Tag Archive: temperate marine

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Scorpaeniformes (Scorpionfishes and flatheads)
Family: Cyclopteridae (Lumpfishes)

Genus/species: Eumicrotremus orbis

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The globular shaped body is covered in cone-shaped plates, called tubercles. Females are dull green in color, while males are dull orange to reddish-brown.

Typically measures 1 to 3 inches (2.5 to 7.6 cm) in length, with a maximum length of  7 inches.

The Pacific Spiny Lumpsucker’s anal fin has evolved into a large suction cup, allowing it to attach to surfaces. They are most commonly found attached to solid objects and are ineffective swimmers.


Distribution: North Pacific: From Japan to Alaska south to Puget Sound, Washington.
Habitats, include eelgrass beds, rocky reefs, kelp patches, shallow bays, and docks. They can be found in near shore waters to a depth of 500 feet (150 m).

DIET: Crustaceans and mollusks.

REPRODUCTION and DEVELOPMENT: Males guard eggs following spawning.


REMARKS: The large adhesive sucking disc with thickened fringed margin is composed of modified and ossified pelvic rays. When disturbed, the fish hovers about, changing directions aimlessly like a tiny helicopter.

The family name Cyclopteridae translates from Greek as “circle wing,” a reference to their circle-shaped pectoral fins. Their roe is used as a substitute for expensive and/or unavailable caviar.


California Academy of Sciences, Steinhart Aquarium, locomotion, 2018

Ron’s flickr sitehttp://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157608359804936/

Ron’s WordPress short link  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-kw

fishbase  www.fishbase.de/summary/Eumicrotremus-orbis

Eschmeyer, W.N., E.S. Herald and H. Hammann, 1983. A field guide to Pacific coast fishes of North America. Boston (MA, USA): Houghton Mifflin Company. xii+336 p. (Ref. 2850)
(formerly on Academy staff)

1-13-18 Northern Feather Duster Worms from Ron’s California Coast Gallery

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Annelida
Class: Polychaeta
Order: Sabellida
Family: Sabellidae

Genus/species: Eudistylia vancouveri

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: E. vancouveri secretes a soft, leathery, parchment like tube. The peristomium has several featherlike banded green and purple or maroon light sensitive radioles (tentacles) that are closely associated with the mouth, forming a feather-duster like structure. The radioles are also used for gas exchange (like gills) but the circulatory pattern within them is unusual. Instead of having afferent and efferent vessels, the radioles have a single branchial vessel in each radiole which the blood flows in and out of. Sabellids possess giant nerve fibers running down their body which allows them to retract rapidly into their tube if disturbed.

The pencil like vertical tubes are up to about 45 cm (18 in) long and the tentacle plumes up to 2 inches in diameter.

An excellent group of diagrams of fan worm anatomy can be found on page 27 of the Marine Biology Coloring Book by T. Niesen (2000).


Northern Feather Duster Worm30312750995_19fd3dac96_o

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Found from Alaska to central California in low intertidal areas to 20 m (60 ft) deep. Often in large clusters attached to crevices of boulders, bedrock, pilings; and on vertical rock faces and surge channels in heavy surf.

DIET IN THE WILD: Plankton-feeders such as this often live where there are strong currents and wave action, moving food past the animal at a high rate.

REPRODUCTION: The sexes are separate in these worms, but gametes are produced on internal surfaces rather than in gonads. During spawning, the sperm and eggs are carried up the same groove that carries the fecal pellets and shed into the water. Fertilization is thus a random process, and the larvae that develop are planktonic spheroids with flagella and cilia, at first looking nothing like worms. They add segments little by little and finally drop out of the plankton as real worms, to begin their feather-duster life.

REMARKS: E. vancouveri are marine segmented worms that are sessile, attached to rocks or sand by their base.

Northern Feather Duster Worms are light sensitive and will retract when a shadow passes over them to protect their delicate radiaols.


