Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Rock Pools

Today I'm going to expand on why I think that rock pools are often such a disappointment.  They're way oversold by illustrators of children's books who show them to be densely populated micro-worlds stuffed to the gunalls with tiny brightly coloured fish, sea anemones, crustaceans and a myriad of shells. Take the little known but excellent By the Seashore by Maurice Pledger as an example.  In this beautiful touchy feeling book for pre-schoolers there's even treasure in each pool as well!  The reality is so often much different.  Most are inhabited merely with a solitary type of invasive seaweed and if you're very lucky when you lift it up you may just find a dead crab's claw or a solitary shrimp.

Finally, though on the Breton holiday, I found the pools that could well be the source of those fantastical paintings that accompany  fishy stories.  It felt like I might possibly be onto something different when we parked the motorhome at  the Aire de Camping Car at Kervel near Douarnenez where there was a spectacular view of a seemingly endless wide beach.  The bumps on the sand that I had first assumed were rocks turned out to be jellyfish the size of dustbin lids - I kid you not!   And the pools yielded a range of creatures that I've rarely spotted in the wild - hermit crabs, starfish and urchins to name a few. However, the most exciting were strange feisty creatures with a nasty nip that resembled a crab/scorpion/crayfish hybrid   This prime example was snapped by Mr Lovelygrey. Please can anyone identify it for me as I'd love to know if this is a creature that would be familiar to David Attenborough or whether I've discovered an entire new species of my own.  I'd also be interested to find out if it's something deadly poisonous and I had a lucky escape!


  1. Can't help you with that one I'm afraid. I live too far from the sea to know any of the creatures now. I'm better with insects and butterflies - sorry.
    Looks like you found some lovely places to visit

  2. By the look of it, I would suggest 'The Mother-in-law Crab', but I may be wrong!

  3. Thanks Cro Magnon for the suggestion but I can't find the mother in law crab on Google. Might it have another name?