Oyster Blog — Tideflat Critters

Mar 17, 2008: Hermit Crab with Good Taste in Architecture

Tideflat Critters

Hermit Crab in Moon Snail Shell Fragment   This lovely creature is a Hairy Hermit (Pagurus hirsutiusculus)--a species easily identified by the white bands around its walking legs (which you can clearly see in the middle photo). It came in on the oyster barge and was put back out on the beach after the photo shoot. Hairy Hermits are the most common hermit crabs in Puget Sound. Like all hermit crabs, they make their home in abandoned snail shells. A hermit crab's asymmetrical, unprotected abdomen fits easily into spiral snail shells. Hermit crabs won't kill a snail in order to...

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Mar 13, 2008: Sea Cucumbers. Even wierder than moon snails.

Tideflat Critters

Here are some facts you probably didn't know about sea cucumbers: They breathe through their anus. They have a compound in their skin called catch collagen that allows them to liquefy or melt ( this really great site called it to 'goofipy') on command. They use this skill to escape into small, safe crevices to evade predators. They have a variety of responses to stress. If you poke them with a stick, or hold them in your hand, they'll probably goopify. If you pick them up, put them in a bag, and take them off the beach, they may puke...

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Mar 11, 2008: Dangerous Dungeness

Store News Tideflat Critters

 Spider crab, shown above, are like Daddy Long Legs... they have a really scary outline, but relatively inefficient pinchers. They might make a mark, but they won't take off your finger. Dungeness crab, on the other hand, are super dangerous and more aggressive than a rabid wiener dog. But they're no match for Jim. Here are some pictures of Jim picking a Dungeness crab up out of a slough:     The crab season in the Canal is open only fitfully and mainly to recreational crabbers. Occasionally the Skokomish Tribe will have a commercial crab opening, but for the most...

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Mar 7, 2008: Happy Clam Trails

Clams Oysters Tideflat Critters

  According to the Principia Cybernetica Project's definition of happiness, happy people are characterized by the belief that they are able to control their situation, whereas unhappy people tend to believe that they are a toy of fate. Yet another reason to associate clams with happiness: clams, unlike oysters, can move when they're feeling crowded, bored, threatened by a moon snail, or fed-up with their neighbors. They use their foot:   to drag themselves across the tideflats and to dig a new hole. As you walk across the beach you can see little trails in the sand where a clam...

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Mar 6, 2008: Moon Snail v. Butter Clam

Clams Tideflat Critters

  As mentioned in the last post, moon snails enjoy snacking on native butter clams. Tangent: humans also enjoy snacking on butter clams... they make amazing chowder, fritters, and clam strips. Grandpa Bart likes them sliced in half and deep fried in the shell. But because butter clams require more work than the simple-to-cook and delicious Manila steamer clams, they don't sell well in the retail store. But if you want to try butter clams yourself, let us know and we'll dig some for you! But for moon snails, butter clams make more sense, because they're bigger and meatier than...

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