Friday, July 27, 2012

Pretty social for a hermit

If you like hermit crabs, you will love Lovell's Island.  I saw more hermit crabs than I have seen in all my previous days combined.  And I almost missed this opportunity -- the scheduled ferry to Lovell's was cancelled. But Prof. Berman made a few calls and the Abigail appeared to ferry us the few feet from George's Island.

We took a walk along the sandy beach, which quickly turned rocky.  We did most of our exploring in tide pools which had formed as the water receded due to a low tide.  The large, stacked boulders were covered with exposed barnacles, just as we saw on the docks but more so than any of the rocky beaches we have explored.

The rocks below had both barnacles and periwinkles aplenty.  I had seen periwinkles in large numbers before but they were most numerous here and in sharp contrast to the floating docks where I didn't see any.  Pictured below is a rough periwinkle.  Also present were smooth periwinkles.

It's possible that a third type of marine snail was present -- a limpet (pictured below).

Stacey found this tower of slipper shells:

I also saw sea lettuce and other algae, not as much as on the floating docks but about as much as was present on the beach of Castle Island.  Picture below is a very curious one which I saw for the first time.

I also saw mussels.  The one below has attached itself to a rock with a white, stringy material.  Mussels were more prevalent in the docks than on this beach.

I saw a number of green crabs of various sizes.  Pictured below is the female green crab which is red, yellow, and white on top.

The largest of the green crabs I saw:

The hermit crabs were everywhere.  I saw a couple at Castle Island and others discovered them on the docks but nowhere were they seen in the numbers we saw today.  There at least six in the photograph below.

One coming out of his shell:

Quite a few types of tunicates are living in harmony on this rock:

Unidentified sea worm:

Finally, we were able to find brown-lipped snails on land.  One of my classmates found the first one in a sumac tree.  I was not able to observe the color of the lip, but the lip of one of the shells we found on a beach rock is clearly brown.  Those shells were probably dropped on the rock by birds trying to break them up to get at the animals inside.

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