The sculpturing of the sand by the waves, as the tide goes in and out, is something that I have always found attractive. As a child, it was exciting to walk in bare feet over these ridges to get to the waters’ edge. Even now, I get great pleasure from taking off my shoes and walking on the wet sand for miles; feeling – as well as seeing – the changing textures and patterns carved out by the rain, wind and tide.
Here shown above from Studland, or rather just round the corner in Shell Bay, are some beautiful patterns in the sand. In the valleys between the scarps of sand, where the water lingered, there was a colony of upstanding sand tubes. These tubes are constructed from sand, shell fragments, and mucus by marine polychaete (many bristled) worms. The construction materials and the shape of the tube are clues to the specific identity of the worm.
The sand tubes in the photograph below are the Sand Mason Lanice conchilega (Pallas). The empty tubes are often washed up in masses on the strandline along with those of two other types: the Peacock Worm Sabella pavonina Savigny and Pectinaria koreni Malmgren. (I’ll try to include photographs of these in later posts).
[This is a revised post originally published on 19 February 2009].
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