A fish hides in the Cornish rock pools

Lazy Sunday rockpooling

This time of year when the roads are busy and the beaches packed, the summer can feel anything but relaxing. It’s Sunday today and we’re taking it easy, so what could be better than a stroll to a local cove that’s a bit off the beaten track for a spot of quiet rockpooling. Starfish, sea slugs, fish and stalked jellyfish await me. 

Going slowly and looking at the seaweed can reveal some beautiful encrustations of sea squirts and bryozoans
Going slowly and looking at the seaweed can reveal some beautiful encrustations of sea squirts and bryozoans

It’s always a good idea to move slowly in the rockpools and today I have nothing to rush for. By staring at the seaweed for a very long time, I begin to notice more details and my eye is drawn to a stalked jellyfish. The blobs between the arms are primary tentacles, suckers that the jelly can use to move around.

Stalked jelly Haliclystus ocroradiatus showing its primary tentacles (blobs between the arms)
Stalked jelly Haliclystus ocroradiatus showing its primary tentacles (blobs between the arms)

A little further on I find another species. This one doesn’t have the blobs between the arms and is flecked with pale spots, which contain stinging cells.

Stalked jelly - Lucernariopsis campanulata
Stalked jelly – Lucernariopsis campanulata

As I look for more jellies, a white blob just a few millimetres long catches my eye. It’s a tiny sea slug, a baby Polycera quadrilineata. It has a wonderfully feathered pair of rhinophores on top of its head and various yellow appendages around its mouth and bushy gills.

A tiny sea slug, Polycera quadrilineata, on the move
A tiny sea slug, Polycera quadrilineata, on the move

These slugs usually have yellow lines on their back, but this one is more blotchy with black lines and patches among the yellow, a common variation.

The sea slug (Polycera quadrilineata) crawls onto my hand
The sea slug (Polycera quadrilineata) crawls onto my hand

As I take photos it crawls onto my hand.

Up close you can see its amazing headgear (rhinophores)
Up close you can see its amazing headgear (rhinophores)

Among the coral weed in the next pool I find an Asterina phylactica cushion starfish. It’s big enough to be brightly patterned and poses nicely for me.

A cushion star - Asterina phylactica - among the coral weed
A cushion star – Asterina phylactica – among the coral weed

 As the tide pushes in I wander back up the shore to re-join the boys. They’re looking under a rock and find a large shanny. It lounges in my hand, calmly taking us in. Cornish Rock Pools junior releases it back into the cool water. Our Sunday rockpooling amble complete, we drift home in the sunshine to laze some more.

The shanny Cornish rock pools junior and his dad found
The shanny Cornish rock pools junior and his dad found

 

Not all Cornish beaches are busy in August!
Not all Cornish beaches are busy in August!
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2 thoughts on “Lazy Sunday rockpooling”

  1. If I’m honest that’s my kind of Cornwall, the quieter version. So when I venture down there I often go “out of the main holiday season”. I like to do sound recordings too so we know it makes sense.

    They are certainly wonderfully coloured creatures which lurk under those Cornish waters too.

    Best Wishes

    Tony Powell and naturestimeline

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Tony. I know what you mean. Much as I love running big events, it’s wonderful to visit a quiet cove with no-one else around and have time and space to explore quietly. You never know what you’re going to come across in the pools. I think they should prescribe rockpooling for stress, there’s nothing more relaxing.

      Liked by 1 person

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