When I was young I used to read a comic strip in The Daily Mirror called ‘The Perishers’. Every summer the characters went on holiday to the seaside, and every summer I was absorbed by the ongoing tale of the animals in a rockpool, and their obsession with the annual arrival of ‘The Eyeballs in the Sky’.
In reality, this was the family dog that came and stared in. I’ve always loved taking my own place as ‘the eyeballs’.
What never happens when you go rockpooling is that the first stone you turn over reveals a really great rockpool find.But that’s exactly what happened today with this beautiful Shore Crab.
Crustaceans are always a key part of any rockpooling experience, and there were shrimps and a few of these Hermit Crabs.
Another common seashore crustacean, one that is easily overlooked, is the omnipresent barnacle. I’ve not technically included a photo of any, but most photos here feature them encrusting the rocks.
It’s easy to assume these are molluscs like snails and limpets, but they are actually in the same group as lobsters and crabs.
Limpets look like barnacles, but are actually gastropods, the same group as slugs and snails. Here we have one colonising another.
There were several small fish but they were generally hard to photograph. This little Goby managed to stay still for a minute though.
One of my favourite rockpool animals is the Anemone. Named for the vague resemblance to the flower of the same name, they are related to corals.
The shore was covered with these Beadlet Anemones. At this point they look like 50s horror icon ‘The Blob’, an anonymous lump of red jelly. When the water level gets low, they look like this with their tentacles withdrawn. But once the tide comes back in the tentacles come out and they look more like this.
This is a Snakelocks Anemone, not a Beadlet, and it cannot withdraw its arms. But since it was present in the pools I can include it to show what anemones look like in their glory.
It’s hard in a rockpool. The animals trapped there are vulnerable as the water levels drop, and with nesting gulls around they can must hide and hope to avoid predation.
Not an obvious predator, there were a few Rock Pipits about the beach picking up any little insects in the seaweeds.
At one point a pipit was basically following me along the shore, probably because my big feet were disturbing more flies!
The more he realised I was no threat, the closer he came. At one point he was a mere six feet back.
That’s it from the rockpools. I haven’t done them the justice of identifying all the seaweeds and other algae that form the foundation of the entire habitat, so for that I apologise!