Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Interesting Sightings of the Week

There have been some interesting sightings recently at Haystack Rock. Volunteers and staff have sighted juvenile octopuses, more nudibranch, a red rock crab, and a mottled sea star.


Juvenile cephalopod spotted at Haystack Rock
(Photo courtesy of Stephen Grace)

While it's hard to tell exactly what type of cephalopod this is at this early stage, it's more than likely a Giant Pacific Octopus, Enteroctopus dofleini. The Giant Pacific Octopus has a lifespan of three to five years, which is long-lived for an octopus. 


Opalescent nudibranch among aggregating anemone

Nudibranch continue to be seen. The opalescent nudibranch eat hydroids and anemone, which fight them off with their nemotocysts (stinging cells). Opalescent nudibranchs grow to about 3 in. and live less than a year. 


Red rock crab

When visiting Haystack Rock you may see a red rock crab, cancer productus. This crab uses its pincers to crush barnacles, which it eats. It also eats small live crabs and dead fish. 



Mottled sea star
A mottled sea star, Evasterias troschelii,  was also spotted. These can be found in the intertidal zone and down to 10 m or so. This sea star feeds on bivalves, limpets, barnacles, and snails, among other things. Predators include gulls.

What interesting things have you seen at Haystack Rock recently?


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