Tag Archive: temperate marine

Phylum: Molluska,
Class: Gastropoda
Family: ‪Aeolidioidea‬ (superfamily of sea slugs, the aeolid nudibranchs)

Genus /species: Aeolidia papillose

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: 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.

Aeolidia papillose 6873953510_5aecc605bd_k

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Common on the Atlantic coast of Europe and North America and the Pacific coast of North America. Also from  both west and east coasts of South America  Found on rocks, or may be on floats or docks often near its preferred prey. Intertidal to 380 m (116 ft) deep.

DIET IN THE WILD: 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/: 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.



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Phylum: Heterokontophyta
Class: Phaeophyceae
Order: Laminariales
Family: Laminariaceae

Genus/species: Macrocystis pyrifera

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Stout holdfast attaches to solid substrate to anchor its long, limber stipes (central stalks) and deeply incised blades. Held upright by gas-filled bladders at the base of blades, kelp fronds grow straight up to the surface,

Giant Kelp5055944979_13b2c8c620_b

DISTRIBUTION/ HABITAT: North Atlantic and northern Pacific;
also the Mediterranean Sea and off Brazil. Kelp Forest in general to 100 ft to 175 ft. The water depth zone is often known as the Laminaria zone.

They can grow at a rate of 0.6 metres (2 ft) a day to reach over 45 metres (148 ft) long in one growing season.

REPRODUCTION; Drifting M. pyrifera sporophytes (kelp rafts) are created following sporophyte detachment from benthic substrates. Kept afloat by numerous pneumatocysts (gas-filled bladders), M. pyrifera sporophytes may remain alive and adrift for more than 100 days. the reproductive longevity of drifting M. pyrifera sporophytes is long enough to support effective long-distance dispersal of over 1000 km (620 miles).

LIFESPAN: Five years.

REMARKS: Giant kelp forests are home to many marine species who depend upon the kelp directly for food and shelter, or indirectly as a hunting ground for prey. Invertebrates graze on the blades, fish seek shelter in the fronds and thousands of invertebrates such as brittle stars, sea stars, anemones, sponges and tunicates live in the holdfast. In addition sea otters wrap up in a kelp frond to keep from drifting away when sleeping.



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Encyclopedia of Life  eol.org/pages/906815/details

Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Gobiesocidae

Genus/species: Gobiesox maeandricus

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Like all clingfish, the northern clingfish possesses an adhesive disc, partially developed from the pelvic fins, that allows it to cling tightly to rocks or blades of kelp even in strong currents or crashing waves. The tapering, tadpole-shaped body, about 17 cm (6.5 in) long, has a single, posteriorly located dorsal fin, a fanlike caudal fin, no spines, and a flattened head. The skin is smooth and scaleless, with a thick layer of protective mucus. Its cryptic coloration makes the animal difficult to see among rocks or kelp.

DISTRIBUTION/ HABITAT: The family totals about 150 species worldwide; only 2 – the northern kelpfish (Gobiesox maeandricus) and the kelp clingfish (Rimicola muscarum) are found in northern California. They are bottom-dwelling fishes, typically found on or under rocks or high up in the kelp.

DIET IN THE WILD: Worms, molluscs, small crabs and other crustaceans.

PREDATORS: The clingfish is preyed upon by various aquatic animals that hunt among the rocks at high tide, and terrestrial predators such as snakes and raccoons that hunt at low tide.

REPRODUCTION: The male nudges the female’s belly. If she accepts him, the male moves parallel to her and quivers, stimulating egg laying. Fertilized eggs are deposited on stones, algae, or other bottom material, and are usually guarded by the male. Larvae are planktonic. Life span is about two years.

CONSERVATION: IUCN Red List Status Not Evaluated 

REMARKS: Like a number of other bottom-dwelling fishes, clingfish lack swim bladders, an internal sac used by the majority of fish species to control their position in the water. Clingfish can adhere so tightly to a surface that a rock might be moved some distance by strong currents with the fish still attached! Its suction cup also holds water from which the fish can extract oxygen even when exposed by a low tide.


California Academy of Sciences Tidepool Docent Guide 2015

fishbase  www.fishbase.org/summary/3075

Eschmeyer, W.N., E.S. Herald and H. Hammann, 1983. A field guide to Pacific coast fishes of North America. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, U.S.A. 336 p.

