Monday, September 05, 2016

Eelgrass flower garden

I brought home a couple of handfuls of hydroid infested eelgrass, to the great delight of my hermit crabs. They have been working on cleaning it off all day, feasting on hydroids and budding red algae.

Luckily, a blade drifted close enough to the glass before the goodies were all gone.

Hydroid feeding polyps, Obelia sp., along the edge of a blade of eelgrass.

The tiny button top is a young polyp.

Garden on the top of a blade, with red algae edging.

I looked for reproductive polyps, like little goblets, and without tentacles, but didn't find any, possibly because these are all young colonies; single stalks with sometimes one or two branches. (Photo of older colonies here.) If there are still any left tomorrow, I'll look again.*

Two small hermits on a blade of eelgrass, to show the relative size of the hydroids. The eelgrass blade is 1/4 inch wide.

*Update: In the morning, all the eelgrass was clean. The hermits had been working all night.

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