Round green disks with white pointed cylindrical tubes that radiate from the edges.

What’s in the Tidepools? November 2021

People standing along a tan rocky shoreline.

What’s In the Tidepools? – November 2021

(NPS Photo/D. Wieder)

Our dedicated volunteers at Cabrillo National Monument take photos of the exciting flora and fauna down in the tidepools! We want to try and capture the wonderful photos that volunteers are taking in the tidepool area. This blog post is published on a monthly basis, but we need your help. We encourage you to contribute by submitting your memorable photos and/or short videos to These can be of tidepool critters, fauna, bluff collapses, sunsets or anything you consider special. Make sure you include who took the photo and the location, if possible. Will you help?

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.

Here are some highlights from this month!

An assortment of pinnipeds can occasionally be seen from the cliffs above the tidepools. Normally they are sunbathing or searching for food. Remember that they are wild animals and all visitors should keep distance from them. Luckily these are in the closed area of the park north of the Spur Trail.

Seals and birds on flat rock at the ocean's edge.
NPS Photo/J. Hunt

Brittle stars are the most mobile echinoderms. Flexible arms are used for crawling or clinging. This star was observed in Zone 2 and was only the size of a quarter.

The lateral arm spines provide traction. their habit of breaking off arms as a means of defense. New arms are easily regenerated.

A reddish orange sea star in shallow water
NPS Photo/M. Chin-Purcell

A myriad of brown pelicans was spotted at low tide. Pelicans are social and gregarious animals, and were removed from the Endangered Species List in 2009.

A group of pelicans in ocean along rocky coast.
NPS Photo/D. Wieder

Part of a California Spiny Lobster was found inside an anemone.

Our Marine Biologist, Lauren Pandori, says Anemones are pretty opportunistic in what they chose to “eat” and often catch things that aren’t digestible. They will often grab things they can’t eat, and will “spit them out” (this is in quotes because they have a single digestive opening) shortly after grabbing them. For example, I have seen an anemone engulf a snail, and the snail has come out ~ 30 mins later unscathed. 

A round green disk with white pointed cylindrical tubes that radiate from the edges.
NPS Photo/D. Wieder

Yay! A marriage proposal!! There have been many proposals at the park.

Meet Charlotte. A young girl found this rock, named it Charlotte, washed it, cared for it and protected it while she visited the tidepools. She knew she couldn’t take it home and wanted to leave it for others to enjoy, so she found Pauline and handed it to her.

A hand holds a gray flat oval shaped rock.
NPS Photo/D. Wieder – Charlotte
NPS Video/R. Adachi

Mysids are little, shrimp-like, omnivorous crustaceans that feed on algae, detritus and zooplankton. Mysids are cultured in laboratories for experimental purposes and are used as a food source for other cultured marine organisms. They are sensitive to water pollution, so are sometimes used as bioindicators to monitor water quality used to test for pesticides and other toxic substances.

More gorgeous sunsets!

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