Saturday, May 30, 2009


Locals and kids spent this morning with Dave making specimen/crab traps and testing them out off the dock. Mission successful!! Specimens including red rock crab, kelp crab, and sunflower sea stars were collected with the fine handcrafted traps.

Those visiting in the past few days would have seen the decorator crab in action as they begin dressing up disco-syle in their new tank:

Decorator Crab covered in yarn in the new tank. [Kristin Westman]

Overview of the tank containing the 'Disco Decorators' including sponge 'rocks' and foam 'plants' [Kristin Westman]

Off the dock a lion's mane jelly was collected, spanning approximately 25 cm. This exciting scoop is the newest addition to the beautiful jellyfish tank already containing ctenophores, water jellies, and fried-egg jellies.

Recent collection outings were possible due to very low tides in the morning. The new specimens are settling well into their vacation-home and include urchins, sea stars, sanddabs, sculpins, snails, and more from our local area. As always community members have also been very helpful with their constant contribution of exciting finds.

Caylan and Dave carry back specimens from the beaches at low tide.

Touch tank studies concerning the possible effects of handling are nearly underway and will be continued for the duration of the summer. The intertidal touch tank will be the first to begin observations. As a result of tank-shifting, many of the Dungeness crabs were released and the moonsnails now reside in their own tank. This tank includes the sand collars left behind in the sand that contain moonsnail eggs. The clam shells with the characteristic hole left at the base near the hinge are also being created as hungry moonsnails eat up.

photo of a clam that has been drilled by a moon snail
A clam shell left empty after being breached by the moon snail's radula, the tongue like tool used to breach the hard shell.[]

photo of moon snail egg case
Rubbery feeling sand collar left behind by Lewis' Moonsnail. The eggs are protected between layers of sand held together by mucus from the giant snail. []

Make your way to the aquarium to check out all the critters and watch demonstrations from the staff! In the past week visitors from all over the world including England, Germany, Australia, and South Africa have dropped in to learn about our amazing ocean life. See you soon!

-Mary Vasey, Aquarium Interpreter

Monday, May 25, 2009


The sun is shining in Ucluelet and the aquarium is swimming with exciting new developments.

Our rockfish tank is up and running at last and looks fantastic. The specimens enjoying the new spacious tank include canary and china rockfish accompanied by a couple of kelp greenlings.

On May 22nd, fishermen donated a truly unsightly treasure- a Pacific Hagfish. These deep-water creepers are also known as slime eels due to their incredible ability to produce copious amounts of slime when disturbed. They are blind and jawless opportunists that indulge in rotting flesh at great depths.

The decorator crabs are getting antsy as the finishing touches are completed on their new disco tank. 'Dressing up' in whatever surrounds them is important for camouflage, even if that means colourful disco attire. Stay posted!

Interested in catching your own crab? Dave will share his crabbing expertise on Saturday, May 30th at a crab trap making workshop. The fee is $6 and registration is possible through KK at 726-4772.

Much gratitude to all of our volunteers and donors, we really appreciate it and can't thank you enough!!

-Mary Vasey, Aquarium Interpreter