Rare Species of our Rockpools

Dahlia Anemone (Urticina felina)

It’s always exciting to go down to the shore and hunt in the rockpools for anything cool and rare. I always get a thrill from finding something new, and I have found the best way to learn about the species we find on our shores is to go out on the shore and see them for yourself!

Starfish

I have been fortunate enough to get out with the rest of the Living Seas team for some surveying along our coast and have found some cool and rare species while out on the shore! 

The Tiny Cushion Star (Asterina phylactica) is a type of starfish, but it does not grow as large as other cushion stars. It is a pale blue-green colour with a distinctive dark or red star-shaped pattern in its centre, with pale tips to each arm. This is a species I found under some rocks in a rockpool at Portaferry! 

The Tiny Cushion Star (Asterina phylactica)

The Tiny Cushion Star (Asterina phylactica)

Sea Toads

The Sea Toad (Hyas araneus) is one of my favourite species that I have found. This crab usually has their shell or carapace covered by encrusting invertebrates and is found among rocks and seaweed on the lower shore and in rockpools. I have seen them around Kilroot and Kearney so far! 

The Sea Toad (Hyas araneus) 

The Sea Toad (Hyas araneus) 

Anemones

A first-time species that I found this year was the Dahlia Anemone (Urticina felina). This anemone has beautiful banded short tentacles, and are typically red in colour, though they can be white, yellow or even purple! 

Dahlia Anemone (Urticina felina)

Dahlia Anemone (Urticina felina)

Why Survey?

It is so important that we go out on our shores and record these species, as many are under-recorded because it takes a lot of work to monitor our marine species. We have to monitor these species because they can be great indicators of the health of our marine environment. It is also good to record our marine species so we can know if any are struggling, or if there are any new invasive alien species on our shores! 

But you can help to make a difference, by recording all of the weird and wonderful species we find on our coastline and submitting your records, and participating in this years Big Rockpool Ramble.   

The Big Rockpool Ramble Guide & Downloads are FREE!

But by making a donation, however large or small, you are contributing to our marine conservation work across Northern Ireland
£