Mornington Peninsula national park, 77 km south of Melbourne, Victoria. It has the unique marine life diversity that such a region would as it has the Western Port bay frontage from the Cape Schanck side while the northern side has its access to Port Phillip Bay. The park is home to large range of Victorian wildlife from Eastern Grey Kangaroos, koalas, seals and antechinus. Birds are plentiful with the ocean faring species like mutton birds common. Penguins swim ashore in some locales and raptors like the sea eagles can be seen here. But in this blog we want to look at the rock pools and sea life. Its true that ocean life is more sensationalised with whales, dolphins and sharks. However a recent trip with Steve Cook was to in the space of a few hours open my eyes to a wonderful treasure chest of marine life
The low tide withdraws rapidly here. The exposed marine life have adapted to periods of exposure to hot weather. We chose this day after a strong windy day previously with swells.
Hidden under a small rock this banded invertebrate the Sea Centipede, Euidotea peronii.remained still while I took the photo it was only 20mm at the most.
This species of Pebble Crab Bellidilia laevis, was quite charming and again only about 20mm. Hidden in amongst the rock plants.
The Starfish/Seastars have an absolutely amazing ability to survive in rock pools. This is the Eleven Armed Seastar Coscinasterias muricata. The limbs move slowly but with determination. They grasp the surface and can get very attached. The impressive spines can often make you not seen the intricate patterns that occur underneath. Love Seastars.
The cone shells are predators with a toxic barb they shoot out into other marine life. In people it can cause strong pain and as such children need to be warned when collecting shells or rock pooling. While not considered dangerous compared to northern Australian species. This species Conus anemone should be handled carefully.These are a very sought after groups of sea shells across the world.
The view facing Gunnamatta Beach from the region of a walk to Fingals Beach.
This marine Flatworm, phylum Platyhelminthes.was attached to the under surface of a rock in a pool. Simply amazing too look at.
Can you make out the worm?
A relative close up of the starfish.
Seastar Meridiastra calcar are usually brightly coloured seastar common around this region.
Chitons often attach themselves strongly to the under surface of a rock within the intertidal zones.
A species of Shore Crab possibly Brachynotus spinosus seen scurrying within the rock pool.
Difficult to see within the water, the marine centipede rely on their translucent exoskeleton to avoid predators.
A periwinkle remains within its hell exposed to the days heat while waiting for the tide to return.