Many of you have no doubt noticed a bunch of juvie Orange Sea Pens at our regular mudholes, at least down in the South Sound. I've been seeing them at TTN and Redondo, and a TON of them at Fox Island West Wall. And of course with them are their associated predators.
Does anyone know how fast they grow? It seems like quite a while since I remember seeing the 12-24' tall adults, and of the ones that survive it will be fun to monitor them and see how fast they grow. It seems like a good "recruitment" year (if I can use a term commonly applied to Rockfish) for them. I've seem it before, but as with most critters only a few seem to make it to adulthood.
I was surprised to see several Flabellina verrucosa
feeding on the juvenile Orange Sea Pens. I had not observed this before.
I almost missed it, and wouldn't have noticed it except for seeing several in one place, getting closer, and seeing that some of them were going after retracted juvie Orange Sea Pens in the sand.
Of the species I've seen feed on the Orange Sea Pens are Diamondback Tritonia
, Pink Tritonia
, Striped Nudibranch Arminus californicus
, and I I saw a Shaggy Mouse
dog pile on an adult Orange Sea once upon a time. I noticed my first Opalescents of the year here, maybe a dozen or so, but I didn't observe them going after the Sea Pens.
Here's a Diamondback Tritonia going after a juvenile from 2011.
And here's a wild pack of Shaggy Mice taking down an adult [Orange Plumose - correction, thanks for noticing Jan!], shots from 2008 at Harpers Ferry.
It's fun to slow down, observe, and not just see the critter but start to recognize behaviors more and more! Thanks for reading....