Saturday, May 15, 2010

Fine-Tooth Beachcombing Suma

More treasures from the Suma coast: Jellyfish, shells at the tideline and what I believe is a sea mouse or other member of the marine polychaete worm family.
The sea mouse, Aphrodita aculeata, normally lies buried head-first in the sand and its body is covered in a dense mat of chaetae (hairs) - from which the name "sea mouse" derives. They may grow up to 20 cm and are active carnivores chiefly eating other polychaetes which may be up to three times the length of the sea mouse. The iridescent threads or setae that emerge from its scaled back are one of its unique features and normally these setae have a red sheen, warning off predators. Apparently these fellows are a fairly common site on the coast in the spring and early summer.

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