Oyster Blog — Tideflat Critters

Dec 17, 2009: Crab Paws

Tideflat Critters

A shore crab was tumbling along the aquarium wall the other day and we noticed that he had funny little hairy patches on the inside of his claws. Then we started paying attention, and we discovered that many of the shore crab in our tank have the same fuzzy claw patches. We did some sleuthing, and found this helpful description of the Purple shore crab, aka Hemigrapsus nudus: Does not live in burrows, as Hemigrapsus oregonensis often does. The chela of males, as of H. oregonensis and P. crassipes, have a prominent tuft of hairlike setae on the palm. So......

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Dec 7, 2009: Eels can swim, too!

Tideflat Critters

So far, the gunnels are our favorite aquarium pet. Everything else is just plain mean. Cutie pie. They’re pretty shy (or, more likely: nocturnal), and normally stay hidden under rocks and shells, but this morning there was an impromptu gunnel play period that lasted a good 20 minutes. Depending on how you look at them, gunnels either have no tail or they’re all tail, and they really make swimming look like a full body workout:   We have several different species in the aquarium. We think the little one in the photo above is a crescent gunnel.  The swimmer is...

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Nov 7, 2009: Species Sleuthing

Tideflat Critters

About a year ago Nathan brought in this strange-looking crab. It was about the same size as a regular shore crab, but it had a much different shape and nobody had ever seen anything like it on the beach. After seeing a photo of a mottled-looking juvenile green crab at the recent Pacific Coast Shellfish Grower's Association conference, we got worried this might be an invasive European green crab. Green crab are bad news and have invaded beaches and estuaries along the Pacific Coast, although they haven't (yet) made it into Puget Sound. So we enlisted the help of some...

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Oct 8, 2009: Tube Worms

Tideflat Critters

We've been wondering what these creatures are for quite some time, and we still don't really have an answer. But we're pretty sure they're parchment tube worms... or at least that name makes the most sense to us. The mysterious tubes, and the animals that make them, prove once again that there's always more to the tideflats than first meets the eye.

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Sep 28, 2009: Sand Dollar Convention

Tideflat Critters

Sand dollars are very social animals.

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