Category Archives: Marine Life

Wild Sandakan-Sharks, Rays and Conch.

I always visit fish markets in places I travel to if I can find the time. You get an education on the variety of marine life and the life of the people there.  The Sandakan Central Market is right in the middle of the town a few minutes walk from the Four Points Hotel. It also is next to the sea with a wharf for fishing boats to berth. Fishing boats unload their catches here directly to the stalls a few meters away. You cannot get fresher seafood than this.

Besides the usual groupers, snappers, lobsters and all sizes of prawn, I found a variety of lesser seen seafood like rays, sharks and shellfishes here. This is the best way to find out the kind of marine life off the coast of this part of Borneo. 13-20190302_083750

The fish section of the Central Market faces the sea with a wharf for the fishing boats.


Fishing boats unload their catches directly to the wharf next to the market.


Enterprising owners setting up makeshift stalls by the wharf to auction their crabs and prawns to wholesalers.


Tying up and sorting swimmer or flower crabs.


A mix of baby sharks with no chance of growing up. The top ones maybe Grey Reef Sharks.


Conches big and small. Must be delicacy here. Anyone knows the name of these conches?


Spotted Eagle Ray.


Cutting up another spotted ray for the restaurants.


The sad looking underside face of a ray.


Bonitos, a ray-finned predatory fish in the same family as the Mackerel and Tuna. Not a prized fish here.

Many thanks to Stephen Beng for identifying these sea creatures.


Sentosa’s Undersea Wonderland.

Sentosa’s Undersea Wonderland.

I did not know that there are sea spiders in our waters until I saw Lena Chow’s post. I decided to swap my birding trip for some beachcombing at Sentosa last Sunday to look for them. We had a super low tide that weekend. Large expanse of the seabed was exposed. Corals, sponges and trapped marine life were left high and dry. Perfect time to see them without getting wet.


Great to see some patches of Taped Sea Grasses growing here. Labrador at the background with Pasir Panjang Container Port in the distance.

Unfortunately I did not find any sea spiders. I was told that they are really small and hard to find. But this was well compensated with other weird and wonderful marine creatures like this Brittle Star found in a tidal pool.


Brittle Star. ID welcome.


In the same tidal pool was a pair of mating Common Sea Stars pointed out to me by Lena. They were moving around during the whole mating session.


This Goby has a red forehead but despite of this feature I cannot find the species.


A stranded False Clown Fish on a carpet anemone taking the risk of getting dried out.


Stone or Thunder Crab trying to hide and blend into the surroundings. 


This medium size Hairy Crab is common here. Its color and appearance made it hard to detect if it stays still.

Orange Fanworms have to adapt to surviving out of the water at least for a few hours.

Soft corals and sponges make up the diverse forms of marine life here. They come in different shapes, forms and sizes.

Leathery Soft Coral

Jabba the Hut, a character in Star Wars must have been inspired by this huge Soft Leathery Coral. According to Lena this particular one has been at the spot since she started exploring here exploring this beach many years back. She likened it to pig-skin.


This another soft coral, the Broad Leathery Soft Coral. It has only one type of polyp ending in eight tentacles. The whole coral has an overall blue tinge.

These are all Silvery Blue Sponge at different stages of growth. The left clump looks like a staghorn fern 


This is a Barrel Sponge even though it feels hard to the touch.

Hard corals are more easily recognised.

Thin Disk Coral

The Thin Dish Coral has many different shapes, this one looking like a cup.


Jigsaw Mazed Coral has this intricate ridged patterns on its round surface.


The Hexagonal Favid Coral is of the same size and shape as a rock melon.


Haddon’s Carpet Anemone greenish color made it attractive to collectors.


The Giant Carpet Anemone on the other hand has an abstract feel to it.


Adding colour to the seafloor is this Halymenia Red Seaweed.


Not able to find any references for this sea plant in the sea weeds and sea grasses indexes.

Reference: Ria Tan’s WildSingapore Fact Sheet on Marine and Seashore Life.