I’ve assembled photos of a few fun shoreside discoveries from the past three months.
On the left, two snails evoke a sense of intimacy with their freshly laid egg capsules. Similarly, on the right, I felt like I intruded a little on the paintbrush presiding over the cobbles.
The snails are channeled dogwinkes from the mid intertidal, and the paintbrush perched up above the cobbles; well, I’m not sure which one it is because there are choices, but it’s Castilleja. I might have missed it if I hadn’t scrambled up to the base of its home cliff for shelter from a passing shower. I’m grateful for the space we shared.
Down in the low intertidal zone, two large mussels sit apart, away from and lower than the main bed. I’m curious about the rosette of youngsters on the lower one. Then, on the right, a wall of coralline diversity.
Baby mussels arrive in the plankton. So what about isolated mussels makes them attractive landings? Among the corallines on the red wall, the most prominent is grayish pink and always lovely Corallina.
Somebody’s doing the work to ensure you know it’s a striped dogwinkle.
The snails in this high intertidal scene are striped dogwinkles, except for two channeled dogwinkles at the upper right. Dogwinkles look so peaceful it’s easy to forget they are predators.
Low intertidal, subtidal, and cave-dwelling gooseneck or leaf barnacles display a stunning red. However, protective pigments in mid intertidal goosenecks hide their red. In Pollicipes, Magical in the Morning, I show a pretty red gooseneck cluster from a cave and hint at the explanation for the color.
The barnacles on the left are an isolated low intertidal patch nestled among Laminaria sinclairii stipes. On the right, mid intertidal goosenecks get more sun exposure.
It’s unusual to see more than a portion of a granular claw crab claw. Granular claws hide their vulnerable bodies in tight crevices and old giant barnacle shells where they close the opening with their formidable right pinching claw. Even so, gulls find them when the tide is low and take them. I display a wall of beauteous browns on the right to lift the spirit.
An interesting note about granular claw crabs is they tend to occur in pairs. You can see part of the right pinching claw of a second individual at the lower left. The brown wall is dominated by Laminaria sinclairii (thin stipes), Laminaria setchellii (thick stipes), and across the top, Hedophyllum sessile. Also appearing in this low intertidal scene, along the left-hand edge, is the leafy yellowish brown bryozoan, Flustrellidra.
A lush green tangle carpets a wet wall in the spray zone. I include a 29-second video with additional context on the wall and its carpet; for a sense of being there, click here. On the right, the morning sun lights up low intertidal anemones.
Ulva intestinalis appreciates freshwater, so it’s found on rock walls with seeps, as seen here, and in high tidepools with freshwater inflow. The gorgeous anemones are giant greens, Anthopleura xanthogrammica.
What’s more satisfying than a perfect molt? Summer’s the time for it.
It’s not hard to imagine the former occupant, a Dungeness crab, stepping out of its old shell and leaving it to the tides.
Taking a “cue” from Calianax. (On a mobile phone, this set of images, as I intended it to be seen, doesn’t translate very well unless you turn your phone sideways.)
Purple olives C. biplicata have a lot to say, and they write it all down on low intertidal beach sand.
Worm rock, on the left, is a favorite beachcombing find. On the right is the active living worm rock.
Worm rock collected from sea wrack is also known as fission worm rock or false brain coral. I think the colonial worm Dodecaceria fewkesi is responsible here. I wrote about their work in Construction on the Coast.
I took the header image for this post on June 16, 2022, when a morning shower threatened (and ultimately followed through).