Keelworm

Animals, Animals (Invertebrates), Coast, Macro Photography, Nature Photography, Photography, Worms

Pomatoceros triqueter

Keelworm (Pomatoceros triqueter)

The tube in which the worm hides at low tide is white and smooth, irregularly curved, hard and calcareous with a single prominent ridge along its back. It looks triangular in cross-section. The worm itself is small with varied colouration,  and has a crown of feeding tentacles. Similar to Pomatoceros lamarcki which has two ridges each side as well as a centre ridge. Tube width 3 to 5mm. Worm length up to 25mm.

Found encrusting and scarring rocks and shells on the middle to lower shore. Discovered on most types of coastline. Common and widespread.


Photograph taken August 2015, Meadfoot Beach, Torquay, Devon. Camera Nikon D3200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens. © Pete Hillman 2015.

Sea Belt

Algae, Coast, Nature Photography, Seaweeds

Saccharina latissima

Sea Belt (Saccharina latissima)

Also called ‘Sugar Kelp’ or ‘Poor Man’s Weatherglass’, this is a long, belt-like brown to olive coloured seaweed with wavy edges and a crinkled centre. Length 4cm.

It grows in deep pools and around the low tide mark, usually on sheltered rocky shores attached to rocks with a small branching holdfast. A common and widespread species.

Photographs of Sea Belt (Saccharina latissima), taken August 2015, in rock pool  Meadfoot Beach, Torquay, Devon. © Pete Hillman 2015. Camera used Nikon D3200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.

Egg Wrack Wool

Algae, Coast, Nature Photography, Seaweeds

Polysiphonia lanosa

Egg Wrack Wool (Polysiphonia lanosa)

A brownish-red seaweed which is tufted and made up of branching filaments which gives it a wool-like consistancy. Length 70cm.

Egg Wrack Wool (Polysiphonia lanosa)

Found middle to low shore, and grows mainly on Egg Wrack (Ascophyllum nodosum) for physical support, known as an epiphyte. It makes use of the hosts buoyancy at high tide so it will gain more sunlight. Common and widespread throughout the British coastline.

Photographs of Egg Wrack Wool (Polysiphonia lanosa), taken August 2015, in rock pool  Meadfoot Beach, Torquay, Devon. © Pete Hillman 2015. Camera used Nikon D3200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.

Toothed Wrack

Algae, Coast, Nature Photography, Seaweeds

Fucus serratus

Toothed Wrack (Fucus serratus)

Also called “Saw Wrack’ or ‘Serrated Wrack’, this is an olive to golden brown seaweed, flattened with a prominant midrib and saw-toothed fronds.  Length 60cm. Frond width 2cm.

Toothed Wrack (Fucus serratus)

Found on the lower zone, it latches onto rocks on more sheltered shores. A common and widespread species.

Photographs of Toothed Wrack (Fucus serratus), taken August 2015, in rock pool  Meadfoot Beach, Torquay, Devon. © Pete Hillman 2015. Camera used Nikon D3200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.

Common Prawn

Animals, Animals (Invertebrates), Coast, Seashore Crustaceans

Palaemon serratus

Common Prawn (Palaemon serratus)

The Common Prawn has large eyes and a translucent body with yellow, brown or reddish stripes. It has an elongate body with a fan-shaped telson (last segment, or appendage of the last segment of the abdomen). It has a large upturned rostrum with 6-7 dorsal teeth and 4-5 ventral teeth. The first two pairs of walking legs bear claws, and have red, blue and yellowish banding. It can move very quickly, and is a very inquisitive creature. Length up to 11cm.

It is a ominvore and it will eat virtually anything from dead animal life, to hunting other invertebrates, and to consuming plant material.

Found on the upper to lower shore, in rockpools, amongst seaweeds and under rocks and boulders. Our commonest prawn, it is widespread throughout. Prawns are a valuable food source, and are of extreme commercial interest.

Photograph of Common Prawn (Palaemon serratus), taken August 2015, in rock pool  Meadfoot Beach, Torquay, Devon. © Pete Hillman 2015. Camera used Nikon D3200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.

Common Blue

Animals (Invertebrates), Butterflies, Insects, Nature Photography

Polyommatus icarus

I usually see these beautifully coloured butterflies in my local fields, but there are distinct differences between the males and the females. The male upper side is bright blue with a strong violet tinge and plain white borders. The female colouration is variable, ranging from rusty-brown to violet with orange submarginal markings. The fringes range from brown to white. Wingspan 35mm.

