Friday, 25 July 2014

Crabs and Critters at Helford Passage

To finish off the Mega Shoresearch weekend in style the Shoresearch volunteers and I drove up to the Helford for a public event called 'Crabs and Critters'. The sun came out and the weather was fabulous. Approximately 40 people joined myself and the Shoresearch volunteers to explore this muddy but highly producive shore on Bar beach next to Helford passage. It was amazing how many species were found and a stream of excitable kids clutching crazy creatures kept myself and the Helford marine conservation group volunteers busy answering loads of questions! Top finds included a beautiful greater pipefish (I think found by Maddie Lydon) some MASSIVE velvet swimming crabs, a very strange looking hermit crab - Pagurus prideaux that lives inside a cloak anemone. Beautiful Calliactis parasitica - hermit crab anemones. Strange jelly like blobs were common in the shallows - I am still trying to find out what these are! 
To round the event off in style we were lucky to be able to meet with Lynda and Simon Filmer, local fishermen who showed us a fantastic pair of large brown crabs! It was a great chance to introduce Cornwall Wildlife Trusts new project Cornwall Good Seafood Guide, which highlights the abundance of sustainably harvested seafood in our county. Lynda and Simon talked to us all about how they catch shellfish using pots and nets and we all saw first hand the power of the edible crabs pinch! 

Thanks to Jake, Chloe and all the volunteers who carried out a timed species search and walkover survey, and thanks to the volunteers from Helford Marine Conservation group for a most enjoyable day! 

Lynda and Simon Filmer of Filmers fish and me with a massive crab!  

Pagurus prideaux in a cloak anemone - a rare find on the shore! 

unidentified jelly blobs 5cm across - eggs? 

Toby with a decorator crab

candystripe flat worm

Calliactis parasitica anmeone (small one) usually these are found on Hermit crab shells

The Lydons with their catch! 

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