Encyclopedia of Life eol.org/pages/203811/details

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Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Perciformes (Perch-likes)
Family:Embiotocidae (Surfperches)

Genus/species:  Cymatogaster aggregata

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Shiner surfperch are small, deep-bodied fish, silvery colored with rows of dark spots on the scales that form vague black stripes on sides crossed by three vertical yellow bars. Males cover their shiny silver and yellow stripes with a darker courtship colors during the summer. Their maximum length is to 20 cm (8 in).

DISTRIBUTION AND HABITATShiners are found from Wrangell, Alaska to Baja California. Within their range, they are a common fish in shallow water around eelgrass beds, piers, pilings and oil platforms, and are also found in calm, shallow waters along the coast. They live in loose schools to depths of 146 m (480 ft). They are also known to enter brackish and fresh waters, and are common in San Francisco Bay.

DIET IN THE WILDTheir diet includes small crustaceans, crab larvae, and polychaete worms, as well as planktonic copepods, amphipods, fish eggs, algae and diatoms.

PREDATORS: These small fish are preyed upon by other fishes, including kelp bass, sand bass, and halibut as well as by harbor seals. They are caught along almost all shoreline fishing areas, probably the most common fish taken by recreational anglers along the California coast and in estuaries.

REPRODUCTION:Shiner surfperch mate during the summer; young are born the following spring or summer. Fertilization is internal, embryos are nourished internally, and females give birth to about 20 live young. Litter size varies from 4 to 25. Some males are sexually active immediately after their birth. Females grow faster than males. Their live span is at least six to eight years.

CONSERVATION: IUCN Red List  Least Concern (LC)

LOCATION: Tidepool


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fishbase  www.fishbase.org/summary/Cymatogaster-aggregata.html

ADW  animaldiversity.org/accounts/Mytilus_californianus/

EOL eol.org/pages/1012531/overview



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/

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Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Salmoniformes (Salmons)
Family: Salmonidae (Salmonids)
Subfamily: Salmoninae

 Genus/Species: Oncorhynchus tshawytscha

Chinook Salmon aka King Salmon14630212572_bab25a96d9_b

 GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Largest species in the Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus) genus. Max length :150 cm.(59 inches). Max wt. 64 kg (140 pounds). They average 10 to 50 pounds (4.5 to 22.7 kg.
Small black spots on the back and on the upper and lower lobes of the caudal fin, and the black gums of the lower jaw. In the sea are dark greenish to blue-black on top of head and back, silvery to white on the lower sides and belly; numerous small, dark spots along back and upper sides and on both lobes of caudal; gum line of lower jaw black.
In fresh water, with the approach of the breeding condition, the fish change to olive-brown, red or purplish,

Chinook Salmon 14444106928_8b07130949_b

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT:, Native areas include Alaska, Canada, northwestern USA, Russia, and Japan. Introduced in New Zealand, Chile, Argentina, and the Great Lakes along the USA-Canada border. Found in marine, freshwater; brackish; benthopelagic. (swim just above the seabed at depths below about 200 m, 650 feet (the edge of the continental shelf). Benthopelagic river fish are found near the bottom of the water column, feeding on benthos and zooplankton

DIET IN THE WILD: Young may feed on insects and crustaceans. Adults feed primarily on other fishes.

 REPRODUCTION: Onset of fertility 4.0 years. At breeding time, the head of the male is transformed into a ‘kype’, with a deformed, upturned jaw and a hooked nose. Anadromous (migrate from the sea into fresh water to spawn; or, ones that stay entirely in fresh water and migrate upstream to spawn). May also spawn in lakes.
Max age 9yrs.

 PREDATORS: Young are preyed upon by fishes and birds (such as mergansers and kingfishers); adults are prey of large mammals and large birds.

 CONSERVATION: IUCN not evaluated

 REMARKS: The Alaska Salmon fishery of this species has been certified by the Marine Stewardship Council as well-managed and sustainable.

Color of Life note: The salmon’s  rich marine diet gives them their iconic pink hue. Farmed salmon raised on manufactured, aquaculture feed (pellets) tend to have a gray tone. The color pattern of salmon demonstrates countershading, where the dark back and light belly allows the fish to blend into the darker water when seen from above and into the lighter sky when seen from below.

Reference: Shepherd, B. 2015. Color of Life Public Engagement and Education presentation. California Academy of Sciences. March 26, 2015.

 California Coastal Marine


Margarita Upton, Biologist II
Steinhart Aquarium, California Academy of Sciences

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 eol  eol.org/pages/205252/hierarchy_entries/44694307/details

 fishbase  www.fishbase.org/summary/244

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Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Chaenopsidae

Genus/species: Neoclinus blanchardi

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Generally brownish-gray and typically mottled with either red or green patches with extremely large mouths. The dorsal spines possess two ocelli, one between the first and second spines, and the other between the fifth and ninth spines which are generally blue and outlined by a yellow ring. Largest of all fringeheads can growing up to 30.0 cm (11.8 inches) in length.


DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Pacific Coast from San Francisco, California to central Baja California, Mexico.   Demersal, ( live and feed on or near the bottom of seas or lakes) marine environment. They occupy empty shells, abandoned holes and crevices In some areas they even take up residence in old cans and bottles. In fact, in the beer bottle field of Santa Monica Bay, nearly every bottle is a home to a fringehead. 

DIET IN THE WILD: omnivores. 

 Sarcastic FringheadLong

REPRODUCTION:he The female lays her eggs routinely in an abandoned burrow and the male to guards the nest.

CONSERVATION: IUCN Red List; No special status.

REMARKS: N. blanchardi are fiercely territorial at rest in their homes with only their heads protruding. However, upon the first sign of danger, they will employ their enormous mouths and needle like teeth for defense. Initially, they emit only a warning accomplished by the flexing and snapping of their jaws.

LOCATION: Sand dollar exhibit


Animal Diversity Web animaldiversity.org/accounts/Neoclinus_blanchardi/

Eschmeyer, W., O. Herald, H. Hammann, J. Gnagy. 1983. A Field Guide to Pacific Coast Fishes of North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.

fishbase www.fishbase.org/summary/Neoclinus-blanchardi.html

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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…

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Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Cnidaria
Class: Anthozoa
Order: Actiniaria
Family: Metridiidae

Genus/species: Metridium senile

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: M. senile is colored white, cream, tan, orange or brown. Height to 5 cm (2 inches). Tentacular crown diameter to 25 cm (9.75 inches), Up to one hundred small, slender tentacles give a feathery (plumose) appearance.

 Metridium senile 3074666433_ab584596e9_o

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Southern Alaska to Southern California and both Atlantic coasts. Found live in groups of up to 500 specimens per square meter at depths to 166 m (540 feet). M. senile lives on rocks, shells, wood pilings and stony breakwaters in bays and harbors in the low intertidal and subtidal zones. Plumose anemones crawl slowly along the substrate by muscular waves of the pedal disk.

DIET IN THE WILD: Mostly small zooplankton, though they may also eat small benthic polychaetes, fish, and squid.

REPRODUCTION: Protandric hermaphrodite starting life as one sex and changes to the other when it is older. Eggs or sperm develop in the gonads embedded in the mesentery that lines the coelom. They are ejected through the mouth, and when fertilised develop into planula larvae which settle and become juveniles.

They also reproduce asexually by binary fission, budding and fragmentation.

PREDATORS: Nudibranch Aeolidia papillosa (on small individuals), and the seastars Hippasteria spinosa and Dermasterias imbricata, which can eat even quite large individuals.  Attacked individuals may detach and drift to a new location.

Location: California Rocky Coast and tide pool


Walla Walla University: www.wallawalla.edu/academics/departments/biology/rosario/…

eol  eol.org/pages/421495/details 

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Kingdom:Animalia (animals)
Phylum; Chordata (chordates)
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Scorpaeniformes (Scorpionfishes and flatheads)
Family: Hemitripteridae (Sea ravens or sailfin sculpins)

Genus/species: Nautichthys oculofasciatus


GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS:  The tall, first dorsal fin is extended in front of the head as the fish swims  which resembles a sail. Color varies, grayish on top with variously hued markings and occasionally red markings on dorsal fin. Caudal fin rounded, directed upward. A black band runs diagonally down and back through eye . To 20 cm (8 inches).

Sailfin Sculpin14972884586_258b21dea7_h

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Alaska to San Miguel Island, southern California. Habitat: Found at about 90 m (300 ft) most often on rocky bottoms with algae; occasionally seen hanging upside down in rock crevices.

DIET IN THE WILD: Small invertebrates

REPRODUCTION: Female spawns in winter and spring, when eggs are laid on rocks and often among mussel beds. The male guards the eggs.

Sailfin Sculpin

CONSERVATION: IUCN; not evaluated

Remarks: Common derived from the tall anterior dorsal fin which is extended in front of the head as the fish swims  which resembles a sail. Often the sailfin moves back and forth in the same rhythm as the movement of nearby seaweeds. Coupled with its cryptic coloration, this behavior disguises it from predators.


fishbase www.fishbase.org/summary/Nautichthys-oculofasciatus.html

 eol eol.org/pages/204301/hierarchy_entries/44730883/details

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