Monday, June 06, 2005

Under The Sea (Sometimes)

I was worried that I wouldn't have any good pictures to show you from this weekend. Going into Sunday, it had rained pretty solid for 5 days, and when it wasn't raining, it was gloomy and overcast. So when the sun finally showed it's face again on Sunday afternoon, I headed off to the beach to get some pictures for my loyal readers. These shots all come from the Quick Point Nature Preserve at the southernmost point of Longboat Key. I just happened to get there at low tide, so I was able to walk out on the flats and shoot some of the wildlife that's normally on the bottom of the bay.

The above shot is the business end of a sea urchin. You don't normally see this end, but I wanted to show you the little mouth under there that does all the damage.

This little crab is in disguise, trying to look like a sponge covered rock instead of a tasty morsel for a passing predator.

You may not be able to tell from this shot, but this giant whelk is a foot long and almost 6 inches across. You can tell he's been around a while from the barnacles encrusting his shell. He's so big that when you flip him over, he has a hard time getting back inside his shell.

I thought this was just another interesting shell when I took the photo. I even picked it up and put it into my pocket to take home. Imagine my surprise later that night when I found out the shell wasn't empty. There was a small hermit crab living deep inside there. I have to carry him back out to the beach tonight, if he survives the day in my sink.

There were lots and lots of these little snails, the name of which escapes me. They are really much more colorful than this picture shows.

Last but not least is this odd-looking fellow. I think it's a sea slug, but I really don't know. There were a pair of them out there, and I was almost afraid to touch it. You never know what sort of response you're going to get from an unknown creature. (Update 20 June 05-I think this is a chocolate chip sea slug.)

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