Tag Archive: CC15


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Echinodermata
Class: Asteroidea (Starfish or sea stars)
Order: Forcipulatida
Family: Asteriidae

Genus/species: Asterina miniata

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Colors may be colored red, orange, brown, purple or mottled. They have webbing between their short, triangular arms, which gives them a batlike look. Size is up to 20 cm (eight inches) across. Radially symmetrical they normally have five arms, but they occasionally have as many as nine arms. They have tube-feet that allow locomotion.

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Sitka, Alaska to Baja California, Mexico. Found in low intertidal areas on rocks overgrown with surfgrass, large algae and sponges. Depth intertidal to 290 m (950 ft) on rocky or sandy substrates.

DIET IN THE WILD: Sensors at the end of each arm that sense light and detect prey. Typically an omnivore or scavenger: surfgrass, algae, colonial tunicates, organic films on hard surfaces, as well as other seastars.  Like most seastars, feeds by everting its stomach over prey.

See everted Bat Star stomach below.

REPRODUCTION: Usually spawns May to June. The male broadcasts sperm and the female broadcasts eggs from pores near the bases of their arms. Embryos and larvae are transparent.

PREDATORS Other sea stars, molluscs, and crustaceans. Like some other sea stars, bat stars can sometimes avoid predation by secreting chemicals that evoke flight responses in other animals.

CONSERVATION: IUCN No special status. Collecting by tidepool visitors has diminished some populations, for example around the Monterey Peninsula.

REMARKS: When two bat stars bump into each other, a gentle brawl begins. They seem to be “arm wrestling” in a slow motion skirmish where no winner is usually obvious.

Bat stars lack the pedicillariae, or pincers, common to most other sea stars and used to clear the animal of unwanted parasites and other debris. Even so, bat stars are free of debris, perhaps because small, constantly moving hairs (cilia) discourage settling

Sea stars have endoskeletons made up of plates (calcified ossicles) joined by connective tissue to protect the bat star’s vital organs.  The bat star’s ossicles are so large and defined that they look like rough shingles. 


REMARKS:  SEA STAR WASTING SYNDROME has become a major issue in both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. For an excellent summary check this link to the University of Santa Cruz 9-9-14.  http://www.eeb.ucsc.edu/pacificrockyintertidal/data-products/sea-star-wasting/updates.htm

Fitzgerald Marine Reserve.  http://www.fitzgeraldreserve.org/newffmrsite/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/BetweenTides_9-14_web.pdf



Monterey Bay Aquarium  http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/animal-guide/invertebrates/bat-star

U. of Michigan Animal Diversity Web http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Patiria_miniata/

Ron’s flickr    http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157608501343477/

Ron’s WordPress shortlink   http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-to

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Echinodermata
Class: Holothuroideaia
Order: Aspidochirotida
Family: Stichopodidae

Genus/species: Parastichopus parvimensis

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Colored brown above, lighter below. Conical black-tipped papillae on the dorsal side provide the common name. The mouth and anus are on opposite ends of their cylindrical bodies. Tube feet aide in gathering food as well as ambulating.Length to 25 cm (10 inches). 

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Monterey Bay, California to Baja California. Found on sandy or muddy-sandy soft bottoms between rocks or in eelgrass beds. Sub tidal to 27 m (89 feet) in depth.

DIET: Digests organic detritus and small organisms in soft sediments.

REPRODUCTION?DEVELOPMENT: Have separate sexes (look-alike), and eggs are fertilized externally. Broadcast spawning usually takes place in November, and each female can produce thousands of eggs. After fertilization, a larva is formed which metamorphoses into a Sea Cucumber after a few weeks.

MORTALITY/LONGEVITY: Eaten by sea stars including the sunflower star. Sea otters and humans are also predators. Lifespan estimated to be 5-10 years in the wild.

