Life in the Littoral Zones

Life in the Littoral Zones

by Leuba Ridgway


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Any life form found on shores of oceans, bays, lakes or rivers


28 items (100 per page)

  • Cystophora torulosa

    01 Jun 2018-38.4,145.1Leuba Ridgway

    This attractive sea weed had a zig-zagging tough central stalk with small densely clustered bladder like blades, arising at points in the zig-zag. Some blades had a bifurcation. The whole body of the seaweed was a brownish green with dark brown tinges. Said to grow in the low intertidal and shallow subtidal rocky reefs with moderate wave action, to depth of 10 m. Spotted along the high tide mark on a sandy shore, along with other sea weeds - Western Port Bay

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    1. David Francis  Cystophora torulosa added.

      Reply • 06 Jun

  • Gloiosaccion brownii

    01 Jun 2018-38.4,145.1Leuba Ridgway

    This pale reddish brown elongated sac-like structure with a club shaped tip and narrow base is part of a red seaweed which grows in a clump, attached to the sea floor by a discoid holdfast. The inside of the bladder appears to be filled with mucilage. This bladder was about 50 mm long. This seaweed can grow up to 16 cms in length. The outer walls of sacs growing in rough waters are said to be thicker than those in calm waters. The secretory cells lining the inside of the sacs produce highly viscous mucilage. Spotted along the high tide mark along with other sea weeds on a sandy beach - Western Port Bay. Occur in Seagrass beds upto a depth of 20 mts.

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    1. David Francis  Gloiosaccion brownii added.

      Reply • 06 Jun

  • Haswellia emarginata Sphaeromatid Isopod

    03 Oct 2014-38.5,145.2Mark Ridgway

    Found trapped in a small pool of seawater at low tide on rocks. These are very fast and always keen to remain in shadows. About 9mm long; others in the area suggest high variability in colour and pattern. Sphaeromatid isopod...

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    Cathy Powers starred this.

    1. David Francis  Species name added, Mark.

      Reply • 06 Jun

  • Limonium australe var. australe Yellow Sea-lavender

    12 Feb 2012-38.2,145.3Mark Ridgway

    Ground covering clambering winding to 600mm high; strings and clusters of small yellow flowers (new) and papery white+brown calyces. Found in very sandy soil just 'above' high tide level - a foreshore with mangroves. Threatened species. Very attractive en-masse. Native to the south-east coast of Australia including Tasmania inhabiting salty marshes and mud flats. Family: Plumbaginaceae Common Names: Yellow Sea Lavender

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    David Francis starred this.

    1. David Francis  Great obs. First record of this species for NS.

      Reply • 29 May

  • Codium pomoides Sea-apple

    19 Mar 2013-38.4,145.1Mark Ridgway

    Found on a broad sandy beach facing the Southern ocean this very firm, moist, velvety dark green ball was washed up. I have seen them before but never thought much about them. A bit larger than a golf ball, very slightly translucent, very dense like it was full of water, tough yet velvety. Chlorophyta : Bryopsidophyceae : Bryopsidales : Codiaceae Apparently they can be up to 120mm dia. and are composed of a single cell which can repair itself if damaged. It appears fluffy underwater.

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    David Francis starred this.

    1. David Francis  What the ...? I'm familiar with the common Codium fragile which does look like a sea-weed, but this is a new one to me!

      Reply • 29 May

    2. David Francis  Codium pomoides added

      Reply • 29 May

    3. David Francis  Probably looks more green colour when fresh/submerged.

      Reply • 29 May

      • Mark Ridgway  Yes it actually looked a little greener than this. My cam at the time hated greens.

        Reply • 29 May

  • Thylacodes sipho Common Worm-shell

    25 May 2018-38.0,145.0Leuba Ridgway

    This coiled thin shell with pale orange bands is that of a marine gastropod/snail that lives in a coiled tube. The snails resemble tube worms (polychaetes) because of the structure but are in a different family. The tube is usually cemented to other structures. Unlike other snails, this species does not have an operculum or lid.

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    Cathy Powers, David Francis, and Lorraine Phelan starred this.

    1. David Francis  How interesting! Reminds me of the tube-worm Galeolaria but it is in a completely different phylum. I would never have guessed it was a mollusc.

