Two small oval shaped pink slugs with pink soft spikes

What’s In the Tidepools? – March 2022

Green plants on a hillside overlooking the ocean among a blue sky.

What’s In the Tidepools? – March 2022

(NPS Photo/T. Woods)

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 keep contributing 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?

You can find videos on the Tidepool Videos page.

Here are some highlights from this month!

Multiple McDonald’s Dorids have been spotted recently in the tidepools. Higher populations of this species generally coincide with El Nino events (warmer water temperatures).

This chiton is located between 2 volcano barnacles. Normally chitons become more active as the tide comes in, in which they consume multiple varieties of algae.

A flat oval shaped snail between two thumb sized volcanoess
NPS Photo/D. Raetzman – Chiton found a home between two volcano barnacles.

Boring clams are normally found in between the mid intertidal and deeper waters. Their valves and shells occasionally wash up into the tidepools, as they become easy prey when exposed.

A flat clam shell with an opening in the end.
NPS Photo/M. Rose

California moray eels can grow to be up to 5 feet long and live for over 20 years. Juveniles hide in the intertidal zone but are not commonly seen, especially with their entire body out.

NPS Video/N. Cheng

While banded brittle stars are often hiding under rocks because they prefer dark spaces, this one was seen on top of algae in Zone 1. These animals are scavengers, and like their name implies, have flexible, brittle arms.

A striped star with long thin arms
NPS Photo/N. Cheng

Marine biologist Lauren Pandori believes this to be a moon jellyfish. Moon jellies, found in most of the world’s oceans, are over 90% water and pose no threat to humans.

A whitish clear circular blob
NPS Photo/N. Cheng

Marine biologist Lauren Pandori also helped us identify this as a species of flatworm. It was less than an inch long and moved similarly to a nudibranch. If anyone knows the species name, please comment below.

A long white cylinder with brown spots about an inch in length.
NPS Photo/N. Cheng

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