Quiet Moments From the High Intertidal

Among invertebrate inhabitants of the high intertidal, activity, for some, grinds to a halt when things dry out. Clamped down against a vertical wall with shells for protection, waiting out low tide won’t challenge these limpets and barnacles. It doesn’t hurt that they’ve settled on the shady side. A periwinkle made it just so far…

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Tonicella lineata’s Fine Lines

When I show images of chitons I always want to ask, “do you know which way the head is pointing?” Today I’ll refrain because I want to talk about the fine lines of Tonicella lineata. Just about everybody knows T. lineata as the lined chiton. The wavy bluish-white lines on the shell are eye-catching and…

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A Dogwinkle’s Aggregation

Renewal in Nucella canaliculata calls for a crowd. Winter and spring aggregations of channeled dogwinkles, that’s their common name, copulate and lay eggs over a several week period. In the finale, females deposit eggs in straw-colored vase-like cases. I took the photo above on April 19, 2018. If I am interpreting it correctly, the cases,…

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Boring Clams Lend an Otherworldly Appearance to a Miocene Shelf

An alluvial miocene formation shaped by changing sea levels, wave action, and boring clams has an otherworldly appearance. The seaward part of the headland, in the foreground, is Angora Peak sandstone. Composed of well-cemented particles, this resistant shelf once hosted a multitude of boring clams. You can still see shells in some of the the…

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Sitting it Out

Settled on a vertical face in the highest intertidal, Lottia digitalis sits out low tide clamped down tight. With the surf pounding just below, there is silence in these shells. Note to arachnophiles: While preparing this post I noticed a red speck on the shell of the middle limpet. That’s a red spider mite (Neomolgus…

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Flickr Picked My Photo for Its World Oceans Day 2017 Gallery!

Flickr just told me they picked my photo for their World Oceans Day 2017 Gallery! This photo previously appeared in Solving the Connection Conundrum in the Rocky Intertidal, September 6, 2015. World Oceans Day 2017 is Thursday, June 8. Celebrate our oceans by enjoying Flickr’s World Oceans Day 2017 Gallery.

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Perched Atop Pollicipes, Lottia digitalis is a Work of Camouflage

In the image below, barnacles cloak a vertical wall rising above a sand filled tide pool. You’ll encounter scenes like this on exposed coastlines around the world, wherever there is a rocky intertidal. Here, the barnacles are goose barnacles, Pollicipes polymerus. Look for them where surf crashes against jutting rocks and headlands. Take a closer…

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Have I Shown You My Chondrophore Collection?

Did you know beach combers collect sand-polished clam condrophores? Chondrophores are internal spoon- or tooth-shaped projections of the shell in some bivalves. Gaper clams (Tresus) are known for their large attractive spoon-shaped chondrophores. A point of attachment for the internal ligament in live gapers, we seek them out on sandy beaches, long after their usefulness…

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Coming Full Circle with Hermissenda crassicornis

Last winter I made the decision to get in touch with nudibranchs. I decided one of the easiest for me to find might be the little red one known as Rostanga pulchra. They feed on a common encrusting red sponge, so all I needed to do was find the prey, and the predator shouldn’t be…

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Getting to Know Gapers

Everybody loves collecting seashells on the beach and I’ve collected a few myself. Sandy beaches are great for finding beautiful shells because scouring sands keep them clean and round off jagged edges. Currents transport shells long distances from their home waters, so you never know what you’re going to find. I wrote about this in…

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