      Reply • 29 May

    2. David Francis  Thylacodes sipho added.

      Reply • 29 May

      • Leuba Ridgway  Thanks David. I thought it was a tube-worm too...Interesting isn't it ?

        Reply • 29 May

  • Caloplaca spp.

    04 Oct 2012-38.5,145.2Mark Ridgway

    This little patch of lichen was on rocks just above the high tide mark. It would have been getting full sun for most of the day and in spite of it's soft fluid appearance it was really quite tough. It was surrounded by other lichens, one that looked like splattered white paint and one which was very black and even tougher. About 50mm across. Maybe Caloplaca thallincola ??

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  • Hormosira banksii Neptune's Necklace Sea Grapes

    04 Oct 2012-38.5,145.2Mark Ridgway

    These were growing in a small nature reserve on a rocky shoreline just inside the mouth of WesternPort. Greenish brown-algae made of strings of hollow, water-filled, round beads on a short stalk. Each bead has a smooth surface except for an even array of tiny tubercules (containing reproductive cells) and is about 12-15mm diameter. The strings might be up to 200mm long and many strings may grow from a single base. Sometimes called sea grapes.

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  • Paracaudina bacillis Caudinid Sea-cucumber

    07 Aug 2012-38.4,145.1Mark Ridgway

    This creature had just been left among the detritus at high-tide mark as the water began to recede. It seemed that it was beginning to dry out in the sand. 150mm long and about 60mm diameter, cylindrical but tapered both ends; very small 'mouth' opening at one end; pale cream coloured to pale orange at the 'head' end; felt very firm but dry to touch; some minor wrinkles covering most of the body (could be from beginning to dry out?) These might be the most non-descript creatures I can think of - ventral, dorsal, lateral views almost indistinguishable!

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    1. David Francis  Paracaudina bacillis added.

      Reply • 29 May

    2. David Francis  A strange-looking creature related to the sea-urchins but without the spiny skin. Has radial symmetry which makes it different to the higher animals which have bilateral symmetry. Nice observation!

      Reply • 29 May

      • Mark Ridgway  Thanks. It seemed to exist in a whole different time-frame to us. Ever so slowly flexed it's body while I carried it back to water. Yes very strange things.

        Reply • 29 May

  • Nerita spp. Nerite Sea-snail (genus)

    11 Mar 2013-38.4,145.1Mark Ridgway

    Many of these were found on small rocky areas near an ocean beach at low tide. About 20mm diameter, mostly matte black. Ocean/bay beach on a small patch of sedimentary rocks. No operculum was found nor live specimens so species ID is difficult.

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    1. David Francis  Nerita melanotragus (syn: N. atramentosa) added.

      Reply • 29 May

      • Mark Ridgway  Hi David. I just chatted with Audrey Falconer and Simon Grove who treat them as two species. Unfortunately my pic doesn't have the information to distinguish - an operculum with either black or brown colouration. :-) Can I therefore ask a favour to add Nerita sp. - thanks.

        Reply • 29 May

    2. David Francis  Nerita genus added (Nerita spp.)

      Reply • 30 May

  • Amphibolis antarctica Sea Nymph Wire-weed

    04 Sep 2015-38.4,145.1Mark Ridgway

    Thousands of these small plants were being flushed through the tiny, intertidal channels. They had a sharp, tought, spiny foot which was superb for latching onto rocks and sand. Some would then work their way into the sand as the water pulsed them back and forth. Each was about 60mm long. Sublittoral zone, near the mouth of a large open bay. The bay is generally very shallow with clean sand floor but receives a decent flush of southern ocean water via some very deep channels.

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  • Fungi spp. Fungi

    19 May 2017-37.8,148.5Mark Ridgway

    This small fungus was found in sand just inside the mouth of the Snowy River. It might have developed from some other buried substrate but the nearest plant life was a few metres away. Viscid, mildly conical, mustard yellow cap, gills free, spore possibly brown (see pic 2). About 16mm across About 30mm tall. Resembling a yellow version of Mycena interupta.

