Waihi beach wash up

17 April 2014

Waihi green and pink algae

A low tide visit to Wahi Beach revealed some exciting discoveries, from fresh green sea lettuce and vibrant red sea sponges, to a dead eagle ray and a small shark head. Here are some photos I took when we returned from the beach.

Waihi chunky orange sea sponge

Sea sponges…

Waihi tall orange sea sponge

Sea squirts or sponges? The most vibrant red.

Waihi red sea sponges or squirts

Unusual purple – pink looking sea sponge.

Waihi pink sea sponge

We carefully washed and investigated our finds, some of the pieces of algae had started to dry out, but we soon discovered that a moment in the water and they softened again. We washed off sand, and looked at the ‘new species of shell that we have never found before!’ (as Luna so excitedly declared) which we found to be fine enough to capture air and stay afloat, while other heavier shells sunk to the bottom of the container.

Waihi floating sea shells

Luna and Blake enjoyed spending the afternoon washing and experimenting with their finds, lots of fun!

Waihi fine dried sponge on bivalve

I was most interested in these older, drier bivalves that had bleached white sponges growing from them, in what appears to be a parasitic relationship.

Waihi fine dried sponge on bivalve 2

They are like delicate antlers, so fragile and fine.

Waihi fine dried sponge on bivalve 3

What was amazing, is the difference in size, the small shells that the sponges appear to sprout from were around 10 – 20mm in size, while the sponges were all over 100mm. Bizarre and beautiful.

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