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Posts Tagged ‘tide pool animals’

Travel Theme: Animals – Tidepooling in Bandon, Oregon

Posted by Greg on October 10, 2012

This way to the beach! Sunset in Bandon, Oregon

Jody and I just returned from the Oregon coast where we did two of my favorite things: exploring tidepools and seeing the grandkids (more on that soon)! The best tidepools we were able to visit close to low tide were in Bandon, a small sea coast town in southwestern Oregon, about 90 miles north of the California boarder. We stayed at a nice motel right at the beach on Coquille Point,  where we,  in shorts and water sandals, were able to head right down the stairs to investigate the beach. The late evening air and cold ocean water combined to create a numbing effect. Boy, did we freeze our fingers and toes! We were undeterred, though. The landscape was amazing, and the amount of life in the tidepools was impressive.

Take a closer look! Do you see the sea stars already?

These were the brightest green sea anemones I had ever seen. It looked like the sea stars enjoyed the real estate around the anemones, because large quantities had settled in between them. I was like a kid in a candy store! There were caves and passages in and through the huge rocks, and they were all full of tidepool animals.

We hope you enjoy these photos as much as we enjoyed taking them!

Go ahead, get even closer!

You’ll have to get your feet wet here.

Bandon’s tidepools and rocks are teeming with colorful marine life!

Sea stars, sea anemones, mussels and barnacles in Bandon’s tide pools.

Colorful sea stars and sea anemones on Bandon’s beach.

How many sea stars?

Sea Anemones

Fellow tidepoolers enjoying a sea star supper in Bandon, Oregon.

A farewell salute from a Bandon local.

Bandon, Oregon

If you would like to read more about tide pools and tide pool animals, here are a few related posts:

Tidepool Etiquette 101 

Starfish or Sea Star?

Southern California Sea Anemones

A Visit to the Tide Pools at Cabrillo National Monument

What Will You Find in a Southern California Tide Pool?

This week’s “Travel Theme: Animals” comes from Ailsa at Where’s My Backpack?

*Another tag-team post by Greg and Jody*


Posted in Beach and Coastal Wildlife, Pacific Coast Beaches, Tide Pools | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 28 Comments »

Meet me over by the Sea Monster!

Posted by Jody on August 31, 2012

We’re feeling pretty special around here! Seapunk2 sent along one more photo to include with our reblog.  Along with the discovery of colorful sea stars, a sunflower sea star, and sea anemones, her daughter also found  a “sea pork” (tunicate). Various species of tunicates are commonly referred to as sea pork or sea squirts.

This is a wonderful post! We just had to share it. Thank you for today’s reblog, Darylann!


On a spur of the moment hike to a secluded, difficult to reach area of beach brought a fine surprise.  One can only get here by hiking Endert’s Trail, which isn’t particulary appealing, except for the few views over the bluffs, and down to the beach to a hidden area over slick rocks, moving sand and water.  My eagle eyes caught a glimpse of violet color in the sandy, rocky sea floor, and I dared not move.

My girl brought her camera, so I called her over and kept the purple sea creature in my mind’s eye.  We waited for the waves and sand that moved over the creature to move low enough so we could catch just one more glimpse.

My finger pointed to the spot where she was to click on cue. I watched the waves ahead, I noted a possible break! Still pointing, I said, “Wait… …

View original post 223 more words

Posted in Friday Finds, Northern California Beaches, Tide Pools | Tagged: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Good and Plenty! ~ Black Tegulas ~

Posted by Jody on March 29, 2012

Black Tegulas (Tegula funebralis) are extremely common finds along the Pacific coast of the United States.  Also known as Black Turbans, they live along the shoreline and rocks of the upper and middle intertidal zones from Vancouver Island, British Columbia to the central Baja California peninsula. These little beauties are often found packed tightly into neat and tidy clusters on rocky surfaces and in crevices.

Black Tegulas in a Cluster

A beautiful deep purple-black, the Black Tegula has a sturdy, top shaped shell.  The very tip, or apex, of the shell is usually worn away, revealing a pretty, pearly white layer just beneath the outer smooth, black surface. The inside of the shell is also a pearlescent white. Members of the Top Shell Family (Trochidae), Black Tegulas are herbivores, feeding on seaweed and algae. These plentiful marine snails grow to ¾” – 1 ¾” high.

Black Tegulas -Tegula funebralis- pictured with anemones in upper intertidal zone.

Black Tegulas are an especially fun discovery in their typical tide pool environment.  Get close, be patient, and watch carefully. What is really living in those shells? Are you actually seeing legs?  Could be! You’ll surely discover that some of these strong, solid shells have become comfortable (and, extremely affordable) housing for hermit crabs!

