What’s In the Tidepools? – October 2021
It’s tidepool season again! As we move into lower and lower tides, we will resume monthly posts with all the fun things our wonderful TPERPers spot out there.
Crabs normally undergo routine molting throughout their lifecycles. Occasionally, parts of their outer shells will wash up, including exoskeletons of their legs. This one was found inside of a sea anemone.
This is a Yellow Umbrella Slug, part of the Nudibranch family. It was discovered in Zone 1 by a visitor. Hundreds of varieties of nudibranchs exist, and it is always fun to see an uncommon one in the tidepools.
It’s rare for visitors and TPERPers alike to see California Spiny Lobsters up close, other than when their molts wash up on shore. In this photo, it’s easy to see why female lobsters are considered fierce predators in the rocky intertidal zone with claws and hooks on the last pair of legs. They are typically called pincers. The pincers aid in depositing and tending to her eggs which are kept on the underside of her tail.
California Sea Hares are commonly found in the tidepools. Look for these, as well as the Black Sea Hare, seen mainly in Zone 2. Also be on the lookout for blobs of “spaghetti,” which will be their eggs.
Tar balls from the recent oil spill in Orange County have started to show up in the tidepools. It’s important that you do not touch or move these blobs of tar. The rangers are recording their locations and communicating with the cleanup team. Contact a ranger if you notice a significant change in the amount of tar washing up.
Now that low tide season is here, it’s important to remain vigilant about the dangers of the bluffs. warn visitors if they are too close to the cliffs about possible collapses. We want to make sure both the visitors and you stay safe during a tidepool experience.
The boat that crashed in mid-August is still below the hump along the Coastal Trail. TPERPers, please keep an eye on things around the boat until the tides can break it up and it gets removed from the tidepools. Also try to steer visitors away from the boat while answering any questions they might have.