Common Intertidal Organisms of Monterey Bay                               | SeaNet Home | Kelp Forest Index | Mobile Devices |



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Page created by J.M. Watanabe
All images copyright James Watanabe unless otherwise indicated
Contact:  watanabe_at_stanford_dot_edu                                                                                                                                   Last  update: 16 February 2012























High Intertidal Zone:   +1 m to >1.5 m  (+3 to >5 ft)   
Mostly bare rock at upper limits; patchy cover of hearty red algae, barnacles, & limpets
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Chthamalus spp. - acorn barnacle
Balanus glandula
- acorn barnacle
Tetraclita rubescens
- red barnacle
Littorina keenae - large periwinkle
Littorina scutulata -  small periwinkle
Littorina plena - small periwinkle
Chlorostoma funebralis
- black turban snail
Lottia gigantea - owl limpet
Lottia digitalis - finger limpet
Lottia austrodigitalissouthern finger limpet
Lottia scabra
- rough limpet
Lottia paradigitalis
- high shore limpets
Haliotis cracherodii -black abalone, in crevices
Nucella emarginata - predatory whelk
Nucella ostrina - predatory whelk
Acanthinucella punctulata - predatory whelk
Nuttalina calfiornica
- chiton; nestled among barnacles
Cyanoplax - smooth green chiton, under Silvetia
Pachygrapsus crassipes - lined shore crab
Phragmatopoma
- sand-tube worm
 
In Pools
Pagurus samuelis - hermit crab
Oscarella carmelaslime sponge w. no skeleton; on sides & under rocks
Under Rocks
Notocomplana acticola - polyclad flatworm
Pseudoalloioplana californica - brown polyclad flatworm
Ligia occidentalis - isopod
Petrolisthes cinctipes - porcelain crab 

Red Algae
Porphyra perforata - thin ruffled blades, gray-green
Mastocarpus papillatus - dominant; highly variable
"Petrocelis" - crustose tetrasporophyte stage of Mastocarpus
Endocladia muricata - highest band of algae on shore
Mastocarpus jardinii
Mazzaella affinis

Brown Algae
Fucus gardneri  - rockweed
Hesperophycus californicus 
Silvetia compressa 

Green Algae
Cladophorabright green tufts




Mid-Intertidal Zone:     +.15 m to +1 m  (+0.5 to +3 ft)                                                          
High cover of algae & invertebrates; little free space.  Many high-zone species also occur in the upper mid zone.
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Anthopleura elegantissima - cloning green anemone
Anthopleura sola - large green anemone
Anthopleura xanthogrammica - large green anemone
Semibalanus cariosus - large acorn barnacle
Tetraclita rubescens - red barnacle (center of distribution)
Chlorostoma funebralis - black turban snail
Chlorostoma brunneabrown turban snail
Limpets - many cap-shaped snails
Littorina plena - periwinkle
Fissurella volcano - keyhole limpet
Haliotis cracherodii - black abalone, in crevices
Acanthinucella spirata - predatory whelk
Nucella analoga compressa - predatory whelk
Ocinebrina circumtexta - small predatory whelk
Dodecaceria fewkesi - tube worm
Cucumaria pseudocurata - false tar spot sea cucumber
 
Side/under rocks, overhangs
Haliclona - purple sponge
Epiactis prolifera - brooding anemone
Hemigrapsus nudus - purple shore crab
Cancer antennarius - small juveniles
Cirolana harfordi - isopod
Leptosynapta albicans - burrowing sea cucumber
Amphiodia occidentalis - long-armed brittle star
Leptasterias aequalis - 6-armed sea star
Mopalia muscosa - hairy girdle chiton, under rocks
Mopalia lignosa - chiton, under rocks
Serpulorbis squamigerus - tube snail
Nereis grubei - segmented polychaete worm
Phascolosoma agassizii - peanut worm
Pseudoalloioplana californica - brown polyclad flatworm
 