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  • Haematopus longirostris Australian Pied Oystercatcher

    15 Jun 2017-37.6,149.7Mark Ridgway

    These three Pied Oyster Catchers were working the wet sand on the shoreline searching for food items. The gulls were following and watching closely for ideas or morsels that might escape the OCs. Quite a team.

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    1. David Francis  I'm surprised that the Oyster Catchers allow the gulls at their table!

      Reply • 29 May

      • Mark Ridgway  The gulls displayed exceptional skill at maintaining three beaks distance. :)

        Reply • 29 May

      • Mark Ridgway  Thanks for doing the names David.

        Reply • 29 May

  • Electroma papilionacea Common Butterfly-shell

    25 May 2018-38.0,145.0Leuba Ridgway

    A bivalve with paper-thin shells and about 40 mm wide. It had broken orange bands radiating from the umbo (where the valves are hinged). A very fragile specimen that was surprisingly intact despite being blown about in the wind. The slightly flared part of the shell near the umbo (on the Lt side in Pic 1) is called the auricle or wing, giving the species it's common name.

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    Mark Ridgway, Cathy Powers, and David Francis starred this.

    1. David Francis  So beautiful and delicate! E. virens added.

      Reply • 29 May

      • Leuba Ridgway  David, I am sorry to do this to you. I have just been informed by an expert from Tasmania that E. virens is no longer the accepted name. It is now Electroma papilionacea. Could this be rectified please.

        Reply • 29 May

    2. David Francis  Electroma papilionacea added. Would you please update the name, Leuba.

      Reply • 30 May

  • Goniocidaris tubaria Thorny Sea Urchin

    06 May 2018-38.5,145.2Leuba Ridgway

    This slate-pencil sea urchin would have been about 50 mm across. It had probably just died and been washed ashore - still had most of its short thick primary spines and smaller needle like secondary spines. The primary photo is of the top side (aboral) and the second is of the underside (oral) with the mouth in the middle. Just visible in pic 4 is a triangular white tooth-like structure in the centre which is part of a complex dental apparatus called the "Aristotle's Lantern". The shorter spines were a deep red and the thicker ones were paler, some with deep red ridges. It is possible that a few long ones were broken at this stage. Spotted on the rocky ocean shore -low tide mark on the south coast. (Phillip Island)

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    Cathy Powers, Michael Gooch, and Mark Ridgway starred this.

    1. Cathy Powers  Leuba - if I could triple star this, I would. Great compilation of images and information.

      Reply • 10 May

      • Leuba Ridgway  Thank you Cathy. I was really excited to find this one with spines intact. I absolutely love marine invertebrates.

        Reply • 27 May

    2. David Francis  Goniocidaris tubaria added. Another great marine species for NS. Maybe we should start a marine species group.(Seashore Species?)

      Reply • 11 May

      • Leuba Ridgway  Thank you David. Sorry for the delayed response. We should start a group. i am sure there would be others with some good specimens. I have a few more to post..

        Reply • 27 May

  • Pyura stolonifera Cunjevoi Sea Squirt

    13 Aug 2012-38.4,145.1Leuba Ridgway

    Sea squirts/ tunicates/ascidians which appeared like clumps of collapsed "sand-crusted" sacs stuck to a sea fan. Each sac had two openings with scalloped edges - one on top and the other to the side (inhalant & exhalant siphons). The sacs seemed to have a reddish tinge. The inside of each sac had organs which were red in colour with a brown segment towards the base (pics 3 & 4). The organs seemed to be covered by mucilaginous substance. Commonly also called Conjevoi.

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    Cathy Powers and Mark Ridgway starred this.

    1. Cathy Powers  How amazing - and really nice image!

      Reply • 29 Apr

    2. David Francis  Pyura stolonifera added to db.

      Reply • 29 Apr

    3. David Francis  Nice additional images of dissected individual showing internal organs.

      Reply • 29 Apr

    4. Leuba Ridgway  Thank you David

      Reply • 09 May

  • Aulactinia veratra Common Green Anemone

    22 Mar 2018-37.8,148.7Leuba Ridgway

    The anemone was about 50 mm with tentacles extended and floating in the water. Tentacles were numerous, translucent but dark green in colour and had pointy ends. The oral disc was covered by sand and therefore not visible. Where the anemones were out of water, they looked like dark clumps studded with sand grains. Partially submerged anemones (pic 3) were interesting in that the submerged part had extended tentacles and the exposed part was curled up displaying a sand encrusted column. Long striations could be seen in the retracted column which was the same colour as the tentacles. Spotted in rock pools - rocky intertidal zone (Cape Conran)

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    1. David Francis  Name added to db https://natureshare.org.au/species/aulactinia_veratra (new name).

