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Saturday, May 25, 2013

Consolation prize

Well, we didn't find what we were looking for today, but near the end of our search at Eagle Cove on San Juan Island, Eric looked down into a tidepool and found this!


This is a stauromedusa.  It's about 1 cm across and attached to a piece of red algae (Mazzaella sp.).  We think it's a species of Haliclystus.

Here's a view from the side:


I don't have many resources with me, so will have to do more research on this species when I return to California.  For now here are a few more pictures of this wonderful animal.



The next image shows the stauromedusa holding a crab zoea (larva) that it had just captured.  You can see the crab zoea's eyes and its spine pointing backwards.  I don't know how often stauromedusae eat crab zoeae, but this one caught at least three while we were watching it today.


I first wrote about stauromedusae in November, so click here to review their anatomy and a little bit about their biology and read more about a different species that we found on Bodega Head last fall.

1 comment:

Leth Benz said...

I think I'm in love ;]