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What Will You Find in a Southern California Tide Pool?

Posted by Jody on October 28, 2011

Question: What will you find in a Southern California tide pool? Answer: An amazing variety of marine life!

The Orange County Marine Protected Area Council compiled a list of tide pool organisms and helpful descriptive information for what tidepoolers might find along California’s captivating Pacific Coast. Here are some examples of common Southern California tide pool creatures and a portion of their descriptions from the O.C. Marine Protection website.

Black Turban Snails (Steve Lonhart (SIMoN/MBNMS)/Wikimedia Commons)

Sea Urchin “The sea urchin is a slow moving animal with an obvious appearance. It is covered with hundreds of sharp spines that serve as an adaptation to discourage many potential predators.”

Sea Star “Sea stars are often found in the harshest intertidal environment: among the rocks,ocean currents, pounding waves and tidal surge.” 

Sea Anemone “The sea anemone adapts to its tidepool environment by disguising itself as a harmless flower or plant, similar in color and appearance to other marine plants.”

“Mussel Bed”, California Mussels (Pfoto by Tewy/Wikimedia Commons)

Hermit Crab “Hermit crabs are different than most crabs because they have a soft body and no shell of their own. They live in abandoned black turban and striped dog winkle shells which is why shells should not be collected anywhere along California’s coastline.”

Opaleye fingerlings “When young, opaleye live in tidepools and can actually breathe air when the tidepool is exposed during a low tide.”

Octopus “Octopi are carnivores and they eat a variety of crabs, shellfish and small swimming fish. …They can change their shape and color patterns within seconds to match the surrounding environment.”

What fun!  You could print out this handy list, complete with illustrations, check off the tide pool sea critters as you spot them and learn more about each one.   This family friendly game is strictly “Finders… NOT Keepers.”  (see “Tide Pool Etiquette 101.”)

Exploring a Southern Caifornia tide pool:  Mother Nature’s best scavenger hunt!

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4 Responses to “What Will You Find in a Southern California Tide Pool?”

  1. That’s a very handy ‘handy list’! Is it open source, i.e. could I ‘borrow’ it for my site, duly credited? If so, to OcMarine… etc with a heads-up for you? RH

  2. Southern Califronians?????
    LOL!

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