      Reply • 04 Apr

    2. Leuba Ridgway  Thank you David.

      Reply • 04 Apr

  • Brachidontes rostratus Beaked Mussel

    22 Mar 2018-37.8,148.7Leuba Ridgway

    These mussels were about 40 mm long. The purple shells had black rims with thin curved lines. They were seen in clusters and were of varying sizes. Spotted on exposed rocks - rocky shoreline in the intertidal area ( Cape Conran, Victoria)

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    1. David Francis  Brachidontes rostratus added.

      Reply • 30 Mar

  • Galeolaria caespitosa Intertidal Tubeworm

    22 Mar 2018-37.8,148.7Leuba Ridgway

    This mass resembling worn coral was about 10 cms across. On the surface were crescent shaped structures which were the open ends of calcareous tubes constructed by tubeworms. They have clustered together and probably grown on a snail, completely enveloping it and forming a hard mass, as suggested by Audrey Falconer(Marine Research). The mass was partially covered with sand but red algae could be seen growing on the mass. The tubes are built by annelid fanworms from the family Serpulidae. The worms have branchial crowns in two lobes, one of them has a stalked operculum (lid). The branchial croown form the gills and also helps to capture food. The worm lives within the tube and retracts into the tube when in danger or when the tide is out, pulling the operculum down tight to shut the opening of the tube. A dense mass of tubes can form a microhabitat for other marine creatures. My thanks to Audrey Falconer ( Marine Research) for identifying this mass. Spotted in a rock pool in an intertidal zone of a rocky shoreline ( Cape Conran, Victoria). These tubeworms are seen from Southern Queensland all along the southern coast to Western Australia.

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    1. David Francis  Galeolaria caespitosa added to db. Location doesn't completely rule out the morphologically identical Galeolaria gemineoa, separated by DNA studies. See http://portphillipmarinelife.net.au/species/11175

      Reply • 30 Mar

      • Leuba Ridgway  Thank you for adding the ID to the database David and your message. Prior to posting here I sought help from the Marine Research Group of The Field Naturalists Club of Victoria. Audrey Falconer (an expert on Marine Invertebrates) provided me the ID. Also given the location where it was found, I believe the species to be correct. I also checked the Port Phillip marine life web site as it's very useful.

        Reply • 30 Mar

  • Meridiastra calcar Carpet Sea Star Eight-armed Cushion Star

    22 Mar 2018-37.8,148.7Leuba Ridgway

    An eight-armed carpet sea star with greenish grey colouring. The arms showed some red along the margins. The body pattern included small white scalloping and the central disc was a beautiful green. The arms were well defined ending in thick rounded tips. This sea star was about 50 mm across. Spotted in a rock pool - intertidal rocky shore (Cape Conran) facing the Bass Strait. They occur all around the Australian coast.

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    Cathy Powers and Mark Ridgway starred this.

  • Sypharochiton pelliserpentis Snakeskin Chiton

    22 Mar 2018-37.8,148.7Leuba Ridgway

    A mollusc with a flattened body and eight distinctive overlapping plates that protect them from predators and crashing waves. This chiton was grey-green in colour, about 63 mm x 35 mm. The girdle encircling the plates had a snake-skin like appearance giving it the common name "snakeskin chiton". These chitons were found along with barnacles, attached to the side of a rock in an intertidal rocky shore (Cape Conran) off the south coast of Victoria facing the Bass Strait. This species is said to prefer rock surfaces in the mid-tide region, rather than under rocks in lower -or sub-tidal zones.

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    Chris Lindorff, Cathy Powers, David Francis and 1 others starred this.

