Monday, 9 August 2010

Sea Mouse, Jellyfish & Crab...

I had never seen or heard about these sea creatures until I saw one at Portobello Beach yesterday and helped to free it from the seaweed it was tangled up in before letting it back in the sea again.

The sea mouse, Aphrodita aculeata is a marine polychaete worm found in the North Atlantic, the North Sea, the Baltic Sea and the Mediterranean. The sea mouse normally lies buried head-first in the sand. It can live in muddy sea floors down to around 1000m.[1]

Its body is covered in a dense mat of chaetae (hairs), from which the name "sea mouse" derives. Its scientific name is taken from Aphrodite, Greek goddess of love. This is because, when viewed ventrally, the sea mouse resembles a human female's genitalia. They may grow up to 20 cm and are active carnivores, chiefly eating other polychaetes, such as Nereis, which may be up to three times the length of the sea mouse.

The iridescent threads or setae that emerge from its scaled back are one of its unique features. Normally, these setae have a red sheen, warning off predators, but when the light shines on them perpendicularly, they flush green and blue. The setae are made of millions of submicroscopic crystals that reflect and filter the faint light of the ocean depths.

Jellyfish, well this one was just so beautiful and shiny ....

The crab.... well it had been some other creatures dinner, but the shell looked like a Venetian Mask I thought!


  1. Very cool! I love the color and texture of these!

  2. How interesting and what fascinating images!

  3. Cool shots, neat texture but I can't help but be squeamish.

  4. I have never seen a sea mouse before. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Very interesting! Thanks for sharing!

  6. I learned something new today.