Sunday, 30 October 2016

The Pleasure of Rock Pools

One of the pleasures of a gentle, Sunday morning scramble along the Ormsaigbeg shoreline to the west of our house is the childlike enjoyment to be found.... investigating the contents of the many rock pools. Some of these are scoured by storm waves, the environment being so extreme that most seaweeds don't seem to survive in them, yet....

....numerous species somehow hang on. One such species, which seems to be quite happy living in the most exposed pools, is the green sea urchin, Psammechinus miliaris, which, because there is so little cover, camouflages itself with debris. It seems to be fussy about which pools it lives in, preferring those....

....which have a calcerous bottom and are the most weed free. They're rare enough along this shore for us to be rather pleased if we find three or four in a pool - and then we find this one which seems to be surrounded by what look like red eggs. Do they belong to this urchin, or are they something it's eating?

The most common sea anemone is a deep brownish-red, but today there seemed far fewer of them than usual and more of these greenish ones, a species we've not seen before and which could be the green sea anemone Actinia prasina.

The sandalled anemone, Actinothoe sphyrodeta, is another one which is uncommon along this coastline - and then one finds half a dozen clustered in one pool.

Just as we were turning for home, one of our party decided that the world might look even better upside down.

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