Picking up vacated Black Tegulas on the beach is the best way to collect these rugged, beautifully colored seashells.  As beach treasures, they are the perfect addition to any beachcomber’s treasure trove!

Have a great day at the beach!


Posted in Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Pacific Coast Beaches, Seashells, Tide Pools | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Intertidal Intelligence

Posted by Greg on March 14, 2012

Tag-Team Post by Greg and Alaina

An East Pacific Red Octopus, Octopus rubescens, found near Whidbey Island, WA (Taollan82/Wikipedia)

The octopus: a creature of the deep. It’s just as likely to sink your sub (or was that a giant squid?) as it is to accurately predict the World Cup. What on earth does this have to do with the beach? Well, it just happens to be the smartest of the potential tide pool dwellers! Although we’ve never spotted one, it can be done! The Red Octopus (also East Pacific Red Octopus, Octopus rubescens) is the most commonly occurring shallow-water octopus on much of the North American Pacific Coast.  NOAA’s website states that they can be found from Alaska to Baja California.

According to the Marine Science site, “Extremely shy by nature, octopods are a delightful tidepool find. They generally hide so it is only the most watchful and observant tidepooler that usually discovers this interesting animal.”  The last time we were tidepooling in Northern California, we weren’t able to explore during a minus tide. That’s the best time to spot this rarer find.

Photo by Mila Zincova (Wikimedia Commons)

Octopuses will stroll over the rocks between pools to get food or to flee predators (or camera buffs) as pictured above. If you would like, you can watch one on Youtube fleeing a photographer (although it isn’t a red octopus). Since we rarely see them in action on dry land, it’s pretty cool stuff!

These squishy heebie-jeebie inducing critters are remarkably intelligent. In fact, they are known to be the most intelligent invertebrate, even having individual personalities. Octopuses have good long and short term memory and are even trainable; scientists have found octopuses can be trained to recognize different shaped and sized objects.

Octopuses are also sensitive creatures, so please follow tide pool etiquette when observing them! That, and they fight back: “If you find an octopus in a tide pool, you need to be careful with it. They have a sharp beak that can cut through plastic bags (and fingers). They can also spit poisonous juices at you” (NOAA).

Let us know if you spot one! We’d love to share your photos.

Posted in Beach and Coastal Wildlife, Sand and Shoreline, Tide Pools | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

A Visit to the Tide Pools at Cabrillo National Monument, San Diego, California

Posted by Jody on February 22, 2012

Tide Pools at Cabrillo National Monument, San Diego, California

By now, you may have noticed that Greg and I really enjoy going tidepooling! Not long ago, we had the pleasure of visiting the tide pools at Cabrillo National Monument, located at the southern tip of the Point Loma Peninsula (just west of San Diego). This park is an exceptional place to see tide pools chock-full of marine life. We were not so fortunate as to see an octopus or sea stars this time around, though. That would have taken a much lower tide level, and our December morning visit just happened to fall during a higher tide. If you have the luxury of time, check out the tide prediction charts provided by the Park Service (courtesy of  Scripps Institution of Oceanography).  Tide pooling, like beachcombing, has advantages if you can plan to explore at the lowest possible water level.

Gooseneck Barnacles, Tide Pools at Cabrillo National Monument, California

Look Closer! Tide Pools at Cabrillo National Monument, California

Still, even at high tide, if you look close enough and take the time to really peer into even the littlest pools, you’ll see limpets, top snails, chitons, barnacles, and hermit crabs.  Striped shore crabs, aggregate anemones and beautiful green-blue solitary anemones are also plentiful here in the high and middle intertidal zones.

A Closer Look. Tide Pool Chitons, Limpets,Top Snails, and Marine Plants

Do yourself a favor and study up a little bit before taking a trip to the tide pools. A good book on intertidal marine life will serve you well! I’ve seen people just glance around and leave, thinking there’s nothing to see. That’s a shame! Greg and I have always been amazed at what really is living in those puddles of sea water!

Solitary Anemones, Tide Pools at Cabrillo National Monument

If you are planning a trip to the area, be sure to have a look at the Cabrillo National Monument website for Tidepooling Tips and Rules to Protect the Tidepools. Keeping in mind that tide pools are home to an abundance of marine life, the National Park Service tells us: “For all present and future visitors to experience and enjoy the healthy and diverse tidepools at Cabrillo National Monument, guidelines are needed to minimize the impacts on organisms from the high levels of visitation.  The overriding consideration is the preservation of tidepool organisms, so no plant or animal should ever be disturbed if there is a possibility of injury.  These organisms are best enjoyed in their natural state, so the best policy is to simply observe them where they are.”

