Cool critters caught on camera!

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.