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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Green eyes and green tentacles

A few photos from the tidal flats in Bodega Harbor (20 February 2012).

View from Doran Beach looking towards the town of Bodega Bay.  Mount Roscoe is in center background.

Can you find the animals in the picture below?

There's a small fish (~4 cm long) camouflaged against the sand (probably a sculpin).  Here's a closer view.  Look at those eyes!

There are also a couple of phoronids (Phoronopsis harmeri, formerly P. viridis) above the fish.  Phoronids are worm-like animals in their own phylum.  There are only 14 species in the world, so we're fortunate to have 2 species on Bodega Head!  

Here are two more photos that show phoronids with their lophophores (crown of tentacles) expanded.  The largest lophophore is ~5 mm across.  These U-shaped, spiraled feeding structures are very distinctive.  If you want to find phoronids, look closely for the small green lophophores in shallow pools on the tidal flats.

P.S.  The other species of phoronid on Bodega Head (Phoronis vancouverensis) is shown in the post from 27 November 2011.  It has white lophophores and is found on outer coast rocky shores.

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