In Pools
Pagurus granosimanus - hermit crab

Wave exposed areas
Mytilus californianus - mussel
Pollicipes polymerus - gooseneck barnacle
Pisaster ochraceus - ochre sea star
Katharina tunicata - black chiton
 
Red Algae
Chondracanthus canaliculatus 
Mazzaella flaccida 
Mazzaella splendens 
Mazzaella leptorhynchos 
Gelidium coulteri 
Gastroclonium subarticulatum 
Corallina - pink erect coralline

Brown Algae
Egregia menziesii - feather boa kelp (wave-exposed)
Postelsia palmaeformis - sea palm (very wave-exposed)

Green Algae
Codium fragile -  dead man's fingers
Ulva spp. - sea lettuce; bright green
Cladophora - bright green tufts




Low Intertidal Zone:   below +.15 m (0.5 ft) to lowest exposed levels 
Rocks covered with multiple layers of algae & sessile invertebrates.
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Acmaea mitra - limpet
Chlorostoma brunnea - brown turban snail
Calliostoma ligatum - brown top snail
Stenoplax heathiana - chiton
Tonicella lineata - lined chiton
Pisaster ochraceus - ochre sea star
Patiria miniata - bat star
Henricia - slender sea star 
Strongylocentrotus purpuratus - purple sea urchin
Pseudocnus curatus - tar spot sea cucumber
Lissothuria nutriens - small red sea cucumber
brittle stars
Serpulorbis squamigerus - tube snail
 
Aglaophenia spp. - ostrich plume hydroid
Corynactis californica - strawberry anemone
Balanophyllia elegans - cup coral
Megabalanus califonricus - acorn barnacle

Many colonial subtidal species also occur in the low intertidal.
tunicates - colonial ascidians
bryozoans - wholly colonial moss animals
sponges - red, orange, yellow, tan crusts
shelled snails - many subtidal species can be found in the low zone
nudibranchs - sea slugs
crabs - cancrid crabs, spider crabs
tube worms
Red Algae - many mid-zone reds also occur in the low zone
Sarcodiotheca gaudichaudii 
Prionitis lanceolata 
Rhodymenia pacifica 
Gelidium robustum  
Pikea californica 
Gastroclonium subarticulatum 
corallines - pink crusts & jointed erect forms
NOTE: many more spp. of red algae occur in the low intertidal & into the subtidal

Brown Algae
Laminaria setchellii - kelp
Macrocystis integrifolia - giant kelp
Egregia menziesii - feather boa kelp

Green Algae

Flowering plants
Phyllospadix scouleri - surf grass
Zostera marina - eel grass; protected sites, mostly subtidal

Page created by J.M. Watanabe
All images copyright James Watanabe unless otherwise indicated
Contact:  watanabe_at_stanford_dot_edu                                                                                                                                   Last  update: 2 February 2012













Browse Rocky Shore Organisms by Taxonomic Group  
Species listed alphabetically within each group. Use back button to return here
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Cnidaria - sea anemones, corals, hydroids
    Aglaophenia spp. - ostrich-plume hydroid
    Anthopleura elegantissima
- cloning sea anemone
    Anthopleura sola 
    Anthopleura xanthogrammica - solitary green anemone
    Balanophyllia elegans - cup coral
    Corynactis californica - strawberry anemone
    Epiactis prolifera - brooding anemone

Echinoderms - sea stars, sea urchins, sea cucumbers, brittle stars
    Amphiodia occidentalis - long-armed brittle star
    Cucumaria pseudocurata - false tar spot sea cucumber
    Henricia "leviuscula"
    Leptasterias aequalis - 6-arm sea star
    Leptosynapta albicans - burrowing sea cucumber
    
Lissothuria nutriens - small red sea cucumber
    Patiria miniata - bat star
    Pisaster ochraceus - ochre sea star
    Pseudocnus curatus
- tar spot sea cucumber
    Strongylocentrotus purpuratus - purple sea urchin

