Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Wrinkly, puffy skin. Purple

I don't know why I took this photo of a sea star. She was in an awkward spot, wedged into a crack I could barely reach, and I was sure to find more, I thought. (I didn't; the tide caught me delving under stones and I had to rush away.)

I almost tossed the photo, but then I looked at it more closely.

Pisaster ochraceus. The arms are as usual; hard, knobbly skin. But around the central portion, the skin is puffy and either lined or ridged. (It helps to click for the full size photo.)

Zooming in on the original. I think those are curly ridges.

I'd never noticed skin like this on a sea star before. I looked up a bunch of my old photos; none of them are puffy. On the web, I found one with the wrinkles, a close-up of the skin taken in 2011. By the accompanying photos, I think it was somewhere on the Washington-BC coastline; the photographer doesn't say.

Now I find that I must head out again next low tide, carrying a hand lens to examine every sea star I can find.

By the way, while you're here, notice the unusual green wrists of the purple shore crab nestled beside the star.

(I've decided that I should really be recording the exact location of the intertidal critters I photograph; from one beach to the next, the communities are so different. This was taken almost exactly on the 50th parallel north.)

3 comments:

  1. Have you thought of joining iNaturalist? You can upload photos to your own page and pinpoint them to within a few metres using the map function. There are a lot of other advantages too. http://www.inaturalist.org/home

    ReplyDelete
  2. Actually, I joined iNaturalist some 8 years ago, but then didn't follow up. I was posting locations on the Flickr map, but a couple of years ago I gave up, mostly because of Laurie's illness.
    I've re-loaded iNaturalist tonight and added the latest sea star photos, to see how it all works. Maybe not as convenient as Flickr: I really like the batch function there, but the iNat community is more specialized.

    ReplyDelete

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