Since it is still winter, Brooke and me are still snorkeling a lot
|Brooke snorkeling in Sitka|
Here is a nice sea anemone: Urticina lofotensis
Here is another anemone, very common but always pretty, from a Valentine's Day snorkeling trip in Leesofskaia Bay:
For those of you who aren't familiar with the species, it's about the length and width of a person's arm.
I also found a giant nudibranch, Dendronotus iris. I do not see one of those every year.
Otherwise, most of the species I added since January were species that I will probably see again over the course of the year.
The biggest surprise last month was that I had already seen 11 species of echinoderms. Now it's an even bigger surprise to find out that I saw 18 species of echinoderms so far!!!!
One of my echinoderms showed up as a single arm on a fishing hook that had gotten hung up on the bottom. I immediately recognized it as the fish-eating starfish (also known as velcro star) Stylasterias forreri and tossed it into the bait bucket to take a picture later. When I retrieved it from the bait bucket it had attached itself to a couple of bait herring. If a fish is complacent enough to land on its back, this species of starfish is capable of catching it with its dorsal pedicellaria, and eating it. Way to go, echinoderms of Sitka Sound!
|Fish-eating starfish, Stylasterias forreri|
And since we are on the theme of echinoderms, here are a couple more species seen in the past month:
|Henricia leviuscula - the blood star - the other species of Henricia here is rare|
|Six armed star|
|Daisy brittle star - Ophiopholis aculeata|
|Giant pink star - Pisaster brevispinus|
|CUcumaria miniata and Cucumaria pallida - supposedly different species|
|Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis, pale form|