It was a grocery run. For the aquarium, that is. I had gone to the shore to collect eelgrass and kelp for my critters in the tank.
(I found the slime mold on my way back through the woods.)
The waves were noisy, the tide coming in. All along the edge were lines of eelgrass, all torn, mostly without roots. I was looking for roots; planted eelgrass lasts longer in the tank. On the return, I walked along the upper tide line; here the debris was older, drier, but less mangled. I found the kelp. And a big knot of eelgrass, with lots of roots. Dry and dying, but more or less complete. It went in my bag, with a freshly-molted crab shell.
At home, I washed the crab shell and added it to the tank. Hermits and crabs immediately organized a party.
The kelp was next; washed, it went into the tank.
Then I untangled and washed the eelgrass, removing foreign material, such as fragments of plastic. (They're everywhere, these days.) I didn't plant the eelgrass, not wanting to disturb the crab-meat banquet yet. It floated on top of everything for a while.
An hour or so later, a bright green spot showed up on a bit of dark seaweed, like a fragment of eelgrass gone a-wandering.
|A zebra leafslug! About 1 cm. long. Phyllaplysia taylori.|
The zebras are related to the nudibranchs, the sea slugs. They are also known as sea hares, probably referring to the two tentacles on the front of the head. They are more like flaps of skin, folded so that they look like rabbit ears. Green spotted rabbit ears.
|Heading towards the green light.|
I've found these leafslugs twice before, both times in the same situation, in Boundary Bay; eelgrass abandoned on the shore. They often hide in eelgrass, where they match the colour and stripes, resting between two blades at the base of the plant. They both survived for some time in the tank. I'm hoping this guy manages to find himself a safe corner.
|Photo from 2014.|
The "zebra" part of his name refers to the stripes. Imagine a green, underwater zebra.