• Tideflat Mystery

    Open Farm 2013 Wrap Up

    May 31, 2013

    Thank you to everyone who turned out and made the last open farm day of 2013 a shucking good time! We really ‘got into the fat oysters’ on Saturday as an otherwise rainy Memorial Day weekend held back the tempest until the very end of the day for the folks who came out for a […]


    No idea what this is, but couldn’t resist picking it up. httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-lIrVZifGwI Earlier this month we came across one of these worms for the first time ever out on the flats, and we tried to save it to photograph, but it crawled into a mass of mussel byssel threads and escaped. Apologies for the dishpan […]

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    January 8, 2010

    Another mystery from the deep. This one came in on a tub that had been soaking for several weeks at a negative tide level. It was purple and wide eyed, and it could suction itself to the bottom of a bucket like it wanted to stay there. We took pictures of its head. It had horns: […]

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    Species Sleuthing

    November 7, 2009

    About a year ago Nathan brought in this strange-looking crab. It was about the same size as a regular shore crab, but it had a much different shape and nobody had ever seen anything like it on the beach. After seeing a photo of a mottled-looking juvenile green crab at the recent Pacific Coast Shellfish […]


    Tube Worms

    October 8, 2009

    We’ve been wondering what these creatures are for quite some time, and we still don’t really have an answer. But we’re pretty sure they’re parchment tube worms… or at least that name makes the most sense to us. The mysterious tubes, and the animals that make them, prove once again that there’s always more to […]

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    Mystery creature identified! Sort of. According to Jeff at the Seattle Aquarium, it looks like the body of a sea whip, but it may also be the body of a sea pen. But because the thing reminded us of a bull whip, and we have little more to go on, we’re going to call it […]

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    Cousin Jesse pulled this thing up with his shrimp pot yesterday during the last day of the recreational shrimp season. It’s about 5 feet long, and is rigid at the base and flexible at the top, kind of like a bull whip. It’s slimy. It’s not vegetable, and it’s not man-made, and we have absolutely […]


    Mystery solved! To everyone except native Lilliwaupians the blood oyster is known as a rock oyster, or jingle shell. Officially, the animal is called Pododesmus cepio. Other names include Pacific jingle, blister shell, false jingle shell, green false jingle shell, and money shell. Another official name is Pododesmus macrochisma. The bivalve lives in the low […]


    Blood Oyster

    April 16, 2009

    We don’t know what this is. And neither did these three graybeards, who between them have nearly a century and a half of experience in the Hood Canal oyster industry: Nathan is the only one who wasn’t shocked at the bright red bivalve. He said that they grow way out deep and called them “blood […]


    Nathan has converted a spare saltwater tank into a temporary fish shelter where we can store bullheads, eels, and other creatures that accidentally get swept up off the beach with the oyster tubs. The other day he found this amazing orange fish. And while this fish is indeed wild, it’s definitely not a bullhead. In […]


    Spotted Ratfish

    October 30, 2008

    The ratfish is a ridiculous creature. It has the body of a shark, the tail of a rat, the eyes of a lemur, and the face of a rabbit. We found a sorry looking specimen out on the tideflats a couple of nights ago. It was alive, but not at all lively. Ratfish don’t have […]


    The tideflats are full of life… much of it too small to notice. This little guy had lots of personality but didn’t photograph well. Even in person it was hard to tell what was going on. How many legs does it have? Or are those antennae? Could it be a molted hermit crab? The flatfish […]


    Drill Snails

    May 16, 2008

    Mystery solved! And it wasn’t actually that great a mystery. The egg cases below were laid by a drill snail, a voracious oyster predator. The beautiful orange drill snail in the middle of the photo is native to the Pacific Northwest… the two drab-looking snails on either side of it are non-native Japanese drill snails. […]

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    Sand Dollars Revisited

    May 12, 2008

    Pictured here is the Eccentric Sand Dollar, Dendraster excentricus, also known as the Pacific or West Coast sand dollar. The name ‘eccentric’ sounds intriguing…and makes you want to hang out with the scientist who came up with it…until you learn that it just refers to the fact that these little guys have an ‘off-center’ pattern. […]


    Strange Rubbery Things

    April 25, 2008

    Does anybody know what these are?