The caterpillar feeds on Bird’s-foot Trefoil, Restharrow, and a wide range of low-growing leguminous plants. The caterpillars are milked by ants for their honeydew secretions in return for their care and protection from predation.

It flies April to October in two or three broods. Found in rough grassy places, including roadside verges and woodland clearings. By far Britain’s most widespread blue butterfly. Common and resident.

Photographs of female Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus) taken June 2007, July 2010 and July 2011 in local field, Staffordshire. Male taken August 2015, Daddyhole Plain, Torquay, Devon. © Pete Hillman 2007, 2010, 2011. 2015. Cameras used Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W1, Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ38, and Nikon D3200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.

Gutweed

Algae, Coast, Llandudno, Nature Photography, Plants, Seaweeds

Ulva intestinalis

This aptly named bright grass green seaweed forms an inflated, tube-like frond which resembles an intestine. Length up to 80cm.

Found attached to rocks and stones on sandy or muddy shores, in sheltered estuaries and rock pools on the upper shore. A common and widespread species.

Photographs taken April 2013, Llandudno, Wales, and August 2015, Meadfoot Beach, Torquay, Devon.

The Colours of Summer

Animals (Invertebrates), Butterflies, Insects, Nature Photography

Photographs of male and female Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus) butterfly,  taken August 2015, clifftop, Daddyhole Plain, Torquay, Devon. © Pete Hillman 2015. Camera used Nikon D3200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.

Purple Hairstreak

Animals (Invertebrates), Butterflies, Insects, Nature Photography

Favonius quercus

This was the first time I had ever laid eyes on this butterfly. I was on holiday in Torquay, and was walking along the cliff tops when I spotted it flitting amongst the Fennel blooms. I was hoping to catch a photo of it with its wings open for me, but alas it would not oblige. However, I was delighted to see such a beautiful underside.

This is Britain’s commonest hairstreak, and it is mainly found in oak woodland in the south. I was lucky to have glimpsed it, for they are not seen very often as they tend to keep to the tree canopy where they feed on honeydew. The caterpillars feed mainly on oaks (Quercus) of all kinds.

Dog Whelk

Animals (Invertebrates), Coast, Molluscs, Nature Photography, Seashells, Slugs & Snails

Nucella lapillus

The Dog Whelk’s shell is variable in colour, from white to dark brown, yellow or banded. Thick-shelled, it is broadly conical bearing spiral ridges with a short spire. Shell height 3 to 5cm.

It is a fierce predator of mussels, barnacles and other molluscs. It bores a hole into the prey’s shell using its radula. Its digestive juices dissolve the prey and it sucks it up with its proboscis. It produces yellow egg capsules which are fixed in clusters under rocks. It can live for up to 10 years.

Found in all types of rocky shores from the middle shore downwards, on rocks, under overhangs and in crevices. Common and widespread.

Photographs taken April 2014, Llanduno, Wales, and August 2015, Meadfoot Beach, Torquay, Devon.

 

Flat Periwinkle

Molluscs, Nature Photography, Seashells, Slugs & Snails

Littorina obtusata

The colour of the shell of this small snail varies depending on its habitat, and it can be green, orange, yellow, brown or black. There are also banded and chequered patterned forms. The head tentacles of the animal have two lines along them. The shell is finely reticulate. Shell height up to 1.5cm.

Found on the middle to lower shower on large brown seaweeds such as Egg Wrack (Ascophyllum nodosum) and Toothed Wrack (Fucus serratus) on which it feeds. Common on widespread throughout.

Photographs taken August 2015, rockpool, Meadfoot Beach, Torquay, Devon.

Acorn Barnacle

Barnacles, Nature Photography

Semibalanus balanoides

Greyish white in colour, the shell opening is the shape of that of a diamond, whilst surrounding it are six plates. Diameter 5 to 20mm.

Beneath the water the shell opens up to release feather cirri which filter feed on zooplankton. They may live up to 8 years if the conditions are favourable.

Found attached to rocks where they can cover large areas. They also attach themselves to the carapaces and shells of crustaceans and molluscs. Common and the most widespread barnacle of the British Isles.

Photographs taken on August 2015, Meadfoot Beach, Torquay, Devon.