Welcome to the Marine Mammal and wildlife Research and Community Development Expedition blog where you can keep up to date with all the happenings and information from Kenya

Monday, September 12, 2011

All creatures great but small

As part of developing our intertidal surveys today, we went down to the beach at low tide to discover what creatures are living in rock pools and the caves in the cliff at Mkwiro beach. We photographed and then identified everything we found, and discovered numerous species from crabs and sea stars to sea slugs and even very small fish.  Some of the more interesting species of crab were the Box or Shy crab, who has a mottled greenish carapace covered with tubercles and is about 45mm in length and the Spider crab, just 22mm long with a triangular yellow carapace with an elongated rostrum. This species often covers itself with weeds and sponges allowing the crab to effectively camouflage.
The cleverly camouflaged Spider Crab
We were joined by some local interested children who helped us spot a number of different Sea Stars including the Leiaster coriaceus, a cream/ greenish brown colour with red patches and distinctive long, narrow cylindrical and skin covered arms and Brittlestars such as the Ophiocoma scolopendrina with a variable colour and irregularly banded arms. This species is usually found under rocks and boulders with arms extending outwards in order to collect food particles from the water surface. See our next blog for the other interesting discoveries right on our doorstep.

Brittlestars thin limbs collect food particles by waving in the tidal waters