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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Like little jesters' caps?

A close-up mystery photo, taken with a microscope.  Do you have any ideas about what type of organism this is?

I'll reveal the answer to this mystery tomorrow night.

P.S.  Extra credit if you can guess why the structures are red!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Resting on the beach

A beautiful Harbor Seal (Phoca vitulina) pup, 22 April 2017

Remember the mother/pup photos from several years ago?  You can review that post from 14 May 2013 here.

Today and every day

Celebrating Earth Day and science, today and every day!

Thursday, April 20, 2017


Bearded Clover (Trifolium barbigerum), Bodega Head, 19 April 2017

P.S.  Check out the interesting color patterns on this clover's leaflets (on the left-hand side of the photo).  I'm intrigued by the markings, so I did a quick search into what's known about the patterning.  It sounds like they're formally called "anthocyanin leaf markings" and they're known to be linked to certain genes.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017


Pinpoint Clover (Trifolium gracilentum), Bodega Head, 19 April 2017

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Which is which

There was a bit of fog on the coast today.  I didn't get a chance to take a picture, but here's a foggy one from late March 2013:

Although the boundaries in this picture are pretty distinct, today was one of those days when it is hard to tell which is whichwhere the ocean ends and the fog begins.

Monday, April 17, 2017


I was sorting through some pictures from last spring when I encountered this one:

I said to myself, "Huh...do Two-spotted Keyhole Limpets (Fissurellidea bimaculata, formerly Megatebennus bimaculatus) eat sponges?"  It certainly looks like the limpet (relatively small, dark brown shell surrounded by a bright yellow mantle) had been eating the green sponge (Halichondria sp.).  

So I read the species account in Intertidal Invertebrates of California which said this:

"This species often occurs on compound ascidians where the color pattern provides good camouflage.  In the laboratory, Megatebennus has been observed feeding on compound ascidians, and sponge spicules have been found in the gut of specimens collected in the field."

And then I laughed, because the next photo I found was this one:

The Two-spotted Keyhole Limpet above is in the centerwith a dark brownish shell (barely visible) surrounded by a pale yellow mantle.  It's flanked by several compound ascidians, and you can see how well camouflaged it is.

The description in the species account by Don Abbott and Gene Haderlie was spot-on!