Saturday, May 31, 2014


An absolutely perfect day for the beach......and some more grooved clam shells to add to the mystery.
The ones below were found at Schmitz Park beach in West Seattle.  One had limpets on the outside of the shell and narrow grooves on the inside.  A few others had worm tubes attached to the shells that left marks where removed but not real grooves.  So we are no nearer to the answer to the mystery except that our octopus expert does not see this as the work of an I'm dropping that suspect.  
Just to keep things interesting a jellyfish showed up with what appears to be 10 in color and only palm size.  Will need some work on the keys to figure this species out as our common Fried-egg Jellyfish has 16 lobes and the Red Sea Blubber has 8.  

Opalescent Sea Slugs are showing up on Moon Snail sand collars along with their well as the green eggs of the green polychaete worm Phyllodoce williamsi.

Worm tube from inside clam shell with some shell material on tube

Grooves on inside of clam shell #1

Limpets on outside of clam shell #1

Worm tube on outside of clam shell

Same clam shell as above with worm tube removed

Grooved clam shell with perhaps partial Moon Snail drill hole at top

Grooved clam shell with out of place Moon Snail partial drill hole (groove at upper right)
Green worm eggs on sand collar (Phyllodoce williamsi)

Jellyfish species unidentified with what appears to be 10 lobes

Same jellyfish as above swimming

Opalescent Sea Slugs on sand collar

Purple Sea Star with wasting disease...possibly healing?

Sunday, May 25, 2014


Last week I had the great pleasure of having lunch with Dr. Eugene Kozloff one of the world's most respected scientists in the world of marine invertebrates.....he is also an authority on plants of the northwest coast, baroque music and a long list of other areas of study.
Dr. Kozloff was my professor of marine zoology at the University of Washington Friday Harbor Labs in  1975.  He retired from active research last year at age 93.  As always he continues to be the great teacher, and was the inspiration for me to end up teaching marine biology at the Seattle Aquarium.
In the image below you can see that he is still instructing me...This time a lesson on the stupidity of ever getting on that usual his lesson fell on deaf ears....

Monday, May 12, 2014


After all these years on the beach I was under the false impression that I actually knew something....I doubt it.  We have come across two mysteries that as yet nobody we've asked has been able to solve.
First are these clam shells with interesting grooves in them......sort of look like ditches made by a run amok "Bertha" but more likely another mollusk using the radula.  So far my best guess is a drunken Moon Snail.  We have top people working on this mystery.
The second mystery is solved.  The mollusk in the bottom image is a Slipper Shell.  Still not certain the species as there are a couple of similar ones around, but Crepipatella dorsata is the call.

Grooved Butter Clam shell (drill hole at top is from Moon Snail

Clam shell with multiple grooves

Slipper Shell (Crepipatella dorsata)

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


California and Steller Sea Lions are all but gone from Puget Sound.  Headed south for the mating season.  The Brant Geese have pushed through on the way north to nesting grounds and large numbers of migrating Surf Scoter ducks are currently resting off Alki for the trip north to Canada and Alaska.
The stay at home River Otters greeted spring with real the mating pair in the images will attest.  In addition a number of species of shorebirds and currently on the migration north.
Finally, May 4th was the one day opening of shrimp lots of fun follies to watch.
Mating River Otters

More River Otter frolics


Surf Scoters

Surf Scoters


Shrimp Opening

Shrimp Opening follies