California Academy of Sciences J. Charles Delbeek, M.Sc.
Assistant Curator, Steinhart Aquarium

EOL eol.org/pages/614627/details

University of Puget Sound  www.pugetsound.edu/academics/academic-resources/slater-mu…

Wallawalla.edu inverts.wallawalla.edu/Annelida/Sabellidae/Eudistylia_van…

Ron’s Flickr  https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/30312750995/in/dateposted-public/

Ron’s WordPress shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-1IA


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Scorpaeniformes (Scorpionfishes and flatheads)
Family: Sebastidae (Rockfishes, rockcods and thornyheads)

Genus/species; Sebastes miniatus

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: They vary in color from bright red to orange-red with the sides mottled with gray. mouth and fins are red. The red fins usually are edged with black and 3 obscure stripes radiate from each eye. The caudal fin is slightly indented and the mouth is large, with the lower jaw slightly projecting. The vermilion rockfish has scales on the bottom of the lower jaw which make it rough to the touch.

Length up to 91.0 cm (36 inches)
Weight up to 15 pounds

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Eastern Pacific: British Columbia, Baja California, Mexico. Marine; Adults inhabit shallow to deep rocky reefs at depths of 100 to 500 feet, (has been taken from depths as great as 900 feet).

DIET IN THE WILD: Smaller fishes, squid and octopus. Most fishes that are eaten are other smaller kinds of rockfish.

REPRODUCTION: Viviparous. As with all other rockfish, fertilization is internal and the young are mobile with the free-swimming young feeding primarily upon shrimp–like organisms.


LONGEVITY: live up to 22 years

REMARKS; Excellent food fish but does not keep well in the freezer

Color of Life note: Red color is the first to be filtered out as one depends deep into the ocean making this Vermillion rockfish hard to spot by predators.
Ref: California Academy of Sciences, Color of Life Exhibit 2015


Ron’s WordPress shortlink wp.me/p1DZ4b-EU

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium California Rocky Coast 2017

California Dept of Fish and Wildlife www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/mspcont4.asp

Eschmeyer, W.N., E.S. Herald and H. Hammann, 1983. A field guide to Pacific coast fishes of North America. Boston (MA, USA): Houghton Mifflin Company. p 144

Probably More Than You Want To Know About The Fishes Of The Pacific Coast, Milton Love 1996 Really Big Press p 174

Ron’s flickr www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/7804218942/in/set-72157…

fishbase www.fishbase.org/summary/3982

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Scorpaeniformes (Scorpionfishes and flatheads)
Family: Sebastidae (Rockfishes, rockcods and thornyheads)

Genus/species: Sebastes carnatus

 CHARACTERISTICS: They are generally mottled appearance, with dark areas generally olive to reddish-brown, and the lighter areas being white or pinkish. The upper part of the back almost always has three light patches extending into the dorsal fins, and the lighter areas become more extensive ventrally.

Length: Up to 39.0 cm (15 inches).


DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Pacific coast from Oregon, to southern Baja California. S. carnatus is found in intertidal zone, but most occur at depths of 12–80 m (40-250 ft), living in crevices and holes during the day, and ranging further abroad at night.


REPRODUCTION: Viviparous, with planktonic larvae

LIFESPAN: 30 years.            

CONSERVATION: IUCN, not evaluated. 

REMARKS: Gopher Rockfish are extremely closely related to the Black-and-Yellow Rockfish. S. chrysomelas is darker brown or black with yellow patches, and tends to prefer shallower water. S. carnatus has pinkish spots on a brown background, The two types are apparently genetically indistinguishable, and may represent a single species with two color morphs. The two species are otherwise identical.

Color of life note: Rockfishes have disruptive camouflage which helps them blend in to that textured and hued background.

