Thursday, July 14, 2016

Wanderings on Cahore Beach #171

From Cahore Point to Wexford town it is almost sandy beach all the way - a lovely pace for a pleasant walk or paddle in the sea. It is one of my favourite places for a walk though the landscape is spoiled a little bit by the presence of so many windmills. Despite the endless sand, there is interesting wildlife to check out, and the marine biologist in me noticed a few unusual fauna washed up on the strand.

The first was was at first looked liked fragmented jelly fish - there were plenty of small pieces lying in a short section of the stand. It turns out these are comb jellies, according to my Hamlyn Guide to the Seashore and Shallow Seas of Britain and Europe, these are sea-gooseberries. Proper name is Pleurobrachia pileus, and grows up to 3cm - about the size of a gooseberry fruit. Its habitat is generally open water and may be found in shoals. Its distribution is from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic, English Channel, North Sea and Baltic Sea. No mention of the Irish Sea in the Hamlyn Guide, but we're not too far from the English Channel and Atlantic. Part of me wished I was a kid and had other kids to pick these up an throw them. 

Further along the beach I came across debris of pieces of crab. This is almost certainly bits and pieces of dead spider crabs (Maia squinado). These are know to congregate in pods - I even wrote a paper about this in 2005 and blogged about it here. This section was less than 10 metres of debris like this, but it is not unusual to find huge piles of dead crab bodies washed up on the beach like this.

Lovin' the sea!

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