CONSERVATION: IUCN Red list; Not Evaluated

REMARKS: Holothuroids differ from echinoderms, because they have a water vascular system full of body fluid rather than sea water.  Like other echinoderms, cucumbers have a calcareous skeleton; but in their case it is only vestigial, composed of plates and spicules of lime buried in the skin and serving merely to stiffen the body wall. Respiratory trees are the lungs of a sea cucumber. These hollow branched organs lie inside the body cavity on either side of the posterior intestine. The base of the tree connects to a muscular cavity, or cloaca. Oxygen is transferred across the thin membrane into the fluids of the body cavity. When the oxygen is depleted, the main body wall contracts to squeeze water out of the trees. 
When threatened, it can expel all its internal organs through its anus (evisceration) and grow new ones in 2-4 weeks. It can also expel sticky filaments to ensnare or confuse predators. Warty sea cucumbers and their related species are sometimes called the “earthworms of the sea,” as they cultivate the seafloor in much the same manner as earthworms cultivate the soil. Oral tube feet around the mouth are covered with a sticky mucus that traps food particles from the seafloor’s sediment and mud. In areas where overfishing has reduced the population of sea cucumbers, the seafloor hardens, thus destroying a habitat for other bottom-dwelling creatures. Can walk on tube feet if stressed up to one yard every 15 min..Humans eat a variety of sea cucumber species, including Warty sea cucumbers. The demand is greatest in Asian countries, for consumption and folk medicine applications. It is considered to be widely overfished.




Parastichopus parvimensisIMG_8852 - Version 2



ADW Animal Diversity Web, U. of Michigan  http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Parastichopus_parvimensis/

Encyclopedia of Life  eol.org/pages/597920/details

Monterey Bay Aquarium  www.montereybayaquarium.org/animal-guide/invertebrates/wa…

Ron’s flickr  https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/3702926813/in/set-72157608501343477

 Ron’s WordPress Shortlink  wp.me/p1DZ4b-s6




Kingdom:  Animalia

Phylum:     Arthopoda

Class:          Malacostraca

Order:        Decapoda

Family:      Epialtidae

Genus/species;  Pugettia producta



 Mostly dark brown to green varying depending on the type of algae consumed. Like other members of its family, noted for its unique, elongated carapace with extended rostrum like an upside down shovel with the handle end towards its mouth. and four pairs of relatively long, slender walking legs. Because of these features, the family common name is “spider crabs.”

Most crabs in this family are called masking crabs; they attach fragments of shells and algae to their carapace for camouflage. P.producta, a large active crab, maintains a clean surface, perhaps for ease of movement.  It is a feisty animal; long legs are dextrous, and claws pinch hard.


 Alaska to Baja California in rocky intertidal in kelp beds and tidepools with abundant surfgrass or algae.  The crab uses the vegetation as protection from  sun and predators. Subtidal to 70 m (230 ft).


Mainly a nocturnal vegetarian feeding on bull kelp, sea lettuce, rockweed and other kelp. Occasionally will take barnacles, mussels, hydroids, and bryozoans in winter when vegetation is scarce.


Reproduction and Development: Females usually mate June to July, though can mate year round. Fertilized eggs develop for several months underneath the female’s abdomen.



Preyed upon by sculpins, gulls, cabezon, and sea otters among others.


Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157626486149324/

WORDPRESS SHORTLINK  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-xc

Phylum Chordata (chordates)

Class Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) 
Order Perciformes (Perch-likes) 

Family Embiotocidae (Surfperches) 

Genus/species Micrometrus minimus 


DISTRIBUTION: Northern British Columbia to central Baja California. 

 HABITAT: Among giant kelp, usually in kelp canopy.

 DIET: Algae and small invertebrates

 REPRODUCTION and DEVELOPMENT: Viviparous ( Livebearer), female carries the developing young. Breed in fall and early winter, spawn in spring.

LOCATION: Salt Marsh Pop_up CC03 and Tidepool CC15  

 flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157626486149324/

WORDPRESS SHORTLINK:  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-wQ

Family Poraniidae 

Dermasterias imbricate

DISTRIBUTION: Eastern North Pacific: Alaska to Northern California. 

HABITAT: On rocks and rocky reefs in subtidal areas.  APPEARANCE: Medium size sea star up to 5 Iin or 12 cm in diameter with disproportionately short broad arms with a smooth, slippery surface. Mottled coloring—bluish-grey with brown to orange blotches all over.  Oral side pale and smooth. Smells garlic-like.  

DIET: Mainly sea anemones, but also takes sea cucumbers, sea urchins, and other invertebrates. Leather stars, unlike many other sea stars, such as the ochre, bat, and pink sea stars, swallow their prey whole and digest internally. 

REPRODUCTION/DEVELOPMENT: Releases eggs and sperm; fertilized eggs float in plankton and develop into juveniles, which eventually settle out.

REMARKS: Known to eat the Plumose Anemone (Metridium senile and Metridium farcimen), and the Strawberry Anemone Corynactis californica.

