Saturday, January 31, 2015

HItchhiking worms

I made a quick trip to the beach to collect seaweeds for my critters. I chose the upper end of Boundary Bay, where the sand is muddier and wormier; as I waded along in an inch of water as the tide receded, worms kept spitting at me just before my shadow touched their holes. I think they are more sensitive to the vibration my footsteps made than to the change in light. (Barnacles notice the shadow first.)

In an hour of wading, I found only eelgrass, and not much of that, on this end of the Bay at mid-tide. But each blade of eelgrass had at least one limpet crawling on it. And the limpets were carrying their own burdens:

One tiny limpet, 7 busy spiral tubeworms, Spirorbis spirorbis

Another limpet, with 10 tubeworms.

The limpets don't seem to be bothered by the excess weight of tubeworms, probably more than the weight of the limpet itself. In a way, they may actually benefit the limpet, protecting it from attack by hungry crabs that content themselves with picking the worms out of the tubes instead of trying to crush the limpet. After a day in my tank, most of the worms are gone; the hermit crabs have harvested them.

What else I found in the muddy sand, tomorrow.

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