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marine animals

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Bread Crumb Sponge

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When I was a wee child, my grandma gave me a sponge skeleton that she brought back from vacation. That was my introduction to marine sponges.

Since moving to Oregon three years ago, I've been familiarizing myself with the many species of EVERYTHING that surround me...including the many species of organisms that inhabit the Oregon coast tide pools.  If you haven't visited any tide pools on the Oregon coast, or even on the Pacific coast in general, you're really missing out.  There are so many species that you may miss because the tide pools are just LOADED with life.

One of my favorite tide pool spots is the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area just north of Newport, Oregon.  I had written about it not too long ago.  That's where I was when I captured this photo of a Bread Crumb Sponge (Halichondria panicea ).  This is one of the more common sponges found on the Oregon coast.  At first glance, you might think that it's algae.  It clings to the sides of rocks in the intertidal, looks a little slimy, and can be a variety of colors - green, orange, tan - and the yellow color as seen in this photo.  But upon closer inspection, you will notice little holes upon a tiny bump.  These are the pores of the sponge.  

So when you're checking out tide pools in the future, try to spot these beautiful overlooked organisms!

 

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Piddocks

I have a problem.  I like to collect beach stones.  Many times I've found stones and rocks like this one with perfect holes bored right through them.  Today I found out that there isn't some dude sitting out in a boat carving holes out in his spare time.  These holes are actually created by piddocks, a bivalve mollusk similar to a clam.  One side of the shell has a set of ridges that they use to burrow inside of clay or soft rock. When they die, the mollusk will often wash away but you may find its shell....or just a clean burrow like this one.

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