reefs and shores.

More blog entries about trips to our shores during this last series of low tides

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