Friday, June 11, 2010

Blue tapioca and leathery stars

We couldn't have planned it better if we'd been paying attention; all this week and the beginning of next week, the tides will be really low every morning. It poured rain yesterday, and rained enough this morning to make us postpone our beachcombing, but the sun came out after supper today; tomorrow should be good.

The rain gave me a chance to sort through the photos we've already taken. Here are a handful of the animals we found on our beach Tuesday morning, many old friends, but some new critters that I haven't been able to identify yet, partly because I foolishly left my books at home.

Starfish, pink and purple. Some were orange, too.

Leather star. A hungry carnivore.

A small sea urchin, very much alive, waving its spines about. A reddish test, creamy spines.

A barnacled oyster, welded to the rock. There are many like this. The shells seem to melt into and around the rock.

A large green isopod. And look; towards the head, there is a tiny greyish-white fly. The drying seaweeds on the rocks were covered with these flies.

We've been trying to identify this six-inch fish we found under a rock in a tidepool. It's a purplish red, has pale blotches along the back, some design on the head, and a reddish tailfin.

 The underside of the head end, showing white markings on the face, and tiny pectoral fins.

Blue floater, a foot underwater.

We were wading, knee-deep at the bottom of the intertidal zone, when we saw this blue blob floating among the seaweeds. I caught it, touching it carefully first, in case it stung. It didn't, so I took it out of the water.

Blue tapioca jelly.

It felt like cold tapioca pudding; soft and cool, but it held its shape, even when I poked it gently. It didn't move, and I couldn't see any structure to it beyond the pearl-tapioca cells. When I put it back in the water, it sunk a few inches and floated away.

I have no idea even where to start looking for this one. Could it be a sponge? Or a piece of something else?

And I'll leave the assorted crabs, anemones and seaweeds, and an entertaining heron for another day.


  1. Definitely no expert, but I'd think your fishy is a blenny? Unfortunately, most of our ID books are still over on the Mainland too (we're halfway between households, migrating here to the Island, but very slowly).

    I think your tapioca is someone's egg mass. It's the right time of year, and sounds like the right kind of consistency.

    Your trip sounds wonderful, and looks like you're getting a lot better weather than we are further south on the Island (lucky you!!).

  2. Wow, you have indeed been busy! I am green with envy at your low tide frolicking.

    I notice on your Kelp-encrusting bryozoan shot that the one in the center is shaped like a heart!

    I have been posting Guest Heart Thursday on my Random Hearts blog ... and I would like to include this one, if you don't mind!

    I won't include it without your permission!

  3. Amie,

    An egg mass sounds right. Except ... blue eggs? The sea is full of surprises.

    I'm looking up blennies. There are tons, and all different. Maybe I'll find this one.


    Sure, you're welcome to post these bryozoans.

    (If you're green with envy now, just wait until I've posted today's finds!)

  4. Thanks for posting. Can't afford a vacation this year and your blog is the next best thing to being there. Wonderful pictures!

  5. Oooooh Thanks! I must go to get some really good makeup then, to cover all that green I'm going to be! I can't wait!

  6. No idea about the blob, but my guess for the fish is Crescent Gunnel. Great stuff.


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