Sunday, January 26, 2014

Of feather dusters and their fashion choices.

The tide was about a quarter of the way out at Boundary Bay a few days ago; good for a daytime tide this time of year. (It will be nice and low next week, but around 11:00 PM, too late, too cold, too dark for beachcombing.)

I was looking for goodies to take home to my hermits; the winter haul, up near the shore, is usually mostly torn eelgrass, with a few shreds of sea lettuce. This time, they were lucky. The eelgrass was plentiful and whole, with roots;  the sea lettuce came in big sheets. And we found a couple of full-size blades of Turkish towel.

The critters are happy now, climbing all over their green and red jungle gym, swinging in the current, nibbling at fluff on the limpets.

I shook out the eelgrass and sea lettuce before I bagged it up, but it still came home with passengers: 9 hermits, umpteen limpets, 5 green flatworms, several scaleworms and many small green ribbon worms. And a dance troupe of skeleton shrimp, which I've been trying to take photos of without disturbing them; they are so fragile!

A couple of smaller worms turned up in the water I'd washed the seaweeds in:

Feather-duster worm.

The bowl it's in is 2 cm. across, so this worm is about 3 cm. long. When I caught it, it was bare, but as soon as it touched a bit of sand it knitted itself a scarf.

Not a bit shy, even when I brushed some of its sand away; it still kept fanning the water, feeding.

The second worm, a bit smaller, showing the pointed tail. This one wears a sand collar, too.

When I dropped these in the tank, they quickly buried themselves up to the neck in the sand, leaving only the feathery top visible.

I found a few of these back in August, 2010. One was much redder than these, but otherwise the same. Some of these feather-duster worms have eyes on the tentacles, up to 1000 pairs of eyes; I couldn't see any here, unless those white spots on the back of the tentacles in the first photo are eyespots. In one of my other photos, the same spots show up looking greenish.



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2 comments:

Powell River Books said...

I can see how they got their name. My Mom used an ostrich feather duster for as long as I can remember. I still have it in the closet as a reminder of her and my youth. Funny the things you keep. - Margy

Susannah Anderson said...

I still have my Mom's long-handled scrubbing brush that she used as a back scratcher.