    1. David Francis  Sypharochiton pelliserpentis added to the db.

      Reply • 30 Mar

    2. David Francis  Barnacle family, Synagogidae also added.

      Reply • 30 Mar

  • Cephaloscyllium laticeps Draughtboard Shark Swellshark

    22 Mar 2018-37.8,148.7Mark Ridgway

    Found at low tide in a rocky channel this egg-case was well attached by the tendril at one end to something below a covering of sand. Also known as Swellshark or Draughtboard shark. The case was about 250mm long, squared at one end and tapered to a point at the other. Each end had two long, curly tendrils. The shark is a benthic zone species native to Australian waters. A very similar and related species is found in New Zealand.

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    Cathy Powers and Mark Ridgway starred this.

    1. Lorraine Phelan  Is it an egg case?

      Reply • 29 Mar

    2. David Francis  Cephaloscyllium laticeps added to database. Nice to see marine species.

      Reply • 29 Mar

  • Corallina spp. Coralline Red Seaweed

    25 Feb 2018-38.3,144.3David Francis

    A coralline red seaweed washed ashore from deeper waters. The jointed stems contain lime/calcium absorbed from sea water. The bleached, calcareous skeletons of Corallines are commonly found washed up on beaches.

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    1. Leuba Ridgway  Nice one !

      Reply • 29 May

  • Hormosira banksii Neptune's Necklace Sea Grapes

    25 Feb 2018-38.3,144.3David Francis

    Huge masses of this well-known brown seaweed covering rocks at low tide. Two pictures.

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  • Hydroclathrus clathratus

    20 Jan 2018-38.4,145.1Leuba Ridgway

    A brown algae with a thallus (body) with multiple holes of varying sizes. The algae is said to be about 10 cm in diameter. But in the one that was washed ashore it was a loose mesh like a woolen hair net. The whole mass was compressible and soft. Found on the inter-tidal zone off Western Port Bay (Balnarring Beach). They are said to grow in the tidal zone. 'Hydro' = water, 'Clathrus' = mesh This species forms dense mats.

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    1. David Francis  Hydroclathrus clathratus added. Great to see some marine biodiversity!

      Reply • 27 Jan

  • Aplysia sydneyensis Sea Hare

    20 Jan 2018-38.4,145.1Leuba Ridgway

    This sea slug would have been about 5 " in length. It had mottling of cream and brown. The ear-like sensory clubs or rhinophores and oral tentacle were withdrawn and the usually extended side flaps called parapodia were flipped back. The mantle and atrophied shell could be seen (pic 5) as a reddish radiating structure. I have the expert Mattt Nimbs to thank for the ID. He says "Definitely Aplysia. And yes probably A sydneyensis, there is a wheel like pattern of radiating stripes on the mantle that sits over the vestigial shell: a distinguishing characteristic of sydneyensis"

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    1. David Francis  Aplysia sydneyensis added.

      Reply • 27 Jan

    2. Leuba Ridgway  Thank you David.

      Reply • 01 Feb

  • Zonaria spp.

    20 Jan 2018-38.4,145.1Leuba Ridgway

    A small clump of brown algae (Phaeophyceae) with flat dark lower branches and twisted paler tips. Spotted on a tidal zone - Balnarring beach ( Westernport Bay). My thanks to Janine Baker for identifying the genus. Possibly Z.spiralis

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    1. David Francis  Zonaria spp. added. (NS adds the group/plural name: spp. = set of all Zonaria species).

      Reply • 27 Jan

    2. Leuba Ridgway  Thanks !

      Reply • 01 Feb

  • Thuretia quercifolia

    20 Jan 2018-38.4,145.1Leuba Ridgway

    A dense clump of pale orange seaweed (red algae) with oak-leaf shaped fronds/thalli. Washed-up onto the beach off Westernport Bay (Balnarring Beach). This species gets it's name "quercifolia" fro the oak-shaped fronds. It is reported that this is a common and distinctive species found in deep waters in the rough-water coasts of southern Australia. My thanks to Janine Baker for the ID.

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    1. David Francis  Thuretia quercifolia added. I was surprised to discover that the Red Algae are separated from the Green and Brown Algae at the Kingdom level!

      Reply • 27 Jan

      • Leuba Ridgway  Thanks David. I have to read about these everytime to refresh my memory. I have several others but might be difficult to identify them.

        Reply • 01 Feb