Molluscs - snails, nudibranchs, bivalves, chitons
    Acanthinucella punctulata - whelk
    Acanthinucella spirata - whelk
    Calliostoma ligatum - brown top snail
    Chlorostoma brunnea - brown turban snail
    Chlorostoma funebralis - black turban snail
    Cyanoplax hartwegii - green chiton
    Fissurella volcano - keyhole limpet
    Haliotis cracherodii - black abalone
    Katharina tunicata - black chiton
    Littorina keenae - periwinkle
    Littorina plena - periwinkle
    Littorina scutulata - periwinkle
    Mopalia lignosa - chiton
    Mopalia muscosa - hairy girdle chiton
    Mytilus californianus -mussel
    Nucella analoga compressa - whelk
    Nucella emarginata - whelk
    Nucella ostrina - whelk
    Nuttalina californica - chiton
    Ocinebrina circumtexta - whelk
    Serpulorbis squamigerus - tube snail
    Stenoplax heathiana - chiton
    Tonicella lineata - lined chiton 

Limpets - cap-shaped snails
    Acmaea mitra
    Lottia asmi
- on turban snails
    Lottia austrodigitalis
    Lottia digitalis
    Lottia fenestrata

    Lottia gigantea - owl limpet
    Lottia incessa - on feather boa kelp
    Lottia instabilis
    Lottia limatula - file limpet
    Lottia paleacea - on surf grass
    Lottia paradigitalis
    Lottia pelta - one of the most variable limpet spp. (more info.)
    Lottia persona

    Lottia scabra
    Lottia scutum

Crustaceans - crabs, shrimp, isopods, amphipods
    Cancer antennarius
    Cirolana harfordi - isopod
    Hemigrapsus nudus - purple shore crab
    Ligia occidentalis - isopod
    Pachygrapsus crassipes - lined shore crab
    Pagurus granosimanus - hermit crab
    Pagurus samuelis - hermit crab
    Petrolisthes cinctipes - porcelain crab

Barnacles - sessile crustaceans
    Balanus glandula
    Chthamalus spp.  
    Megabalanus californicus
    Semibalanus cariosus
    Pollicipes polymerus
- gooseneck barnacle
    Tetraclita rubescens

Other Phyla - sponges, worms, etc.
    Haliclona - purple sponge
    Oscarella carmela - aspiculate sponge
    Notocomplana acticola - polyclad flatworm
    Pseudoalloioplana calfironica - brown polyclad flatworm
    Dodecaceria fewkesi - tube worm
    Nereis grubei - segmented polychaete worm
    Phragmatopoma californica - sand tube worm
    Phascolosoma agassizii - peanut worm

Rhodophyta - red seaweeds
    Chondracanthus canaliculatus

    Corallina spp.
    Endocladia muricata
    Gastroclonium subarticulatum
    Gelidium coulteri
    Gelidium robustum
    Mastocarpus jardinii
    Mastocarpus papillatus (incl. "Petrocelis")
    Mazzaella affinis
    Mazzaella flaccida
    Mazzaella leptorhynchos
    Mazzaella splendens
    Pikea californica
    Porphyra perforata

    Prionitis lanceolata
    Rhodymenia pacifica
    Sarcodiotheca gaudichaudii

Ochrophyta, Phaeophyceae  - brown seaweeds
    Egregia menziesii - feather boa kelp
    Fucus gardneri - rock weed
    Hesperophycus californicus
    Laminaria setchellii
    Postelsia palmaeformis - sea palm
    Silvetia compressa

Chlorophyta  - green algae
    Cladophora columbiana
    Codium fragile -  dead man's fingers
    Ulva spp.sea lettuce

Seagrasses
    Phyllospadix scouleri - surf grass
     Zostera marinaeel grass


Page created by J.M. Watanabe
All images copyright James Watanabe unless otherwise indicated

Contact:  watanabe_at_stanford_dot_edu                                                                                                                                   Last  update: 16 February 2012