Tidepool Animal Information

Tidepool Animal Information

The following pages contain pictures and detailed information about some of the animals that are visible in the CNM Tidepools. This information is from a collection of sources, including detailed information from Dr. Bonnie Becker. Dr. Becker started these pages for the e-binder. We have now expanded the detailed pages with her information as well as information compiled by our TPERPs. Some of the definitions used are explained on the next page.

Please note that the links used in the references for the criiters were active when the page was developed. Over time, some of the links may no longer work correctly.

We have also identified the classification of each animal as well as the Latin name. The classification uses the following:

  • Kingdom
  • Animalia (all critters), Protista (algae/kelp)
  • Plantae
  • Phylum (Cnidaria, Mollusca, Crustacea, etc.)
  • Class
  • Order
  • Family
  • Genus
  • Species (common names are great!)


Definition of some terms that are used in these fact sheets:


  • Dead plant and animal matter in various states of decay.
  1. species
  • Shorthand way of writing the genus and species name of an organism. If the genus is written out once, it will be abbreviated by its first initial in order to be more concise. For example:
    Mytilus californianus is a common species on our coast. Other mussel species, such as the bay mussel edulis can be more common than M. californianus in protected coves.


  • Commonly called seaweeds, the larger plant species. In contrast to: Microalgae, smaller plant species, most of which are not visible to the naked eye. Marine angiosperms seagrasses are not algae. They are more like common land plants and are angiosperms (flowering plants), with proper roots and vascular systems.


  • A hard “door” attached to the foot of most snails that allows the animal to close itself tightly into its shell.


  • At the whim of the currents. Planktonic organisms are usually (but not always) small plants and animals that are unable to swim against the currents that carry them.
    • Phytoplankton
      Planktonic plants
    • Zooplankton
      Planktonic animals


  • A hard ribbon lined with rows of teeth used by many molluscs to scrape food off rocks or drill holes in the shells of their prey. Used by some species for defensive purposes.


  • Non-moving. Attached to the bottom.


  • Refers to the book Between Pacific Tides; see the book list for more information.

Last revised 23-Sep-15