Lumpsuckers are unusual looking scaleless fish with small lumps along the length of their body. They get their name from the large ‘sucker’ on their belly, which they use to attach themselves to rocks on the seabed. They spend the majority of their time in the open seas, only making their way into shallower waters during the breeding season. At this time the males will change colour to a reveal a vivid orange underside. After laying her eggs the female will head back out into deeper waters, leaving the male to look after the clutch. He takes this role incredibly seriously, attaching himself to a nearby rock to guard them and not leaving their side until they have hatched, even if this means becoming stranded on a low tide!
Lumpsucker by Julie Hatcher
Paddleworms can grow up to 15cm long and are usually found on rocks or boulders in the shallows or on the shore, although they are rarely seen. They are called paddleworms as they have a segmented body with leaf-shaped appendages on, which are used for swimming. At this time of year, they lay their eggs in shallow waters or on the shoreline, anchored to the bottom or attached to seaweed with a fine strand. Their small jelly like green egg masses are quite distinctive and take between 2 days and 2 weeks to hatch.
Paddleworm eggs by Julie Hatcher
This is the best time of year to view the seaweeds in the rockpools and shallow waters, as it is when they are at their most vibrant and colourful. With the days getting longer, they take full advantage of the additional sunlight and new growth occurs. One seaweed in particular that is extremely colourful at this time of the year is Cystoseira tamariscifolia or Tamarisk weed. When viewed underwater, this seaweed has a blue / green iridescence to it; however out of the water it appears almost black. This is why Tamarisk weed is also sometimes referred to as ‘Magic seaweed’.
Magic Seaweed by Peter Tinsley