Thursday, July 7, 2011


On a recent low-tide walk at Boundary Bay, walking in ankle-deep water, we came across a small area (about 3 m square) in which there were deposits of brown stuff in the dips between sand ripples.  I first thought they were diatoms, which are single-celled algae that have delicate, siliceous walls.

But, on a closer look, these things were too big. Diatoms are tiny, a large one being less than a quarter of a millimetre in length or diameter.  These particles were a millimetre or larger,of varying lengths.

Here is the previous image enlarged. Sure look like poops.  But whose?  And why, amid acres of submerged sand ripples, were they deposited in a very limited space?  Doesn't make sense.

Stumped. I don't know what they are.


Susannah (Wanderin' Weeta) said...

I've been looking at those, too. They collect in spots on the White Rock beach, and come in two sizes.

There must be tons of whatever makes them. Do snails poop? Land ones do.

biobabbler said...

I've been POOPED on by snails. I'm quite proud of the taxonomic spectrum that's pooped on me, I'll tell you. =) I'll send a link to your post to a marine biologist I know, and see what SHE says. She's awful smart. =)

Thanks for the lovely photo (the 1st one) of poop. Who knew?

Hugh said...

Susannah, I should have expected that with your keen eye for the unusual you would have seen and pondered over these things.

I'm certain marine snails poop, but I don't know if the results are so sausage-linky. (And why would they all collect together? That's what baffles me.)

bb: I too have been pooped upon by a vast range of creatures, and am somewhat proud of it. (We should form a support/brag group.) Worst was anaconda. They warn you about the squeezy. They should warn you about wrestling an angry, muscular hose full of stuff that if you called it poop, you would be insulting poop. Thank you for sending the link to your contact.

biobabbler said...

Here's my sage Marine Biologist:

"Not sure who made it, my guess is it's pseudofeces a small clam of some sort. It looks like it's in the depressions due to small variations in water movement caused by the peaks. So when the water slows down between the peaks, the less-dense pseudofeces are deposited. That's my best guess.

As to the question, "do snails poop", in the sage words of Taro Gomi, "Everyone eats... so everyone poops!""

@Hugh--wow. ew. =)


biobabbler said...

omg "They should warn you about the squeezy" SHOULD be on a t-shirt. much mirth. THANK you. =)

Hugh said...

bb, thanks for the followup, and thanks to Sage Marine Biologist for her explanation, and for the word "pseudofeces." It is my new cussword.

Victoria said...

Whew, I first saw this post yesterday and I was hoping there would be some resolution when I checked back! I'm going to have to be on the lookout for all these pseudopoops.

Mike B said...

Bizarre stuff. No ideas.

Sally said...

Thank goodness life still offers mysteries to the observant. It's a wonderful world!

p.s. I agree--snake poop is top-o-the-line yucky; I can only imagine anaconda. (Thankfully...)

Patricia Lichen said...

Lol, Hugh, yes--we would not want to insult poop!

I'm all curious about these pseudofeces too! What the heck?!

Patricia Lichen said...

P.S. I was pooped on by an opossum. Pales in comparison to an anaconda, I know. Jeez, who hasn't been pooped on by an opossum?!