• Save Our Shores Program Director discovers an unlikely visitor

    Pufferfish wash up after Monterey Bay red crab tideIMG_7687

    Last weekend, Oct. 17-18, Save Our Shores Program Director, Rachel Kippen, walked the Monterey Bay coastline to scout new places for student field trips. Along her 20 mile trek from Sunset State Beach in Santa Cruz County to Del Monte Beach in Monterey Bay County, she came across what looked like two pufferfish washed up in the wrack line about a four miles south of Marina State Beach.

    “I believe that the two puffers I saw were porcupinefish, which are more commonly found in Baja California, but I’d want to get a second opinion,” said Rachel.

    If her species identification is correct, Rachel’s find would be extremely rare considering that porcupinefish only live in warmer waters far south of the Monterey Bay—unlike its local relative the ocean sunfish, or mola mola, a wide-ranged fish that begins its life looking much like the puffer until aging into a giant-bony fish.

    The two puffers come at a time when warmer El Niño waters are carrying tropical marine life far north of their typical range. Last week, a venomous yellow-bellied sea snake was spotted on the shores of Malibu, California. Other strange visitors to the Monterey Bay include thousands of pelagic red crabs that washed ashore in early October, a siting that has not been documented this far north since 1982.

    This leaves us wondering what other tropical surprises are going to wash ashore as the Pacific’s unseasonably warm conditions continue.

     

    posted to Cedar Street Times on October 23, 2015

    Topics: Front PG News, Green

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