Monday, May 17, 2010

Soggy sunflower

We caught the lowest tide I've seen yet this year, at -2 ft., in Semiahmoo Bay, and managed to walk almost all the way to the border marker in the channel there.

Down at the very edge, we found this sunflower sea star:

It's the first one I've seen for many, many years. They used to hang around under our dock up on Vancouver Island, and sometimes had over twenty arms and were close to a couple of feet across. We kids would tease them with ropes until they grabbed one, then we'd haul them to the surface. They always let go the instant they hit air, and sunk slowly to the bottom again. Even in the water, and not fighting us like the fish did, they were heavy.

This is a young one, with 15 arms, and about 8 inches across. (They start off with five arms and add more as they mature.)

It was still alive, but looked pretty miserable, all sagged into the eelgrass. Their bodies are so soft that they need the support of water. It wouldn't be out of the water for long, though; the tide was due to turn and the waves were a couple of steps away.

1 comment:

  1. Okay, you got me. I was expecting a sunflower PLANT, drowned in the ocean! Snicker. I remember seeing these many-armed sunflowers in the ocean when I was a kid - we just didn't know what they were called!


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