This morning at low tide we came across several pacific sand lance on the beach. They had just spawned and lay dead on the beach awaiting the predators.
It is especially important through July and August, (note last year)when they are spawning regularly to avoid heavy traffic on the beach (especially horses).
Sand lance and ruler in centimetres
Sandbar at the North end of Taylor Beach
This morning with the extreme low tide, (tonight is the full moon) the small sandbar off the north end of Taylor beach was exposed for a few hours. As the tide came back in, a crow and a glaucous winged-gull were patrolling the area and picking up sandlance as they emerged from the sand, flipped around a few times and then died. In 15 minutes walking back and forth along the 40 metre stretch of the sandbar, I picked up 15 of the dead sandlance, forage fish. Several that were still active were returned to the water where they died within a few minutes. Perhaps this a solution– having direct predation as soon as they emerge from their sand burrows in order to prevent fouling of the beach..
Species recognized by IRMNG:
Kingdom: Animalia +
Class : Actinopterygii
Genus: Ammodytes Linnaeus, 1758
See this post on Sandlance on Taylor Beach:
Image from the presentation below
One of the unusual characteristics of sandlance on Taylor Beach is that in less thsn a minute after emerging from the sand after spawning, If they are not consumed by crows or gulls, then they will die. ( so far I have not found this reported in the literature?)
|Family: Trachinoidea (Bonaparte, 1832)
|Species: A. hexapteris
|Binomial name Ammodytes hexapterus
This presentation by Ramona de Graaf and Dan Pentilla provides a good background on the importance of habitat for Forage Fish on our shores.