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Sunday, February 5, 2012

Saturday and Sunday at the beach

Both Saturday and Sunday we managed to get to the beach. Saturday was meant to be cold and wet but it was warm and cloudy. I did a 6.5km run and then walked home (2km) and felt good. We also had chicken rolls for lunch at Mascot and then hit the beach at 4pm.

We found this little critter at the beach. It is called Glaucus atlanticus  and its common name is a blue sea slug. It is a nudibranch and it eats blue bottles (Portuguese man O' war- Physalia physalis and blue buttons).  In these photos we collected it in a green beach spade.

I had never seen one of them before and I asked the life guard if it was a dangerous sea slug, they went to check and said no. Latter Wikipedia informed me that "G. atlanticus is able to feed on P. physalis due to its immunity to the venomous nematocysts. The slug consumes the entire organism and appears to select and store the most venomous nematocysts for its own use. The venom is collected in specialized sacs (cnidosacs), on the tip of their cerata, the thin feather-like "fingers" on its body.[6] Because Glaucus stores the venom, it can produce a more powerful and deadly sting than the Man o' War upon which it feeds." We found it and other smaller sea slugs that look very similar the Glaucilla marginata.  Which i first thought was a smaller version of the larger blue sea slug and now realise it was a different species. Glaucus is bigger, has a longer tail and more cerrata (saw teeth) on the ends of each finger. 

We had a great time at the beach, I did not swim just played on the sand but Zalia and Joaquin played in the kiddies pool (amongst the blue bottles, and blue sea slugs) and Jas and I watched and try to get any sea slugs and blue bottles that came close and then scooped them out of the small kiddies pool back into the ocean. There was a lot of seaweed on the beach. After our play time we got the kids out (Jas did end up going for a big swim and catching a lot of waves, he said he had so much fun) and then we walked over to the shops on Coogee Bay road and had fish and chips for dinner and sat on the grass with a nice cold beer. The kids ate and were content and chased the seagulls. Zalia runs around and runs away, I need to keep my eye on her she is always escaping.

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