I recently took a trip to Cumbrae, a small island off the west coast of Scotland. All creatures great and small were plucked from pools and dredged from the depths, and I present the following highlights for your viewing pleasure.
First up we have the green paddleworm Phyllodoce lamelligera
And here it is extending its proboscis, most likely as a result of the stress of being on camera
Next we have Limacia clavigera, a nudibranch (sea slug)
Then there’s my favourite: Ophiocomina nigra, a brittlestar. Its black colouration obscures the pentameral symmetry of its central disc, a body pattern so pervasive that its mouth is bordered by five jaws
Our penultimate aquatic invertebrate is a sea spider, Pycnogonum littorale
And finally we have a tardigrade of the genus Macrobiotus: looking at such powerful, aggressive behaviour you can easily tell how the group has earned the nickname “waterbears”
So with summer coming up, think twice before booking that Caribbean cruise: a rainy and cold Scottish coast might be much more beautiful!
PS. I should point out that none of the above were collected, identified or photographed by me: thanks very much to those who did the hard work.