Friday, April 02, 2010

Good Friday @ Cyrene Reef.....

Was out to Cyrene reef with TeamSeagrass to do monitoring this morning. We landed just before 1st light. So we trek slowly and carefully to Site 2 which is very far from the landing point.

I was doing the monitoring alone and it was challenging laying the transect tape without a partner telling you to go left or right to make sure that the tape is straight. Fortunately, Steve lended a helping hand after he and Ria finished laying theirs.

Soon we finished the monitoring and slowly make our way back to the landing point. Along the way, we came across several creatures. And they are;

Knobbly Sea Stars! Lots of them! Juveniles and adults! Haha.....I stopped taking pics after 3. :p The little greyish one you see here was found in my quadrat at 0m of the transect tape.

And another Sea star in abundance is the Common Sea Star.

Saw a juvenile Cushion Star. But.....

.....poor star sustained some injuries.

Also found a Knobbly with a lost arm. But it looks like it has started to regenerate.

A few beautiful Peacock Anemones.

A Flathead laying motionless on the Seagrass bed.

The currently in season Jellyfish. Very painful stings they give. And not forgetting the terrible itch that follow. Eek!

I check out some of the Solitary fan Green Seaweed for Strawberry Sea Slugs (Costasiella sp.). Found 2 of them on one seaweed.

Here's one of them. So Cuteeee!

This is probably a Extraordinary Sea Hare (Aplysia extraordinaria). Marcus found 2 of them near the Flathead and soon we saw more.

Can you see how many Sea Hare in this pic?

If you say 2, then you are right! There's a smaller one on top of the slightly bigger one to the right of the pic. They are mating!

Sea Hares are hermaphrodites. They have fully functional set of male and female reproductive organs. The male organ is to the right of the head and the female organ opens into the mantle cavity between the 2 large flaps called parapodia.

Usually, Sea Hares occur in quite large populations and often you will sea a number of them mating together forming what we call a mating chains. As the method of mating is for the "male" to crawl onto the back of the "female" (as demostrated here in the pic) so that male and female organ can meet . And the chain starts when a 3rd Sea Hare joins in and mate with the 2nd Sea Hare and so on with a 4th mating with the 3rd..... Thus, the 1st Sea Hare in the chain acts only as a female, and the last acts only as a male, but all the others are acting simultaneously as males and females.

So in this pic, there's no mating chain yet.


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