Although St. Martins does not seem to have any rockpools, the beach that was nearest to us (called ‘Lawrences’) has a stretch of rocks lying on the sand that can be turned over at low tide, and so we did! A nice find was a small Sevenarmed Starfish Luidia ciliaris (these can grow up to half a meter across, although you will not find them that size in rockpools). We also found a Bootlace Worm Lineus longissimus, which is (probably) the longest animal on the planet. These nermertean worms secrete a powerful toxin in their mucus, but luckily for us it affects arthropods and not mammals. They are not very rare btw, I see them here in Flushing and Falmouth too. It was about 5 meters long (without stretching it), but they can grow ten times the size of this! In the second photo you can see it in its natural habitat, under a rock, with some photobombing crabs and worm pipefish. Another cool find was a juvenile Conger Eel Conger conger. Otherwise we found the usual suspects, lots of crabs and a bunch of fish, see for a small selection below.
Low tides over the weekend, see the previous post for the trip on Saturday in Flushing. On Sunday the wind resulted in the water being swept up quite high on the shore unfortunately (the next very good tide I will make sure to check the wind a bit better, probably would have been a good idea to have gone to the north coast). Also the rain made swiping my iPhone very difficult and I was absolutely drenched. Luckily I had already taken a long lunch break on Friday when it was sunny! As I found a good number of species I will divide them up over two short posts instead of a very long one. In this post some species that have featured before, but that I now have taken better pictures of: a Shore clingfish (or Cornish sucker) Lepadogaster lepadogaster, a particularly purple Spiny starfish Marthasterias glacialis, a particularly orange Painted topshell Calliostoma zizyphinum as well as a close-up of the ‘normal’ colour variety, Blue-rayed limpets Helcion pellucidum, Seven-armed starfish Luidia ciliaris and a Bull huss (Nursehound shark) Scyliorhinus stellaris mermaids purse. Nice colours all around:
I have not done much with the aquarium recently. The algae are under control after reducing light levels and times. The Chrysymenia weed is growing everywhere and not looking too pretty. I will have to replace some rocks to get rid of them. My only fish is a Common goby Pomatoschistus microps, who eats bits of shrimp out of my hand. It also attacks Grey topshells when it is hungry. I would like to have have some Goldsinny wrasse and Mullet as they are beautiful and do not seem to fall prey to the Snakelocks anemones, but these species are difficult to catch. I will collect a couple of squat lobsters as they are very entertaining to watch. Ideally Spiny squat lobster Galathea strigosa, as they are among the most nicely coloured animals to be found here. They are not common in the intertidal, although they might be common subtidally (I noticed one in a picture I took of some Bispira volutacornis worms recently). The Goby with a full belly:So for now just a little inventory. Molluscs: Turban- Grey- and Purple topshells, a Sting winkle, Thicklipped- and Reticulated whelks and assorted Periwinkles. Crustaceans: Common prawns and Hermit crabs. Anemones: Beadlet-, Strawberry-, Plumose- and Snakelock anemones and a Red Speckled Anemone. Echinoderms: one Sea urchin, a bunch of Cushion stars, the odd Brittlestar and a nice Seven-armed starfish Luidia ciliaris that I recently found in a rock pool on Castle Beach. This species can grow up to 60 cms and hunts for other echinoderms, let’s see what happens!