California Academy of Sciences Color of life Exhibit 2015

Ron’s WordPress shortlink  http://wp.me/s1DZ4b-2497

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium California Coastal Marine Exhibit 2017

Ron’s flickr  http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157608333101710/

BioOne www.bioone.org/doi/abs/10.1643/CG-02-061R2?journalCode=cope

eol eol.org/pages/215479/details

fishbase www.fishbase.org/summary/3956

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Scorpaeniformes (Scorpionfishes and flatheads)
Family: Sebastidae (Rockfishes, rockcods and thornyheads)

Genus/species: Sebastes pinniger

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The Canary Rockfish is bright yellow to orange mottled on a light gray background with 3 orange stripes across head and orange fins. The Lateral line is in a clear area. The pectoral, pelvic, and anal fins are moderately pointed and are large.

Length up to 76 cm (2.5 ft)


DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: They are found from Alaska to Baja California, Mexico.
S. pinniger adults hover in loose groups above rocky bottoms at average depths of 80–200 m (264-660 ft).

DIET IN THE WILD: They feed on small fishes and krill.

REPRODUCTION: they are mature at 14 in (36 cm) or 5-6 years old., Fertilization: Internal fertilization, ovoviviparous

LONGEVITY: Up to 75 years

Minimum population doubling time 4.5 – 14 years. Various state restrictions on fishing have been put in place over the years, including banning retention of canary rockfish in Washington in 2003. Because this species is slow-growing, late to mature, and long-lived, recovery from these threats will take many years, even if the threats are no longer affecting the species.

REMARKS: The Vermillion Rockfish which is similar is more reddish and the lateral one is not in the grey zone.


Ron’s flickr Rockfishes https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/7786389830/in/album-72157608359804936/

Ron’s flickr Canary Rockfish http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157608359804936/with/7564182434/

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium California Rocky Reef 2017

PacificCoast Fishes Eschmeyer and Herald 1983 Easton Press page 146

fishbase www.fishbase.org/summary/3989

NOAA FISHERIES 2-3-17 www.fisheries.noaa.gov/pr/species/fish/canary-rockfish.html

Ron’s WordPress shortlink wp.me/p1DZ4b-Dm



Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Embiotocidae (Surfperches)

Genus/species: Amphistichus rhodoterus

 GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The body of the Redtail Surfperch is a deep oval shape and is compressed from side to side. All fins reddish or pink. Faded brown bars on the side. Silvery overall with pale olive shading above and 9 to 11 narrow vertical dark bars, posteriorly, broken and staggered along the lateral line. Caudal (tail) fin broadly forked; dorsal fin distinctive for the long dorsal spines that contrast with shorter soft rays.

Length up to: 41 cm (16 in) and 2.1 kg (4.5 lbs.) in weight.


DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Temperate marine. Vancouver Island to Monterey Bay around sand beaches and rocky shores in surf.

DIET IN THE WILD:  A. rhodoterus feeds on worms, crabs, other small crustaceans, and fishes.

LONGEVITY: Life span: up to 9 years.

REPRODUCTION: The Redtail Surfperch females are viviparous and reproductively mature at 3–4 years; males mature at 2 years. The females enter bays and estuaries to spawn.

REMARKS: This shallow water schooling surfperch is most often caught from central California northward.  A. rhodoterus omprises 10–30% of the total recreational catch in this area. Redtails also support a sizable commercial fishery, and comprise almost 75% of the commercial surfperch catch.


Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/7800132290/in/album-72157608359804936/

fishbase www.fishbase.org/summary/3624

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium California Rocky Coast 2017

WashingtonDept. of Fish and Wildlife wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/bottomfish/identification/perch/a_rho…

Ron’s WordPress shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-1jC


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Gasterosteiformes (sea horsespipefishes)
Family: Syngnathidae  (seahorses, the pipefishes, the pipehorses, and the leafyruby, and weedy seadragons all have fused jaws)

Genus/species: Hippocampus ingens

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Their color is variable and can change their body color, depending on the environment. Body colors include maroon, yellow, and muddled brownish-green. adults have thin close set scrubby lines along the head and body.
The tail prehensile and flexible and able to coil around seagrass and other objects.

