Oyster Blog — Tideflat Critters

Nov 3, 2010: Clamwood

Clams Tideflat Critters

Here we have the inspiration for the movie tremors.  Teredo clams are worm-shaped clams that use shell-shaped jaws to chew through wood.  Because these clams do  look an awful lot like worms, and perhaps because the idea of a wood eating clam is too strange to believe, people refer to these animals as shipworms or termites of the sea. But no. These are marine clams that eat wood, creating something called wormwood. Here's a teredo clam, with its worm-like body and head of shells:  A special enzyme allows the clams to digest cellulose, but most species supplement this wooden diet with planktonic protein. The clams line...

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Oct 13, 2010: Another Stressful Day on the Oyster Farm

Tideflat Critters

We were worried sick we wouldn't be able to get a good photograph of an inquisitive seal. And we didn't. But here's what the seal probably looked like:

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Oct 8, 2010: Dried Starfish Collection

Tideflat Critters

Some of these are out of focus. Amateurs. A sunflower star. Clearly he wasn't dried on purpose, otherwise we would have done a better job. Big guy. Trust us on this one: it takes a long, long time to dry the stink out of a dead sea star.

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Aug 12, 2010: Crocodile Pliers and Mystery Worm #4

Tideflat Critters

Barnacles with a sense of humor took it upon themselves to decorate someone's lost pair of pliers to look like a sea monster: And while on a beach walk today we discovered a particularly disgusting, previously unknown (to us), and brilliantly red worm: Fortunately, biologist Dan Cheney with the Pacific Shellfish Institute just so happened to be on our beach conducting a vibrio study. He saved us a huge google headache by identifying the red worm as an intertidal nemertean, aka an orange or primitive ribbon worm, aka Tubulanus polymorphus. According to Western Washington University's Field Guide to the Salish...

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June 24, 2010: The Grinch

Tideflat Critters

Erin found this little guy last month while hunting geoduck.  He's green, fuzzy with hair, and very crabby.  We did a little sleuthing and decided that he's likely a helmet crab. According to this site, helmet crab live in the north Pacific and are rarely found south of Puget Sound. They live out deep (low intertidal to 110 m)  in eelgrass beds and rocky areas covered with algae.

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