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Collected Other Invertebrates of Chiniak Bay

Mottled Anemone

Photo of a mottled anemone
The mottled anemone, Urticina crassicornis, ranges from the Pribilof Islands, Alaska, to central California, and it is found in low intertidal and subtidal zones to 30 meters. It feeds upon a wide variety of organisms including gastropods, chitons, crabs, sea urchins, mussels, and fish.
Scientific name: Greek urtica or uro(a nettle, to burn); and Latin crassus (thick, heavy) and corneus (horny).

Daisy Brittle Star

Photo of a daisy brittle star
The daisy (or mottled) brittle star, Ophiopholis aculeata, is circumpolar, ranging from Point Barrow, Alaska, to Santa Barbara, California. It occurs from the intertidal zone down to 2,000 meters where it prefers a fairly strong current. They are difficult to find because of their nocturnal behavior, but live in communities of sponges, bryozoans, encrusting coralline algae, and in areas with rocks and shell debris for protection. Daisy brittle stars capture prey in the water column with their tube feet or by picking detritus off the bottom. They bring the food from their rays to their mouths in the center of their discs. Legs are regenerative.
Scientific name: Greek Ophi (belonging to, or like a serpent, snake), pholis (a horny scale, armed with scales), and aculeatus (furnished with spines or prickles).

Lined Chiton

Photo of a lined chiton
The lined chiton, Tonicella lineata, is in the family Tonicellidae and ranges from the Bering Sea and the Aleutian Islands, Alaska to southern California. It is found both in the intertidal and subtidal zones, common on rocky surfaces. Their pink color camouflages them in their preferred habitat on rocks with encrusting coralline algae. They graze the encrusting coralline algae removing diatoms and other organisms, including bryazoans and crustaceans, along with the upper layer of the coralline. Predators of these chitons include the purple sea star, the six-rayed sea star, harlequin ducks and river otters.
Scientific name: Greek tonos (something stretched, a brace, a strain) and cell (diminutive); and the Latin lineatus (lined, marked with lines).

Orange Sea Cucumber

Photo of an orange sea cucumber
The orange sea cucumber, Cucumaria miniata, is in the family Cucumariidae and is found from the Aleutian Islands, Alaska to California in low intertidal and subtidal zones down to 225 meters. This sea cucumber lives wedged between cobble or boulders, hanging on with its tube feet, and is reported to prefer areas of strong currents. Being a suspension feeder, it catches plankton and detritus from the water column. To remove food from its tentacles, it curls them to its mouth and scrapes them clean.
Scientific name: Latin Cucumis (cucumber, name of sea plant with the smell of cucumber) and miniata (colored with cinnabar or vermillion).

California Sea Cucumber

Photo of a California sea cucumber
The California sea cucumber, Parastichopus californicus, in the family Stichopodidae, is found from the Gulf of Alaska to Baja California, Mexico in the low intertidal zone down to 249 meters. This is the largest sea cucumber on the West Coast, up to 20 in length when it is relaxed. When it is feeding this species is mobile, having tube feet on its ventral surface. Twenty tentacles at the anterior end of the body secrete a substance which aids in the capture of detritus and small organisms on sand and rock bottoms. The California sea cucumber is harvested commercially in Southeast Alaska and Kodiak, and south along the West Coast.
Scientific name: Greek Para (beside, parallel) and kentron (a point, spine), sticho (often denotes a row of rod-like processes), and californicus (belonging to California).

Green Urchin

Photo of a green urchin
The green urchin, Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis, in the family Strongylocentrotidae, is a circumpolar species, distributed from Artic Alaska to Washington State. It is found from the intertidal zone down to 130 meters. Along with large algae such as bull kelp, green algae, and laminarians, they scrape diatoms and coralline algae off rocks. They are harvested commercially for their roe, which is a delicacy in Japan.
Scientific name: Greek strongly (round, compact), kentron (a point, spine) and Drobak (a fiord in Norway where it was first described).

Shag-rug Nudibranch

Photo of a shag-rug nudibranch
The shag-rug nudibranch, Aeolidia papillosa, (also known as a sea-slug), is a mollusc in the family Aeolidiidae. It ranges from as far north as Cook Inlet, Alaska, from central California, and it is found in low intertidal and subtidal zones. The shag-rug nudibranh is not common in our area. They eat sea anemones such as the mottled and plumose sea anemones. Their secretions serve to discharge the anemone's nematocysts before they start to take bites from the anemone's column. The Order Nudibranchia are carnivores and are often brightly colored, which serves to warn away predators. Some species apparently secrete sulfuric acid, which makes them distasteful to predators. Nudibranchs are also hermaphroditic, both male and female at the same time.
Scientific name: Greek aiolos (quick moving, flexible, changeable, variegated); and Latin papill (nipple, pimple).


Photo of a pandalid shrimp
These pandalid shrimp from top to bottom are the spot shrimp, Pandalus platyceros; the sidestripe shrimp, Pandalopsis dispar; the coonstriped shrimp, Pandalus hypsinotus; the northern shrimp, Pandalus borealis; and the humpy shrimp, Pandalus goniurus. The pandalid shrimp live mostly in the subtidal zone as adults; the northern shrimp lives as deep as 1,380 meters on soft mud bottom. The genus Pandalus has a boreo-artic distribution in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. In the Pacific Ocean, the species listed above generally range from the Bering Sea, Alaska, to California. These arthropods eat polychaetes, small crustaceans such as amphipods and euphausiids, limpets, and other shrimp. They are protandric hermaphrodites, which means they are first males, then become females. All shrimp pictured above are commercially important.

Kodiak Clams

Photo of Kodiak clams
Clams are molluscs, and the clams pictured above were all dug from the beaches of Kodiak Island. From the top, clockwise, are the Pacific littleneck clam, Protothaca staminea; the truncated softshell clam, Mya truncata; the eastern softshell clam, Mya arenaria; Nuttall cockle, Clinocardium nuttallii; and the butter clam, Saxidomus gigantea. The Pacific littleneck and and eastern softshell clams are intertidal species, whereas the others are in the intertidal as well as subtidal zones. Butter and littleneck clams are popular for subsistence or home use and are harvested commercially. The eastern softshell clam is not indigenous to the West Coast, having been introduced from the Atlantic. Most of these species range from the Bering Sea, Norton Sound, and the Aleutian Islands in Alaska to California and Baja, Mexico, except the truncated softshell clam, which ranges from the Beaufort Sea, Alaska to Washington State. Clams burrow in the substrate, some shallower than others depending on their siphon length. The Nuttall cockle and the littleneck are both shallow burrowers, barely covered with sand or gravel; the butter clam burrows to a depth of 12 inches. Predators include the sea stars, Dungeness crab, octopus, and sea otters.

Photographs by Jan Haaga and Erik Munk

To view more photos of fish, invertebrates, marine mammals and more, visit the Alaska Fisheries Science Center's MultiMedia Gallery.

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