The currently hamburgerish leafmonkey would probably like this sea hare which is christened Syphonota geographica. It's by far the largest sea slug I have seen, spilling out slightly from my palm as I sought to place it in a photofriendly non-turbid seagrass pool. This slug enjoys a wide distribution and hence regional variations are not surprising. The markings on local specimens range from patchy brown to ornate green, while elsewhere, they can exhibit baroque labyrinths and scripts of byzantine detail. Ria came across this fellow on Cyrene Reef after Saturday's seagrass transect. Named for their lagomorph-like rhinopores and relatively speedy pace (for a mollusc), sea hares make up for the lack of an external shell (a remnant shell is encased within the mantle) by using chemical defences obtained from their diet of algae or cyanobacteria. When disturbed, they release a cloud of coloured ink that probably tastes like ink (duh!) and deters most predators. Did I also mention that they breed like rabbits and have mass sex by the beach?
The molluscan map wasn't really helpful in preventing my duck from wandering off tangent on the reef. I ended up seeing stars, from a submerged bar filled with fornicating sand stars to this juvenile knobbly seastar prowling amongst the Thalassia. Also known as the horned or chocolate chip star for obvious reasons, Protoreaster nodosus is deservingly an icon of local marine conservation, for its eye-opening dimensions, quiet charisma and faltering status on Singapore's shores. When overturned, purplish tube feet can be seen from the grooves beneath the arms. Even on less disturbed seagrass meadows, this species is not as common as it might be, and the rarity of juveniles such as this 20 cm spanner suggests a low rate of recruitment and survivability. And as more offshore islands face the axe of development, the number of sites that could reseed decimated populations dwindles and one day, these and other stars will likely fade from our seas like stellar myths in a smoky sky.