Despite the various coastal developments in Singapore, one can still find amazing marine life on some of our remaining tropical shores. In fact, we are situated in a biodiversity hotspot and the diversity of marine life has made my past two years of shore exploration enjoyable and unforgettable. It is a surreal experience to be able to appreciate the wonders of nature which God took pleasure in creating for us.
I'm always overwhelmed by the fact that our God is not a boring God. This can be explained by the Cake sea stars (Anthenea aspera) who have different patterns and colorations on their aboral surface. This means that not all Cake sea stars look alike! That is why I love these assorted "Cakes." The concept that a single species can look different can be explained by polymorphism, which is probably related to the environmental variation or the ontogeny of the sea star.
According to "A Guide to Sea Stars and Other Echinoerms of Singapore," these Cake sea stars are considered rare in the Indo-Pacific (only known in North Australia, southern Japan, China, Indonesia and Singapore) and are listed as "Vulnerable" in the "Red List of Threatened Animals of Singapore." Having seen these colourful stars living naturally on our shores all the while, I don't actually encourage keeping them in a tank simply for personal pleasure without benefit to the environment or science. I am not sure how well these sea stars do in captivity since little is known about them. Nevertheless, I personally find a great satisfaction in interacting with these beauties where they truly belong.
That place is definitely not the bakery.
Davison, G.W. H. and P. K. L. Ng and Ho Hua Chew, 2008. The Singapore Red Data Book: Threatened plants and animals of Singapore. Nature Society (Singapore). 285 pp.
Lane, David J.W. and Didier Vandenspiegel. 2003. A Guide to Sea Stars and Other Echinoderms of Singapore. Singapore Science Centre. 187pp.