Journey from an Exmoor Stream to the Atlantic Ocean - ROCKPOOL

ROCKPOOLS are pools of seawater that are left behind amongst rocks and sand along the coast. They are formed as the tide retreats twice daily. They can be challenging places for animals to live as they undergo significant environmental changes both in terms of temperature and salt levels. Animals found in these pools are also vulnerable to predation from opportunist seagulls and other fishers so need to have adapted ways of dealing with these challenges. They are, however, fantastic places to explore. One never knows what might be discovered within the weed, under a rock or within a rockpool crevice.

The green or red beadlet anemone (Actinia equina) (<5cm) will attach itself to a rock extending its delicate tenticles to feed.

Common starfish (Asterias rubens)(<20cm) can be found using their thin spaghetti-like legs to crawl along the sand or fasten to a rock face.

An intriguing looking fish- the shanny (Lipophrys pholis)(<15cm) will likely be tucked into a rock crevice, always keeping an eye out for a tasty snack that may appear which it will snap up with it's beak-like mouth.

Other animals that may appear consist of hermit crabs (Pagurus bernhardus) (<8cm) crawling over the sand dragging their acquired shell homes with them.

Shore crabs (Carcinus maenas) (<10cm) are well armoured with their own hard shell and large, powerful claws which they display if danger appears.

Another common resident to the rockpool is the tricky-to spot common prawn (Palaemon serratus)(<10cm). This transparent creature uses its elongated antennae for detecting food and danger. It's 2 pairs of claws are ideal for picking away at edible plant & animal debris.