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.

Special Moments


    1. The close up photography does bring out the beauty, and for me, a bit of a mysterious quality. From any distance they are easy to miss altogether or pass of as an unidentifiable dying tuft. Thanks! And very cool you took the time to notice and mention their beauty.

  1. Well Steve, I expect we’ll see many different variations on the theme this week but I daresay yours will be the only one about meeting melanosiphon! It does indeed look like spent seaweed – and I expect only someone of your background would find it to be something to invite ones lens 😀. The joy of discovery, however, is universal and it comes across perfectly in your post.

    1. Tina, if anyone’s going to pick up on my enthusiasm it’s going to be you. Thanks for confirming I can communicate joy! And thanks for an inspiring challenge.

    1. You might have passed it by, Margaret. You’ve got a good eye, though. And, like I said in my post, I missed it myself, several times. So if you did pass it by, you’d have company.

    1. I know! I was so hoping to see the freshly growing tubes. I still don’t know if these are as good as they get or if I have to make an even earlier visit. I’ll sit with the mystery a while, eh?

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