Join us for hands-on activities, special talks and opportunities to learn more about the care and feeding of the Aquarium’s fish, birds, tide pool animals and marine mammals during Winter Fishtival! Each day we’ll highlight a different sea animal and activity. Today’s featured animals live in tide pools. Here are some fun and interesting facts about tide pool animals.
There are several tide pool animals at the Aquarium, which include:
Anemones thrive in the wave-swept tide pools of Washington’s open coast and along the quiet shores of Puget Sound. They are simple animals whose hollow sack bodies are open and fringed with tentacles at one end and closed and tightly attached to a hard surface at the other end. An anemone with extended tentacles is ready to trap and eat food. An anemone whose tentacles are folded in may already be eating.
Barnacle-watching is an “on your hands and knees” sport. They are small crustaceans and without careful observation may not even seem to be alive. Look closely. When the doors at the top of the barnacle shell open you see delicate, feathery legs sweep through the water. There are 750 kinds of barnacles throughout the world’s oceans. Twenty-three of those species are found in the Pacific Northwest. Most are called “acorn barnacles” and may range in size from tiny ones smaller than your little fingernail to huge sub tidal barnacles 6 or more inches in diameter at the base.
Sea stars are spiny-skinned creatures that are built on a circular floor plan and walk on suction cup feet. They live only in the sea and their relatives include sea urchins, sand dollars, brittle stars and sea cucumbers. Puget Sound is sometimes called the sea star capital of the world because so many different kinds grow and live in the Sound.
Crabs and their relatives (shrimp, barnacles, lobsters and more) are crustaceans or “crusty ones”. The more than 26,000 different kinds of crustaceans come in all sizes from giant crabs with a 12-foot leg span to microscopic copepods. They all have bodies divided into segments and most carry a shell made of a material similar to our fingernails.
Come visit the Aquarium to learn more about tide pool animals at Winter Fishtival. Tomorrow’s featured animal is the rockfish!