Monday, June 30, 2008

Barnacles and Periwinkles: A Day at the Seashore

A scene when the tide was out at St. Andrews-by-the-Sea.

The barnacle is a crustacean which lives in shallow waters of the ocean. The Canadian Encyclopedia states that they have an odd feeding habit as ,"they stand on their heads and kick food into their mouths". The barnacle cements itself to a hard surface and feeds by waving its six legs through the water to filter food from it. Its body is composed of plates , two of which can open and close when the tide goes out and they are not feeding.
The Periwinkle is a species of small sea snail and we found them in abundance when the tide was out. Many of these are now empty shells but when active they move about on a muscular fleshy foot. When the tide goes out they attach themselves to rocks with a mucus film on the bottom of their foot. In this location we found hundreds and hundreds of these shells with a wonderful variety of designs. Above, an empty, red carapace of a crab found along the shore.

12 comments:

Daniel Spurgeon said...

Fascinating! I guess I haven't ever thought of a barnacle as a living organism. Very neat. I also liked the photos of the salt water periwinkles. We have many freshwater periwinkles here in Alabama. We have a few in our aquarium- they attach themselves to the aquarium walls- so we get a good look at their heads. I need to add an article on periwinkles to my site- but I am getting backed up on research of so many cool things around us. Thanks for adding to my wonder and excitement about nature!

bobbie said...

You even make a barnacle look pretty! Seriously, this is a very interesting post. I love beach pictures like these. When I go to the beach I always feel like a little kid, exploring the wonderful shells and stones. Just look at the wonderful shapes and colors under that crab shell!

Mary said...

Another wonderful post! I'd love to be there with you standing on that shore and I like the name of the place! It looks so beautiful! I agree with Bobbie that beaches are wonderful places to bring out the kid in us :-) Your photos of the barnacles are really good and I didn't know all that about how they feed. I didn't realize they had that much color variety. The periwinkles are very pretty, too. Do little crabs move into them when they are empty? That big crab carapace is pretty in color. Very interesting and lovely post!

me ann my camera said...

daniel, bobbie and mary:
I always find the seashore fascinating! But I never seem to have enough time to gather, and collect, and look at all I want. The only trip I ever remember we had as a family when I was growing up was when we went to the coast one day. I could not believe such a world existed!!!

Recently I found a yard sale treasure of a guidebook titled: "Seashells of the Northeast Coast from Cape Hatteras to Newfoundland", by Gordon and Weeks. I am so eager to find a day to just wander with the book in one hand and my camera in the other!! I'm still waiting forthe opportunity when I can devote myself entirely to this dream of a day.
Glad that you all enjoyed the post. And I think its nice to look at barnacles for their beauty and uniqueness.

Becky and Gary said...

WOW, What a neat post! I love the sea. We live so far away though, we never get there. There are SO many goodies to find on a beach walk especially during low tide. As a child I spent many summer vacations with my parents in Maine, and I loved it. Of course back then didn't have my wonderful camera !
Thanks for the beautiful pictures and history lesson too. Great job!

Sandpiper (Lin) said...

These are all so interesting and your pictures are beautiful, as always. The things you found are very different from anything we see here. I'm glad you were able to get to the shore! It looks you had a wonderful day.

the teach said...

Ann, I've never seen any of these up close! Thank you! :)

Kathiesbirds said...

I have never seen a barnacle photographed up that close. I didn't know half that stuff you wrote about! Thanks for educating me! The crab carapace is a painting and a poem in and of itself!

Wren said...

Great post, I love the close-ups of the barnacles. I will definitely look more closely at them the next time!

Mary said...

That sounds like a terrific book...what a great find! I agree that it sounds heavenly to just wander around with the guide book and camera :-)

Eco Enthusiast said...

The barnacles are really a lot more interesting than I thought--thanks for sharing. I love the textures, shapes, and colors of the beach. Your post brings them all to me. Thanks

2sweetnsaxy said...

What a great post and great pics! I've got pics of those barnacle things on the post of a pier but have never seen or been up that close before. Awesome!