SEASHORE LIFE

The following items are commonly found existing between the tide marks, and are, therefore, within everybody’s reach :

Anemones.

Several kinds will be noticed adhering to the faces of rocks, especially in those parts where the sea recedes least. They are jelly-like formations, dome-shaped as a rule, set with a ring of tentacles which can be withdrawn from view at will. The Beadlet is brown to blood-red with numerous spots of gold. The Plumose is white, buff, or light saffron. The Wartlet is bright red and green. The Opelet is olive-green with violet-tipped tentacles. Note that the Opelet cannot withdraw its tentacles.

Barnacles.

Two very different kinds are to be found. The Acorn Barnacle is a species which grows in vast colonies, covering rocks, pier supports, ships, etc., giving them a whitish appearance. It consists of a tiny tent of shelly matter, out of the top of which appears a plume-like formation. The other, the Goose Barnacle, is only seen after a storm. It consists of a lengthy tube, fitted with two valves resembling mussel shells, and a fringe of antenna?.

Blenny.

Found in rock pools. A small fish with a very worried expression. The colour ranges from a mustard yellow marked with black to an almost black hue everywhere.

Chitons.

These are small creatures about half an inch to an inch long and nearly half an inch wide, oval, and domed. They are slate, grey-brown, or white, and have tufts of sandy-coloured bristles around the edges. The shelly covering is composed of eight sections. If disturbed, they roll up like wood-lice do.

Cockles.

These are bivalves, both shells being alike. The shells are putty-coloured, some are merely ridged, but others are prickly as well.

Crabs.

The chief varieties are:

The Green Shore Crab, which is never large. It is usually green, sometimes with a reddish underside.

The Edible Crab, found on the shore only when young. The older specimens seldom come between the tide marks. It is a square-bodied creature, red-brown. with purple patches and with black on the claws.

The Velvet Swimming Crab, a bluish-bodied species with flat claws which are fringed.

The Spider Crab, a large ungainly monster with a triangular-shaped body, legs and claws like those of a spider, and with pieces of seaweed sticking to its carapace or shell.

The Hermit Crab, a soft-bodied species, which lives in the empty shells of some molluscs.

Egg Capsules.

Three different kinds are commonly found. Those of the whelk are balls of fibre-like material, putty coloured. Those of the dog-fish and skate are thin, leathery envelopes with four-pointed corners, dark brown, slate-black, or even jet black in colour. The corners of those of the dog-fish are provided with long, curved tendrils, but those of the skate are without them.

Gobies.

Small fish, with blunt heads, and fins that are fringed and fan-shaped. They are dark olive-green.

Jelly Fish.

Gelatinous masses which float on the waves, almost colourless and transparent; they 21U have no apparent shape when stranded on the beach. When fully expanded, however, they present very beautiful umbrellalike shapes. Swimmers should avoid them, as some of them give a rather unpleasant sting.

Limpets . —

Tent – shaped univalves, which have the power of adhering tightly to rocks, etc. The colour of the shell is variable; some are slate-grey or brownish in colour, with beautiful coloured stripes, which are only visible when wet. The Key-hole Limpet has a small opening at the apex of the shell.

Lobster.

All that need be said here is that this creature is a deep Prussian blue when seen crawling among rock-crannies and not a vivid red, a colour which is obtained by the process of boiling. The red is similar to rust stains ou linen, as it is due to the presence of iron in the shell or covering.

Mussel.

The shell of the Common Mussel is a slate-blue colour, and of a shape known to all. It can live in very impure water, and, as a consequence, may be highly dangerous to eat. The Bearded Mussel is smaller and flatter than the above. The sides of the shell are provided with a fringe of stiff bristles.

Oysters.

Those required for the table are cultivated in prepared oyster beds, but others live a secluded life by themselves amongst rocks at the water’s edge. They are usually provided with more rough and irregular shells than the cultivated species. The oyster is a bivalve, with two shells that are not alike in shape and size.

Periwinkles.

The edible winkle seen in fish-shops. Note that the shell is not always a steel-blue. Some varieties are yellow, others white, while specimens can be found which are brown or brown banded with yellow.

Prawns and Shrimps.

The former live among the weeds of rock pools and are a transparent bluish colour when alive. The latter prefer sandy pools and are a transparent sandy grey colour. The two may be distinguished by noting that the prawn has its upturned saw-like ridge on its head which the shrimp does not possess.

Razor Fish.

These live in the long shells which abound, in an empty condition, on most sandy beaches. When alive, these creatures bury themselves vertically in the sand, coming to the surface with only the tip apparent, for feeding purposes.

Rockling.

A small fish inhabiting rock pools. It has four barbules on the top lip and one below. Note that the dorsal fin runs almost the whole length of the back. Colour, black-brown. Body, very slimy.

Sand Hoppers.

The little creatures which hop about on the sand and which would pass unnoticed if they remained still. Greyish sand colour. A close relation of crabs and lobsters.

Sea Horse.

A true fish, but quite unlike our ordinary notion of fishes. It moves vertically by means of its tail, possesses a pouch and a head not unlike that of a horse. Colour, brown. Somewhat rare unless the water is unusually warm.

Sea Urchins.

There are several kinds, but they all consist of spherical forms, covered with an armour-plate, out of which point hundreds of spines. One kind is known as the Sea Chestnut, because it might be taken for the fruit of the sweet chestnut.

Shrimps.

See Prawns.

Starfish. —

There are several kinds. The commonest is the Five-Fingered Starfish. It is orange. yellow above and yellow below. The under side is a mass of minute tentacles.

The Cushion Starfish has five points, but they are not well-defined rays, as in the previous case. It is merely a ‘cushion’ with five projections.

The Sun Starfish is very beautiful. It has twelve rays of equal length and thus forms a circle. It is brick-red and yellow, the colours being arranged in concentric bands.

Whelk.

An elongated spira univalve, which moves in much the same way as the ordinary garden snail. It possesses an operculum, a horny disc, or trap door, which most snails do not have.

Wrasse, Rainbow.

A very attractive little fish which lives in rock pools. It is deep-bodied, beautifully marked with light blue lines, and the eye is set in a ring of vivid red. Note that the dorsal fin runs almost the whole length of the body.

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