Category Archives: HWY 1 (Pacific Coast Highway)

Critters of Crystal Cove: Green Sea Anemone

anemone

green sea anemone

Tucked away but hardly nondescript, the green sea anemone waits like a lovely flower.  Its adhesive foot or pedal disc anchors it to rock or coral while its tentacles spread to welcome its prey.  Urchins, fish, crab… any that wander close enough will be stung with a paralyzing neurotoxin and guided into the sea creature’s mouth.

anemone on rock wall

The green sea anemones we spotted in Crystal Cove can be found along North America’s west coast from Alaska to Baja California.  They receive their vibrant coloring from a symbiotic relationship with green algae:  The anemone provides a safe environment for the algae’s photosynthesis; the anemone in turn makes use of the sugar and oxygen that are byproducts of the process.

Crystal Cove State Park Map and Visitor Information

Crystal Cove State Park; Irvine, California
3 miles of Pacific coastline with underwater park plus 2300 acres of bluffs and wooded canyons!
Hiking, biking (single track mountain & dirt road), fishing, kayaking, surfing, and “tidepooling”!

Directions: Just off of the Pacific Coast Highway (Hwy1) between Corona Del Mar and Laguna Beach. Easy access via I-5, 405 & 73.

Admission: Daily State Park Fee (good at multiple state parks on same day): $10 / Annual Pass: $125

Weather Conditions: 949-494-3539

Historic District Cottage Rentals
Park Website

View Crystal Cove in a larger map

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Critters of Crystal Cove: Mossy Chiton

mossy chiton 2

rocks and waterCrystal Cove‘s tide pools fill with surprises twice daily as the sea retreats. As the water wanes, citizens of the sea become tenants of the Cove. Some race for crevices, others adhere to rock faces, sidling low to access what moisture remains.

rock louseCrabs posture and take positions. A rock louse does a creepy crawl.mossy chiton

The mossy chiton, however, is more measured in its movement. It does not scurry. Lacking eyes and tentacles, its reaction time is slow, sensed through light sensitive organs in its shell. It scrapes algae from rocks with a rasping strap of a tongue and relocates in the dark at high tide.

More on Crystal Cove State Park (California)

Crystal Cove State Park Map and Visitor Information

Crystal Cove State Park; Irvine, California3 miles of Pacific coastline with underwater park plus 2300 acres of bluffs and wooded canyons!Hiking, biking (single track mountain & dirt road), fishing, kayaking, surfing, and “tidepooling”!Directions: Just off of the Pacific Coast Highway (Hwy1) between Corona Del Mar and Laguna Beach. Easy access via I-5, 405 & 73.Admission: Daily State Park Fee (good at multiple state parks on same day): $10 / Annual Pass: $125Weather Conditions: 949-494-3539Historic District Cottage RentalsPark WebsiteView Crystal Cove in a larger map

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Critters of Crystal Cove: Striped (“Lined”) Shore Crab

Crab underwater CU,  Crystal Cove SP, CA

striped shore crab cu, Crystal Cove SP, CA

Crystal Cove’s residents scurry and float and if possible, aim for “squatter’s rights” by adhering to a bit of Middle Miocene shale or sandstone.

crab on ledge

The striped shore crab is one of the scurrying tenants. While the species varies in color, they are consistent in their need to forage for algae and dead animal matter.

crab legging it

They’re as happy on land as in the water, splitting their time equally between each and measure only two to three inches in diameter.

Crystal Cove State Park Map and Visitor Information

Crystal Cove State Park; Irvine, California
3 miles of Pacific coastline with underwater park plus 2300 acres of bluffs and wooded canyons!
Hiking, biking (single track mountain & dirt road), fishing, kayaking, surfing, and “tidepooling”!

Directions: Just off of the Pacific Coast Highway (Hwy1) between Corona Del Mar and Laguna Beach. Easy access via I-5, 405 & 73.

Admission: Daily State Park Fee (good at multiple state parks on same day): $10 / Annual Pass: $125

Weather Conditions: 949-494-3539

Historic District Cottage Rentals
Park Website

View Crystal Cove in a larger map

13 Comments

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