We’d sure love to hear about your favorite tidepooling spot! Please feel free to post a comment, or consider submitting a Guest Post. Happy Tidepooling!


Posted in Beach and Coastal Wildlife, Tide Pools | Tagged: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Southern California’s Sea Anemones

Posted by Greg on December 21, 2011

Starburst (or Sunburst) Solitary Anemone in a Tide Pool (Photo ©Jody Diehl)

Jody and I had the good fortune of vacationing in San Diego, California recently. While there, we went tide pool exploring at Cabrillo National Monument and along the beaches in La Jolla. Tidepooling was one of the highlights of our trip. The tide pools were teaming with life. We haven’t, in the past, recognized all of the small animals in them. You have to look closely, with some knowledge of what you are looking for, so it helps to do a little research before you head out to explore tide pools.

There are two different types of  sea anemones in Southern California’s coastal tide pools: solitary and aggregate. In the wonderful book, Life Between the Tides by Jeffery L. Brandon & Frank J. Rokop, it says that “the largest of southern California’s anemones is the Solitary Anemone, reaching a diameter of up to 10 inches with it’s tentacles extended, and a column height of nearly 1 foot.”  This variety, when found in a Southern California tide pool, is usually only 3 to 5 inches wide, though.  The Solitary Anemones we spotted were a beautiful green-blue color.

The name Aggregate Anemones  comes from the fact that they clone. That is, they divide in two making two separate animals. As they do this over years, they form a cluster which is called an aggregate.  A Solitary Anemone is one that does not clone.  Thus they appear solitary.

According to National Geographic, sea anemones‘ “bodies are composed of an adhesive pedal disc, or foot, a cylindrical body, and an array of tentacles surrounding a central mouth. The tentacles are triggered by the slightest touch, firing a harpoon-like filament into their victim and injecting a paralyzing neurotoxin. The helpless prey is then guided into the mouth by the tentacles.”

Aggregate Anemones with Black Tegula Snails in a Tide Pool (Photo ©Jody Diehl)

There are more than 1,000 sea anemone species found throughout the world’s oceans at various depths, although the largest and most varied occur in coastal tropical waters. They run the full spectrum of colors and can be as small as half an inch (1.25 centimeters) or as large as 6 feet (1.8 meters) across.”

If you take a close look at the photo on the right, you will see Black Tegula snails nestled in with aggregate anemones. The black tegula snails like to feed on the kelp, algae and seaweed that wash into the tide pools.

We’re looking forward to finding the many different colors and shapes of sea anemones, as we travel and explore beaches and tide pools. If you have tide pool finds you would like to share, check out our submissions page, or leave a comment. We would love to hear about them! Also, if you’re a FaceBook user, we’d love it if you Liked us on FaceBook.

Posted in Beach and Coastal Wildlife, Southern California Beaches, Tide Pools | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Camino De La Costa – An Unexpected Tide Pool on the San Diego Coast (California)

Posted by Jody on December 9, 2011

Last week, Greg and I  headed to sunny Southern California to explore the sometimes rocky, sometimes sandy coast of San Diego. With 70 miles of San Diego County coastline to choose from, we decided the Village of La Jolla would be a great place to begin an “explore.”  From there, we headed south to Pacific Beach, home of the landmark Crystal Pier.  We figured that the best way to really experience what this diverse section of the Pacific coast has to offer is to do so on foot.  Passing by many of the well-known beaches and surfing areas, we enjoyed the ever-changing  ups and downs of the coastline.  We descended well placed stairs, walked along sandy beaches, and just plain scrambled over and across the rocks and ledges that form the coast of this beautiful area of the Golden State.

Camino De La Costa Stairway (©Jody Diehl)

While meandering between La Jolla Cove and Pacific Beach, we found ourselves on a sidewalk that paralleled a more jagged section of the shore. That’s where Greg and I found a wonderful little tide pool area! Clearly others had been there before.  After all, there was a stairway.  Had we been driving along La Jolla Boulevard between the most popular beaches, we never would have seen this beautiful spot just a couple of blocks off the major thoroughfare. We never would have known what we were missing!

Camino De La Costa Rockpools (©Jody Diehl)

This peaceful little tide pool site, jutting into the Pacific Ocean, was teeming with marine life.

Camino De La Costa Rockpools (©Jody Diehl)

Although we are nowhere near expert in intertidal habitats and their residents, we could identify various limpets, chitons, top snails and periwinkles in the Camino De La Costa tide pools. If you zoom in on the photo you may be able to identify so much more!  It’s really amazing how much life exists in such small rock pools of seawater.  Please let us know what you find!

