One Photo Two Ways: Ahnfeltiopsis and Phaeostrophion

Perspective is everything, so I’m taking this opportunity to show off two common Pacific seaweeds two ways. Both seaweeds favor sand-scoured settings on the open coast. A minus tide is not required to find them, but it helps, especially if you want to enjoy their charms at eye level. As suggested by the habitat description, you’ll see sand in all the photos, and if they came with sound, you’d hear the boom of surf in the background. The first pair of photos show two morning takes on a clump of Ahnfeltiopsis, probably A. linearis, a photogenic red seaweed.

Trying to be a bit artsy

Backlit blade tips do a lot of work here

Below, just a few minutes later, Phaeostrophion irregulare, a not particularly photogenic brown seaweed. (At least that’s how it’s always struck me.)

Phaeostrophion sharing space with Plocamium (red, foreground) and Ahnfeltiopsis peeking out of the sand (rear)

Getting low and tilting the camera up slightly made a difference

Notes: One of the many joys of the intertidal, especially if you like a puzzle, is the challenge of identifications. Phaeostrophion and Petalonia can look a lot alike. I think I’ve identified Phaeostrophion correctly here, mainly on the grounds of habitat, but if someone wants to argue for Petalonia, I’m open to it.

All of the scenes shared in this post are from April 27, 2021, just after sunrise— it was a very low tide.

One Photo Two Ways


  1. Well Steve, I hope the “not-particularly-photogenic” seaweed didn’t take offense 😊. Always interesting to see how tide and light change the texture of all things sea. Well done.

    1. I think I can speak for Phaeostrophion and say, no offense taken. You can’t ignore the facts, good photos of it are few and far between. Thanks for a good challenge!

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