Monday 6 August 2012

Butterfish Bonanza

Another weekend, another rockpooling adventure! The destination: Killinallan. Well, the rumour was true of the bountiful butterfish found there.We found about 5 under one patch of sea weed, including one tiny individual. I was also pleased to discover 5 bearded rockling, a fish that I have found can be scarce previously. There were egg bearing worm pipefish, and mum was delighted with her sponge encrusted spider crab. The tide was exceptionally low as a result of the full moon, which brings a spring tide. This is the best time for rockpool enthusiasts, such as us. We are pleased to say that there are now 3 new residents in the visitor centre touch tank. I wonder if you can guess what they are!

Worm pipefish with eggs. Like the seahorse, it is the male pipefish that carries the eggs.

Butterfish Phollis gunellus. This was one of the largest I have seen. They can grow up to 25cm long.

Shore crab. Mum insisted I clamber back over the sea weedy rocks to see this large male.

Common eel. We got excited about this one, as I have only found minute elvers before. Once mature, the adult will migrate to the Sargasso Sea to spawn, and die.

Worm pipefish peeping out from my hand.

5 bearded rockling. The slippy skin and flappiness of these fish make them a real challenge to catch!

Alcyonidium hirsutum. This bryozoan completely covered the Serrated wrack it lives on. Apparently, when submerged, zooids emerge, like tiny sea anemones, each with 16-20 tentacles.

Great spider crab. I have never seen one adorned with so much sponge!

Full Species List

Common prawn
Dahlia anemone
Beadlet anemone
Shore crab
Piecrust crab
Great spider crab
Hermit crab
15 spined stickleback
Worm pipefish
Father lasher
5 bearded rockling
Common eel
Goby sp. (probably sand)
Oppossum shrimp
Sand brittle star
Sea squirt
Sand mason worm
Alcyonidium hirsutum (bryozoan)
Hymeniaciadon perleve (sponge)
Breadcrumb Sponge
Electra pilosa (sponge)
Sponge sp.
Hydractina echinata (hydrioid)