Larger anemones have been observed to fight back by distending the mouth to envelope the attacking star. In the end the leather star often retreats and both the star and the anemone are none the worse for wear. 


LOCATION: Tidepool  CC15    **DisplayIntermittent 

WORDPRESS SHORTLINK   http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-u0

flickr    http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157608501343477/

Phylum Echinodermata, Class Asteroidea, Order Forcipulatida, Family Asteriidae, 

Pisaster gianteus


DISTRIBUTION: Eastern Pacific coast from British Columbia to Baja California.

HABITAT: Rocky but also sandy substrates from middle to lower intertidal zone down to 300 ft or 90 m.

APPEARANCE: Five arms. Can be colored red, orange, brown, or green. Evenly spaced blunt white stubby spines surrounded by blue plaques.  Maximum arm span about 24 in or 60 cm.

DIET: Typical prey are hard-shelled organisms such as mussels, snails, and barnacles. May occasionally eat anything slow-moving enough to be caught, such as dying fish or shellfish, anenomes, or other sea stars.

REPRODUCTION and DEVELOPMENT: Individual sea stars are male or female. Broadcast spawners, both sexes release gametes into the water for external fertilization. Larvae are planktonic and have bilateral symmetry.

MORTALITY/LONGEVITY: Sea gulls and sea otters are sea star predators. Giant sea stars live about 20 years.


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flickr  http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157608501343477/

Phylim Molluska, Class Gastropoda, Family ‪Aeolidioidea,

Aeolidia papillosa


DISTRIBUTION: Common on the Atlantic coast of Europe and North America and the Pacific coast of North America. Also from from both west and east coasts of South America

HABITAT: On rocks, or may be on floats or docks. Often near its perferred prey. Intertidal to 380m deep.

APPEARANCE: Its color appears to be quite variable, depending upon locale and food resources. This large aeolid grows to about 10 cm (4 in)  in length and its body is covered with close obliquely arranged rows of flattened cerata.

DIET: Feeds almost exclusively on sea anemones.

MORTALITY/LONGEVITY:  This species is famous for obtaining undischarged cnidae (cells which bear nematocysts) from its Cnidarian prey and moving to the tips of the cerata , where they are likely used for defense. If disturbed they sometimes wave their cerata. If one of the cerata is broken off, muscles within it contract, expelling the nematocysts, which then discharge . The chemical composition of A. papillosa mucus changes and does not trigger a discharge of nematocysts in the sea anemone.

REPRODUCTION/DEVELOPMENT: Nudibranchs are hermaphroditic, and thus have a set of reproductive organs for both sexes, but they cannot fertilize themselves.

REMARKS: Their eyes are simple and able to discern little more than light and dark. The eyes are set into the body, are about a quarter of a millimeter in diameter, and consist of a lens and five photoreceptors.

 WORDPRESS SHORTLINK: http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-sk


Phylum Molluska, Order: Veneroida, Class: Bivalvia, Family: Veneridae

Venerupis philippinarum

DISTRIBUTION: Native to Japan, Korea and China.  Introduced to British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, Baja California and French Atlantic Coast, and Mediterranean coast..

APPEARANCE: Shell is usually cream or gray, sometimes with green or brown tones, and sometimes stained rusty or black (the latter typical of anoxic mud). It often has patterns of dark brown or black, overlapping, triangular markings  Smaller specimens (up to about 3 cm)  found in muddy sand on the east shore of  San Francisco Bay come in a remarkable variety of hues, including white, tan, yellow, blue and green, The interior of the shell is mostly white, often with dark purple or yellow staining near the hind end and the lower margins of the shell.

DIET: Filter feeder

REMARKS: Global aquaculture production of V. philippinarum is estimated at over 1 million tons/year with a value of around $1.5 billion.

MORTALITY: A variety of organisms have been observed feeding on Venerupis philippinarum on the Pacific coast, including the moon snail Euspira lewisii, the Atlantic oyster drill Urosalpinx cinerea, crabs, bat rays, flounder, sturgeon, willet, gulls, ducks and raccoons, and undoubtedly many others. The small pea crabs Pinnixa faba and Pinnixa littoralis are sometimes found living inside the shells of live Venerupis philippinarum.

At the Steinheart Aquarium V. philippinarum is found in the tidepool where starfishes feed on them in place of mussels which are harder to obtain.   SEE PHOTO BELOW . 

Ochre Sea Star Pisaster ochraceus consuming a Manila Clam.

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