Length up to 12 inches long.

DISTRIBUTION:HABITAT: Southern California to Peru including the Galapagos Islands. Found on temperate reefs clinging to sponges, branching coral, sea-whips and inhabits weed beds, usually at depths of 1—20 m (3.28-65 ft).

DIET IN THE WILD: Small shrimp, mysids and other plankton. Seahorses lack teeth and jaws instead suck prey through their tube-like snouts.

REPRODUCTION: H. ingens males and females perform a mating “dance” by bobbing up and down together lasting for three days. Finally, a male will display his empty breeding pouch, which the female will fill with eggs using her ovipositor. Males carry fertilized eggs in a brood pouch for 2-3 weeks up and then releases up to 1000 hatched individuals.

LIFESPAN: Estimated range is 3-5 years. The Pacific Seahorse’s camouflage abilities are its best defense to avoiding predation.

PREDATORS: Pacific Seahorses are also known to be associated with flotsam as it has been collected at the surface and from the stomachs of the Pacific Yellowfin Tuna and Bluefin Tuna.

Declines result from targeted catch, incidental capture, and habitat degradation from coastal development. Once caught, H. ingens are used throughout Latin America for curios, occasionally in traditional medicine, and in the live aquarium trade. The vast majority are exported internationally for use in traditional medicine.

REMARKS: Academy individuals were captive raised in the Cabrillo Aquarium, Cabrillo, CA.


Ron’s flickr  https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/35417467820/in/album-72157608359804936/

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Water Planet 2017

Animal Diversity Web  animaldiversity.org/accounts/Hippocampus_ingens/

IUCN www.iucnredlist.org/details/10072/0

Ron’s WordPress Shortlink wp.me/p1DZ4b-1QX

Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Polyplacophora
Order: Neolocrcata
Family: Acanthochitonidae

Genus/species: Cryptochiton stelleri

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The gumboot is a long, meatloaf-like chiton with a brick-red mantle covering the eight plates of their jointed shell. The shell plates are completely internal in adults. This is the largest chiton in the world; it grows to 33 cm (13 in). It may live up to 20 years.

Gumboot Chiton32905300616_5519787bf4_k

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Found from Alaska west to Japan and south to the Channel Islands, the gumboot chiton inhabits rocky intertidal areas to 80 feet, often among kelp.

DIET IN THE WILD: A nocturnal grazer, it used its long, tongue like radula to scrape off the upper tissue of soft red algae and various coralline algae, giant kelp and oarweed, in the process getting nutrition from the tiny organisms that live on the algae’s surface. The radula is covered with tiny, very hard teeth that give it the texture of rough sandpaper.


PREDATORS: Its only known predator is the large rock snail Ocenebra lurida, which drills through the chiton’s outer covering with its radula to feed on the flesh below.

REPRODUCTION: The sexes are separate; eggs and sperm are broadcast into the sea.


REMARKS: California coastal Native Americans may have eaten them, as shell plates have been found in middens. An Academy researcher states that this chiton was a food of the last resort, “tastes ghastly!”

The radulae of chitons and limpets are unique in having a high percentage of iron magnetite incorporated into the feeding teeth. Magnetite is so named because it is strongly attracted to magnets, and you can actually pick up this chiton’s teeth and radula with a magnet!
When exposed to air during low tide, the gumboot chiton can breathe at a reduced rate by absorbing oxygen from the atmosphere.

The red fuzzy stuff often on the surface is red algae. About 20 species of red algae are known to live on subtidal individuals. This chiton’s diet of red algae also contributes to its color.

Chitons are among the most ancient living mollusk groups, dating back to 400–500 million years ago.


