greygirlbeast (greygirlbeast) wrote,

Addendum: A damned thing?

So, during our most recent visit to Beavertail (recounted here, with photos), we encountered a peculiar organism in a high tide pool, among the slabs of phyllite. I had Spooky take a few photos, thinking I would be able to identify it when I got back home. So far, though, no luck. Admittedly, I don't have a lot of resources to draw upon, not here at home, and I've been relying heavily on Kenneth L. Gosner's A Field Guide to the Atlantic Shore from the Bay of Fundy to Cape Hatteras (1978). It was trapped in a very small pool, which contained not much of anything else. My first thought was that it was likely some form of sea weed with which I'm not familiar. possibly a member of the "green sea weeds" (Chlorophyta). Spooky's comment was "Gross," and I have to admit that, yes, it was sort of gross. The main body of the central "polyp," excluding those long terminal "buds," was approximately 16 centimeters long, maybe 1 centimeter in diameter at its widest point. It was motionless, and did not react when prodded. Here are two of the photos:

Right now, I really have no idea what it is. Maybe my first guess was right, and it's some variety of Chlorophyta. I've also considered sponges, cnidarians, bryozoans (it looks a little like the "Rubbery Bryozoan," Alcyonidium spp., though the colour's wrong), polychaete worms, and a number of other groups. It may, of course, be the larval form of some species, or only a fragment of a much larger organism (part of a larger plant, perhaps). But, at the moment, it's got me stumped, and I think, from now on, I'll carry specimen jars with me, so I can get beasts like this under the microscope. All in all, this guy seems as "odd" as anything from the Burgess Shale fauna...
Tags: biodiversity, the sea

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