Whidbey Island Critters

Fish & Invertebrate sightings and descriptions, hosted by resident NWDC ID expert Janna Nichols (nwscubamom).
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Jan K
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Scallop demise

Post by Jan K » Thu Dec 13, 2007 9:17 pm

The recent rain storm was not kind to Whidbey underwater visibility. The water is filled with fine silt. I went to check Langley, it looks like Lingcods are staking out territory, no egg masses yet. At the end of the dive I checked the new Langley acquired floating dock and found that all the Spiny Pink Scallops are dead, their shells gaping open, all the inner organs exposed totally. This batch arrived on the dock attached to its concrete sides. We did not have Scallops at Langley before. I asked couple of marine biologists, and they think that it was low salinity due to the river runoff what caused this. Other marine life on the dock, such as Feather-duster worms, Plumose anemones seem to be OK. Did anybody else observe this at other dive locations?

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Jan K
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Scallops no more

Post by Jan K » Tue Dec 18, 2007 6:50 am

Revisiting the floating dock in Langley. I did not find one live scallop. All the shells are now clean...I miss their colorful smiles .. :pale:

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Post by LCF » Tue Dec 18, 2007 4:40 pm

Interesting that the change of conditions from their former location to Langley was enough that they couldn't survive, when other creatures could. Do you know where the dock was formerly located?
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Jan K
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Post by Jan K » Tue Dec 18, 2007 5:38 pm

I asked two marine biologists about this, and they both think it was low salinity, caused by rain and flooding. Also they mentioned sea cucumbers as being very sensitive to fresh water, and I did not see any of the small White sea cucumbers as I did on my first dive there. But that could be also due to lousy visibility I experienced this time.
The floating dock was purchased in the Spring of 2007 from Bremerton, towed to Port Orchard for short-term storage before being tied to the seawall here at Langley. I was surprised that the docks were not cleaned before being transported, there are chunks of large Vancouver Feather duster worms on it, they also cover all the mooring chains stored now on deck, and they stink up the whole area. The master plan for LAngley Marina doesn't bode well for our diving at Langley Tire Reef.

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Floating docks and scallops

Post by Scott G » Tue Dec 18, 2007 8:31 pm

Jan, cool observation:

I always check out the floating docks when they pick them out for replacement/maintanence... There are always Young of the Year scallops on them (rock scallops in this case) they can settle on them in the summer... but cannot survive so high in the water column when the rain comes.

alot of the estuary dive sites here (Oregon) are quite alive in the summer, but none of the less mobile guys make it through the winter.... we even have the occasional cockle die off in the winter.

Scott

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Jan K
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Elysia hedgpethi

Post by Jan K » Wed Dec 19, 2007 1:36 pm

The weather is not exactly great, but encounter with something new always brightens the day, regardless of the skies above water. Hedgpeth's Sapsucker is not a name which rolls easily off my tongue, but here it is :

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Post by enchantmentdivi » Wed Dec 19, 2007 2:05 pm

OH MY GOSH--sooooooooooooooooooo cool! I am so jealous I can hardly stand it!

Where exactly is Lagoon Point? Access? Currents?

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Post by Jan K » Thu Dec 20, 2007 10:12 am

enchantmentdivi wrote:
Where exactly is Lagoon Point? Access? Currents?


Middle of Whidbey Island on west side, Greenbank. Unfortunately this man made harbor is lined with private homes with floating docks, so access is not open to public. I am using dock which belongs to somebody I know. I change zincs on shafts and keep the props clean... No current, it is way inside and also it is a very shallow dive, max depth @ 18 feet...But I think every marina with floating docks will have similar marine life on its docks..

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Post by LCF » Thu Dec 20, 2007 11:49 am

What incredible eyes you have, Jan! There's no WAY I would have recognized that as being anything but a kelp leaf. What a cool find!
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Post by Grateful Diver » Thu Dec 20, 2007 12:07 pm

What an amazing find ... and awesome photo ... thanks Jan, I had no idea we had anything like that around here ... :prayer:

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Post by nwscubamom » Thu Dec 20, 2007 2:59 pm

Lumpsuckers, Sapsuckers....another thing I NEED to see for myself!!! :)

Jan, gotta order another one of your books - gave my copy away today to a friend who USED to dive in cold water, but now is a warm water diver - but still appreciates PNW marine life, and loves seeing your creations online!