California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Tidepool 2017

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

ADW animaldiversity.org/accounts/Cryptochiton_stelleri/

EOL eol.org/pages/403806/details

Ron’s WordPress shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-1LP

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/32905300616/in/album-72157660640336765/



Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Cnidaria
Class: Anthozoa
Subclass: Hexacorallia (includes stony corals, all sea anemones, tube anemones, and zoanthids)
Order: Actiniaria (sea anemones)
Family: Actiniidae (largest family of sea anemones)

Genus/species: Anthopleura elegantissima

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Most are olive to bright green (depending on the species of algal symbionts present) with tentacles tipped in pink. The oral disk has approximately 100 tentacles in three or four rows around its margins. Those that are deficient in photosynthetically active radiation, such as under docks or in caves, lack symbionts and are pale yellow to white in color.
Disc 2-3 cm (0.78-1.2 in) across, under water.

Aggregating Anemones23710001752_0cf3a8e808_k

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Common in tide pools. The body of the anemone is firmly attached to rock substrate and detritus and sand adheres to the column almost covering them.

DIET IN THE WILD: Capture tiny crustaceans and other animals past their tentacles using their stinging nematocysts (also called cnidocytes) on the surface of their tentacles.

REPRODUCTION: To clone themselves, anemones split in half tearing themselves apart (asexual reproduction). Aggregating anemones also reproduce sexually by broadcasting eggs and sperm.

PREDATORS: Their are few known predators but include the nudibranch Aeolidia papillosa, leather star Dermasterias imbricata and mosshead sculpin Clinocottus globiceps.

REMARKS: When one colony of genetically identical polyps encounters a different genetic colony, the two will wage territorial battles. A. elegantissima has specialized tentacles called acrorhagi to deter non identical colonies from encroaching on their space. It extends the acrorhagi to attack the competing anemone with nematocytes leaving behind a ‘peel’ of the ectoderm and nematocysts that causes tissue necrosis in the receiving animal.


California Academy of Sciences Tidepool

Ron’s flickr  https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/23710001752/in/album-72157625127345346/

Encyclopedia of Life  eol.org/data_objects/27560182

Ron’s WordPress shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-1D1

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

Slatter Museum of the U. of Puget Sound www.pugetsound.edu/academics/academic-resources/slater-mu…

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Crustacea
Class: Cirripedi (barnacles)

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Free-living barnacles are attached to the substratum by cement glands that form the base of the first pair of antennae; in effect, the animal is fixed upside down by means of its forehead. Inside the carapace, the animal lies on its back, with its limbs projecting upwards. There are six pairs of thoracic limbs, referred to as “cirri”, which are feathery and very long, being used to filter food from the water and move it towards the mouth. They have no gills, absorbing oxygen from the water through their limbs and the inner membrane of the carapace. The excretory organs of barnacles are maxillary glands.


DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: They are also found in all the world’s oceans as hitchhikers on ships, driftwood, and other living animals such as whales, crabs, mollusks, and turtles.

DIET IN THE WILD: Rhythmic movement of the appendages captures small animals, organic fragments, and other suspended nutrients.

PREDATORS: the most common predators on barnacles are whelks. They are able to grind through the calcareous exoskeletons of barnacles and feed on the softer inside parts. Mussels also prey on barnacle larvae. Another predator on barnacles is the starfish species Pisaster ochraceus.

REPRODUCTION: Barnacles begin life as a free-swimming larva. Upon settling, the animal attaches to a hard substrate by its head end. Overlapping plates of calcium carbonate are then secreted externally and protect the animal from predators and water loss.

REMARKS: Various barnacle species create serious and expensive fouling problems on ship hulls and pilings. In two years, 10 tons of barnacles may attach to a large tanker, causing huge losses in fuel efficiency.

Since the intertidal zone periodically desiccates, barnacles are well adapted against water loss. Their calcite shells are impermeable, and they possess two plates which they can slide across their aperture when not feeding. These plates also protect against predation.



California Academy of Sciences Tidepool 2015

Encyclopedia of Life eol.org/pages/2630893/details

Ron’s flickr  https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/23190303024/in/album-72157660640336765/

Ron’s WordPress shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-1CW


%d bloggers like this: