The Facebook group I use to help with marine life identifications has become more popular lately. This has led to some posts that aren’t overly relevant – but can also lead to some serendipitous moments.
An Apollo Bay local say my post about the ascidian at Marengo and contacted me for more details about the location. I wasn’t able to find the specimen again, but used the opportunity to ask for recommendations of other places to look at. The man recommended Browns Creek.
Browns Creek beach is a 1km long stretch of beach that is just past Smythe Creek. We had trouble finding it and I wasn’t even sure we had the right beach when visiting here!
We visited just after low tide. However, it was the ‘higher’ low tide point of the day, and didn’t show the area at its full potential.
We had a lot of lock finding sea anemones and crab carapace. Definitely want to return to explore further
We were exploring Marengo at low tide when I found this awesome looking ascidian under a ledge. I was so excited when I found it; I hadn’t seen anything like it before.
I had a quick look at The Marine Life of South Australia and thought that it may be Botrylloides perspicuus. In reality, I had no idea. Trying to identify ascidians based on a superficial glance at photos rarely works.
I put it on Facebook. Fortunately, there were brilliant minds who were able to help. It was suggested that is was a Synoicum. One person suggested that it was “a lot like Synoicum sacculum, but not the same brilliant red.” Another pointed out that Synoicum bowerbanki had been found at Blanket Bay.
According to Wikipedia, Synoicuma is a genus of colonial sea squirts, tunicates in the family Polyclinidae.
It turns out that is was quite unusual to find an ascidian at low tide. A local normally finds a lot of them in the reefs near Marengo. I’ve yet to explore here, as I’m not a strong swimmer. We tried to return later to get better photos but couldn’t find the spot.
The rockpools seemed different, yet again. Rockpools that had previously been clear had a lot more aquatic plants. We had to visit at the lowest tide of the day to find the interesting stuff.
We had to walk out more than 2/3 of the way to the waters edge. It was at that point where we started to see a lot of seastars. Previously, we had found them in the shallower areas close to shore. These seastars indicated a change in environment.
It’s likely there was more marine life in the areas we ignored. I *may* have gotten distracted by a cool ascidian. I’ll share more about that in a future post 🙂