~If you do not expect the unexpected you will not find it, for it is not to be reached by search or trail.~ Heraclitus

Posted in Beach and Coastal Wildlife, Friday Finds, Sand and Shoreline, Southern California Beaches, Tide Pools | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Sea Urchins: Spiny Shelled Sea Spheres

Posted by Greg on December 7, 2011

Purple Sea Urchin. Photo by Janek Pfeifer (Wikimedia Commons)

Just try to say that three times fast!

While I was doing the article on sea stars, my sources referenced sea urchins and sand dollars as related animals (echinoderm). Since I have sand dollar and sea star articles, it follows I should complete the set.  As with the first two, urchins are varied and beautiful in shape and color. According to the Tree of Life web project,  “sea urchins are sea creatures that live in oceans all over the world.  Similar to sea stars, sea urchins have a water vascular system. Their spherical shape is typically small, ranging from about 3 cm to 10 cm in diameter, and their bodies are covered with a spiny shell. The skeleton of a sea urchin is also known as the test. The shells within the test of these creatures are made up of packed, fitted plates which protect them from being damaged.  As for the spines outlining their shell, these are movable and help the sea urchin to camouflage or protect itself from predators. Sea urchins can vary greatly in colour.  Some of the most frequently seen colours are black, red, brown, purple and light pink.  On the bottom side of a sea urchin there are five teeth that these organisms use to ingest algae and break down other foods they consume to survive. These five teeth continually grow throughout the sea urchin’s life.  On the outside of their body, they also have hundreds of transparent tubes that emerge which allow them to stick to the bottom of the ocean or to move at a very slow pace.  These unusual tubes are called ‘tube feet.’  Their tube feet are much longer than the spines outlining their shells and they are also used by the sea urchin to trap food and in respiration.”

Two Urchins in a Coral Reef off the Coast of Kona, Hawaii. Photo by Mila Zinkova (Wikimedia Commons)

Sea urchins are found worldwide in both warm and cold ocean environments.  E.G.D. tells me she often saw them clinging to coral reefs and to crevices in rocks when she went snorkeling off the coast of Oahu. The Tree of Life web project article referenced above mentions that they also live in rock pools, kelp forests and sea grass beds and that they like to “lodge themselves half way into the surface of sand, mud or holes.”  They are able to access food in these areas since they feed on algae, sea grass and seaweed.

While admiring these creatures in tide pools and rock pools, please always follow tide pool etiquette.  Also, here’s a note from E.G.D.: if you’re snorkeling in Hawaii, please be careful not to step on the sea urchins!  They’re all over the place, and they aren’t always obvious to the eye.

Posted in Beach and Coastal Wildlife, Tide Pools | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Starfish or Sea Star?

Posted by Greg on November 30, 2011

"Red-knobed Starfish" Photo by Adrian Pingstone (Wikimedia Commons)

Starfish, as sea stars were previously known, come in more varieties than I once thought. For one, they sometimes have more or fewer legs than the five we typically think of, and for another, there are thousands of species of this beautiful sea creature.

According to National Geographic, “marine scientists have undertaken the difficult task of replacing the beloved starfish’s common name with sea star because, well, the starfish is not a fish. It’s an echinoderm, closely related to sea urchins and sand dollars. There are some 2,000 species of sea star living in all the world’s oceans, from tropical habitats to the cold seafloor. The five-arm varieties are the most common, hence their name, but species with 10, 20, and even 40 arms exist.”  Some species have only four arms.

Giant sea star (sand star). Photo by NOAA (Wikimedia Commons)

Eleven Armed sea star. Photo by de.Benutzer:Hase (Wikimedia Commons)

Sea Stars come in many different, often brilliant colors. They use color to camouflage themselves for protection or to scare off potential predators. Another interesting fact from National Geographic is that “beyond their distinctive shape, sea stars are famous for their ability to regenerate limbs, and in some cases, entire bodies. They accomplish this by housing most or all of their vital organs in their arms. Some require the central body to be intact to regenerate, but a few species can grow an entirely new sea star just from a portion of a severed limb.”

Sea Stars are frequently found in tide pools. Please follow “Tide Pool Etiquette” while studying them in their element. *You might also be interested in our post on Morro Bay tidepooling*

Happy Sea Star searching!

Posted in Beach and Coastal Wildlife, Tide Pools | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

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!

Posted in Beach and Coastal Wildlife, Friday Finds, Pacific Coast Beaches, Sand and Shoreline, Tide Pools | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

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