New Aquarium Creature Makes a Splash on N. Oregon Coast
Photos by Tiffany Boothe, Seaside Aquarium
(Seaside, Oregon) – The Seaside Aquarium recently put a new critter on display in its tanks, and the little guy is showing off in a big way. This Red Rock Crab has some remarkably bright colors on his own, but some other creatures have decided to make a moving home out of his exterior – with even more remarkable results.
The crab is now covered in tunicates – which are tiny invertebrates. Hundreds of them line the tubes that pump sea water into the Seaside Aquarium, according to Education Specialist Tiffany Boothe. Some got scoured out of the filters and put into the same holding tank as the Red Rock Crab.
“A few days later we noticed that the tunicates had started attaching to the top of the crabs shell and next thing you know the crab had a full head of tunicates,” Boothe said. “After putting the crab on display one little boy commented that the crab needed a haircut.”
Now the Red Rock Crab is covered in yellow – with a spiked hairdo that vaguely resembles an early 80's punk rocker, or perhaps drummer Questlove with a yellow do.
Boothe said these kinds of crabs are overlooked and much under-appreciated. They do get a bad reputation for being a little aggressive here on the Oregon coast, and maybe for good reason.
“I was wandering through an intertidal area when one jumped out at me,” Boothe said. “And with their robust pinchers they can really do some painful damage.”
She said that young juveniles have some amazing color schemes, often white striped with purple. They are eaten by octopuses and wolf eels, and humans can consume them as well - though there is not much meat in them.
“Tunicates are interesting creatures,” Boothe said. “They can be found as solitary individuals or as colonial masses. Strangely enough the tunicate is our closest invertebrate relative. While in the larval stage they resemble microscopic tadpoles and have a notochord (a primitive version of a spine) but this is lost as they continue to develop. They are filter feeders, taking in nutrients and oxygen from one siphon tube and expelling waste from the other.”
You can see all these and more – and feed the seals – at the Seaside Aquarium. On the Prom, Seaside, Oregon. 503-738-6211.
Keywords: marine biology, cannon beach, whales, seaside, Pacific City, Cannon Beach, Yachats, Depoe Bay, Newport, Lincoln City, Oceanside, Astoria, Oregon coast, science.
More About Seaside, Oregon hotels, lodging.....
More About Oregon Coast Restaurants, Dining.....
LATEST OREGON COAST NEWS STORIES
Back to Oregon Coast
Contact Advertise on BeachConnection.net