A few years ago, I introduced the Long-armed Brittle Star (Amphiodia occidentalis).
You can review the earlier post here, but I'm excited to share even better footage of this amazing brittle star in action.
Take a look!
This video is shown in actual time. Note the extremely long, flexible arms of the brittle star; the impressive digging behavior (the sand grains appear to be "boiling"); and close-ups of the tube feet flicking upwards.The tube feet are visible on the under sides of the arms (below the spines) — watch for them especially during the interval at 30-35 seconds.
[If you can't see the video clip below, click on the title of the post above to go directly to the web site.]
蟠 凤 = Pan Feng Village (separately these two characters also mean "coiled phoenix" and are part of an idiom used in a poem by one of the most famous Chinese poets, Li Bai)
It's likely that this float was made in this Chinese village. But where did the float begin its journey in the ocean? We're not sure, but there is another clue. Did you notice the white, lacy animal growing in patches on the float?
See photos above, and here's an extreme close-up:
This is the skeleton of a bryozoan, and thanks to Jim we know that it's Jellyella eburnea, a species associated with warmer water. So although we don't know the entire route of the float and the little ship, it likely spent some time in warmer water (possibly to our south).
P.S. Many thanks to Evelyne, Jim, Megan, and Miho for their assistance with this story!
We were treated to some nice views of dolphins and whales off Salmon Creek Beach today (18 March 2017).
Two record shots of Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops truncatus). They're a bit distant, but it's worth documenting their continued presence in this area:
And we were excited to see a Gray Whale cow-calf pair surprisingly close to shore — within ~100 meters of the beach! The calf seemed to be having fun in the surf. Here it is, upside down, showing its belly and pectoral fins out to either side:
The next view was the underside of the calf's flukes in a wave, headed out to sea:
And here's one more — just the tip of the Gray Whale's flukes carving through the water like a shark fin:
At one point, the dolphins were very close to the whales and it was interesting to think about what kinds of interactions they might have had.
Here's hoping for more marine mammal sightings this spring!