Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Beach finds, new and old

Rotting sugar wrack kelp, stranded on the sand at mid-tide:

From a distance, I thought it was a dead fish.

We brought home a bag full of goodies for my hermits and crab; two varieties of sea lettuce, fresh eelgrass, one of those delicate lacy red seaweeds, a long rope of bladder chain. All of it was coated thickly in hydroids and diatom fuzz; the hermits are in heaven!

As usual a fair number of animals came along for the ride. There are more hermits, one a pretty greenmark in berry, and a few speedsters, those very hairy hairies. Amphipods, of course, and copepods. Some skeleton shrimp, a dozen or so limpets on the eelgrass, and several species of snails. Worms; green and red, smooth and paddle-footed. Unidentifiable egg cases. The usual.

The "home" hermits that aren't climbing the eelgrass to stuff themselves with hydroids are busy cleaning diatoms and green algae off the shells of the newcomer hermits and snails. I won't need to feed them tomorrow.

And -- oh, the amazing surprises the shore always has for us -- out of the mess of leftover torn dark fuzz crawled a half-dozen baby nudibranchs, barely a few millimetres long! Story and photos tomorrow.

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