- Janna :)
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Post by Sounder » Fri Dec 21, 2007 2:02 pm

Looks like salad! #-o No wonder I've never heard of it! What a rare find!! :prayer:
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Jan K
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Sand dollars

Post by Jan K » Fri Dec 21, 2007 7:51 pm

If the Christmas shopping left your wallet empty, don't despair. I found a place where dollars litter the sandy seafloor \:D/

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Post by LCF » Fri Dec 21, 2007 11:09 pm

The first time I ever saw sand dollars was at Vet's Park in Los Angeles. They were all up on edge, and I honestly thought some diver had gone through and was playing with them . . . It wasn't until we surfaced that my companions told me they put THEMSELVES up like that! It can't be easy for a flat, discoid creature to upend itself, but clearly they manage.

There are supposed to be some at the Alki Pipeline, but although I like that dive and have done it a number of times, I have never seen any.
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Post by Jan K » Sun Dec 23, 2007 9:36 am

In case you ever wondered how mussels manage to hang onto their spot even in the most turbulent environment - take a note of BYSSUS thread. I found it by accident, one of the mussels was hanging down in space on them. Of course, now I notice them everywhere, although they are not so obvious being tucked underneath their shell ...

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more Elysia

Post by Jan K » Tue Dec 25, 2007 10:22 pm

Looking for shelter from the wind and rain, I revisited the protected waters of Lagoon Point and was rewarded with finding two of the Sapsucker slugs. I was watching as one of them started crawling towards the other and then the hugged. So maybe we will get more of them in the future \:D/

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Post by Grateful Diver » Wed Dec 26, 2007 5:14 am

Talk about holiday cheer ... :supz:

What kind of terrain do these little critters like? I'd love to be able to find one ...

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Post by Jan K » Wed Dec 26, 2007 7:02 am

I found them on pilings with some sea lettuce, (Ulva). David Behrens, the slug expert, reports them from Gig Harbor. As I said before, they are first timers for me here on Whidbey.

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Post by LCF » Wed Dec 26, 2007 9:58 am

Jan, getting a chance to come up to Whidbey and meet, and perhaps dive with (or alongside of) you is very high on my list of things I'd like to accomplish in 2008!
"Sometimes, when your world is going sideways, the second best thing to everything working out right, is knowing you are loved..." ljjames

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Jan K
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Lingcod

Post by Jan K » Mon Dec 31, 2007 7:52 pm

Yesterday I made last dive of 2007 at Langley and found first two Lingcod egg masses of this season.
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I wish everybody here on the NWDC HAPPY NEW YEAR !
What a great group of people...

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Leopard dorid

Post by Jan K » Thu Jan 03, 2008 9:49 am

And the underwater safari goes on in the New Year..

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Post by Grateful Diver » Thu Jan 03, 2008 10:14 am

LOL - this one's great!

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Jan K
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Pink Tritonia

Post by Jan K » Sat Jan 05, 2008 7:54 am

Winds are blowing and rain is falling. In the protected waters of Holmes Harbor, I came across two of the large slugs which are considered common, but which I found only once, single specimen, three years ago at Langley. Finding these two nudibranchs made my day, regardless of the mayhem above the water..
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Post by LCF » Sat Jan 05, 2008 8:50 am

Beautiful photographs, as usual, Jan! I've never seen one of the pink ones.
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Post by Grateful Diver » Sat Jan 05, 2008 5:40 pm

LCF wrote:Beautiful photographs, as usual, Jan! I've never seen one of the pink ones.

That's 'cuz you'll usually find them at places where there's nothing else to see except sand and sea pens ... Seahurst Park, Owens Beach, Steilacoom, and Fox Island West Wall (if you don't find the wall, that's about all you'll see) for example.

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