Meeting Melanosiphon

It was just over a year ago, on March 8, 2020, when I had a chance brush with Melanosiphon intestinalis. Being my first encounter, I was grateful, but even at the moment, it seemed this seaweed was past full prime. Below, in one of the first photographs I took, before I knew for sure what it was, you’ll get an idea of what I mean.

Depending on your frame of reference, you may or may not agree that these tufts look a bit spent. I later learned that Melanosiphon is an early season annual, so I decided to visit early in 2021 to see if I could catch its twisted tubes in fresher form. It turned out that between time and the tides, and the size of the surf, I wasn’t able to make a return visit ’til March 3, 2021, just a few days earlier in Melanosiphon‘s short season.

It wasn’t long before my curiosity was satisfied. Melanosiphon was more abundant than I remembered, but its twisted tubes were nearly as bedraggled and half-dead looking as they were at that first encounter. In the images below, you can be the judge.

Melanosiphon's twisted tubes on a semi-protected rock wall
Close up of Melanosiphon's tubular thallium.

A note about scale in these images: Melanosiphon‘s tubes are 1-2 mm in diameter and range from about the length of your pinky to twice that.

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