We've been combing the rocks around the Kwomais Point headland, but recently even the afternoon low tide has been high. (Today's tide levels at White Rock: 5:12 PM - 3.7 m, 8:49 PM - 3.4 m, 1:38 AM - 4.1 m. Only the morning tide is low: 9:53 AM - 0.4.) And we've found several things I'd never seen before.
Laurie has been looking at seaweeds. I never knew there were so many types!
I've been comparing our photos to the ones I found on a great ID site, WSU Beach Watchers EZ-ID Guides. I've been able to identify some, but not all of the seaweeds we found. I'm still searching for the most intriguing of them all, which I'll post about in a day or two.
Green algae on the lower edge of a wet rock. And a limpet to feed on them.
And I, being in a mood for rockclimbing (of sorts), have kept more to the splash zone. And lookee here!
A tidepool, just below the highest tide line. Nothing much in it but barnacles and mussels. But while I watched, something moved.
Zooming in. See that red beastie? He was moving fast; in a couple of seconds he had scuttled out of site.
He's a Neomulgus littoralis, a red velvet mite. BeachWatchers says,
This little arachnid is only about 3 mm in diameter or about the size of a period at the end of a line of newsprint. It is found on driftwood or rocks high in the intertidal where it looks like a tiny bright red dot and may be stationary or scurrying along the surface. These little mites feed by sucking the fluids out of kelp flies.The three I found were scurrying.
I found a great photo of these on BugGuide. "Racing", the photographer says. Except for these two. A lucky shot.
And just a bit higher on the rocks, on a bare, dry boulder, I saw what looked like a giant pillbug. Except that it was running far faster than any pillbug I had seen. I jumped up to another rock, how I don't know (Laurie had to help me down later), to get a photo. Too late; he had disappeared down a crevice. I watched that crack for about ten minutes, barely moving, in case he reappeared. Nothing doing, although I did get another distant shot at a red velvet mite on a dry rock.
I found the isopod on BeachWatchers, though. He's a Ligia pallasii, the sea slater, or rock louse.
RaceRocks has a video of these creatures, including a shot of a cute one trying to escape the weighing station.
Both these sites are copyrighted, so I can't borrow a photo; you'll have to go see for yourself.
Next: the seaweeds.