Thursday, February 18, 2016

Sea Whip & Atlantic Winged Oysters

Strolling along the cold, windy beach today I found this yellow Sea Whip washed ashore.  I've drawn sea whip before in my journal, but this time it's a little different because this one supports two Atlantic Winged Oysters that had attached themselves to the branch with thin brown wire-like things, apparently made by the animal.   

Around here, sea whip can be found growing in the deep water creeks that run through the marsh behind the island.  I've seen them many times at low tide, swaying in the currents below my kayak.  All the colors grow together, and from above it looks like a magical world.  I know there are crabs that live on the sea whip, but didn't know that these little winged oyster shells (full size is 2.5") use the branches, as well.

As mentioned on the page above, sea whip comes in many colors, including purple, orange, white, red, and yellow.  A fun tidbit: the tiny crabs that live on the sea whip eat the little coral animals in the tiny holes of the whip, so each crab turns the color of the whip it's living on.  

My ride to heaven.


susan hemann said...

lovely drawing!

Helen said...

Thank you, Susan! It's such a joy to be here at the beach and drawing my favorite stuff.