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Sea Critter Observation Essay

1067 words - 4 pages

At eight in the morning, my classmates and I boarded the bus which would take us to Homer and to an exciting adventure down by the beach, Bishop’s Beach to be exact. An adventure to the beach was a wonderful idea , we were all excited about it. After an hour drive from Nikolaevsk School we , the students along with Mr. Klaich, Mrs. Pancratz and Mr. Sellers were greeted by two scientists. Once we were in our gear, (boots, hats, and warm coats) the scientists began their explanation on beach etiquette and the rules. Once everything had been explained, we all set out on our half a mile trek down the beach to the tide-pool area.
At the tide pools, the scientists reiterated "beach etiquette" then we divided into groups, and made everyone within the groups paired up with a partner. Each pair was then given a study sheet with different critters, and then the groups were free to explore the tide pools. Among the many critters observed including sea cucumber, jellyfish, clam worms, etc. the most interest/fascinating for me was the nudibranch and the shield limpet.

My sister, the scientists and I spotted this little critter called a nudibranch in a tide pool.The nudibranch was fairly small, one to two inches long. Its coloring was much like that of a tigers, orange tentacles with black stripes.
Afterwards, we headed back to the rendezvous point for lunch. After lunch, we proceeded to the Island and Oceans Center to learn more about the minus four tides, which are extremely rare for this time of year. Curious about the nudibranch and the shield limpet that I saw in the tide-pools at the beach, I wanted to learn more about these critters so I began researching and discovered the following:

Nudibranchs scientific name is Aeolidia papillosa. It also has several common names like the shaggy mouse nudibranch, common grey sea slug, maned nudibranch and the sea mouse (Cowles, 2008). The classification of a nudibranch begins with the Kingdom Animalia, Phylum Mollusca, Class Gastropoda, Order Nudibrancha, Family Aeolidiidae, Genus Aeolidia and finally Species papillosa (Phipps, Telnack, 2006).

The Aeolidia papillosa is found in the intertidal zones to nine hundred meters below ocean level which means that the A. papillosa (maned nudibranch) is a regular sight among the rocks. They are found from the North Atlantic to France and the North Pacific to Mexico. The maned nudibranch seems to like this habitat because it has a good location for food. The nudibranchs eat many different species of spongi, anemones, and jellyfish. Even though the maned nudibranch has fairly decent territory the life of a nudibranch is full of danger; predators that lurk in the intertidal zone that prey on the nudibranchs (Cowles, 2008). Its predators include different varieties of sea slugs, human collectors and fish who are inexperienced at hunting. Some nudibranchs have cnidae cells, (cells which contain poison) as a form of defense against predators...

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