A Rock Crab, Blending In

It takes a measure of faith to claim you captured a candid crab shot. Their senses, the ones they share with us anyhow, are acute. They have great vision and usually see us before we see them. This intimate scene looks candid. Romaleon antennarium, the Pacific rock crab, has hairy legs and a creamy yellow…

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Dawn Breaks on a Crustacean Clash

Three minutes before sunrise, a seemingly peaceful scene, but beach hoppers were tussling on the drift line. On the beach, the driftline was littered with seaweed debris. With the sun not yet shining brightly, and the air warm with almost no breeze, beach hoppers were out and uninhibited. If you’ve never hung out with beach…

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Pollicipes, Magical in the Morning

Sunlight penetrates the mouth of an intertidal cave, illuminating the goose-neck barnacles within. The morning rays particularly light up hemoglobin in the barnacle’s blood. Lamb and Hanby (2005) make quite a deal about the glorious red blood of Nakwakto goose-necks from Slingsby Channel, British Columbia, Canada. The striking blood of Nakwaktos is visible, supposedly, because…

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Giant Barnacles, Balanus nubilus, Generous Intertidal Hosts

Balanus nubilus is the Pacific Northwest’s biggest intertidal barnacle. Large ones are about the size of a human fist. They’re big enough to add surface area to crowded intertidal rocks. As they grow, their shells become prime real estate. The giant barnacle in the image below hosts a diverse settlement. Which residents can you identify?…

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A Peek at Ligia pallasii, a Supralittoral Crevice Dweller

Peer into an inhabited crevice. Ligia will give you a peek- dim and incomplete, but intimate. You could stare for hours. Instead, you disrupt the stillness, and the peek is over. I’ve learned a few things from my impatience with crevice-dwelling Ligia. They’re not solitary. Many more than I expect scuttle away from an intruding…

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Security for Granular Claw Crabs

Security for granular claw crabs, Oedignathus inermis, is an abandoned barnacle shell. They have to locate protection because their soft-shelled abdomens are vulnerable and nutritious. The specific epithet, inermis, means unarmed. Some people call O. inermis soft-bellied crabs. They are much sought by predators. Seeing more than the pinching claw, which serves to block and camouflage the…

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Beach Hoppers Rejoice Over Drift Macrophytes

A foggy morning with low visibility and muted colors and sounds. Under these conditions you’ll find more action down at your feet than off in the distance. On this morning the air was still and warm. Sunrise added little more than glare and from the foredune the atmosphere was as oppressive as the view was…

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Dosima fascicularis, A Pelagic Barnacle, Builds its Own Float

My first in-person encounter with buoy barnacles, Dosima fascicularis, came just a few days ago on March 26, 2016. People call them buoy barnacles or own-float goose barnacles. The names make sense because D. fascicularis can produce a foamy gas-filled float, alleviating the need to hitch-hike. The color, according to photos I’ve seen, varies from creamy…

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Alloniscus of the Backshore

You can count on the backshore to get short changed by us intertidal types. Perched just above the reach of tide, it’s a little bench of sand between beach and foredune. Physical forces at play on the backshore set it apart from other exposed outer coast habitats. Sandy shorelines don’t generate much spray, so there’s…

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The Pale Beach Hopper, Megalorchestia columbiana

It’s fall and outer coast beach hoppers rejoice. Algal drift washes ashore and hoppers are abundant and active in the drift line. There is a lot of hopper activity on, around, and under all the wave-deposited treasures. You can see abundant shows around this sea lettuce, and even more under the edges. Beach hoppers aren’t…

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