Exploring tide pools is something I hope to never truly outgrow. On a recent trip to the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve near Half Moon Bay in California, my friends and I were lucky enough to come across a small red octopus. I had never seen one in the wild, and this chance encounter felt very special. While spending the day exploring tide pools is perhaps my favorite way to spend an afternoon, I had never really considered drawing some of the stationary or semi-stationary animals encountered there. But then I thought a collection of these animals would make a good gallery, and set about drawing them (which I already had a couple illustrations in the catalog.) I'll probably add some more soon, such as the Purple Sea Urchin and more nudibranchs. But if you have a request for a specific tide pool animal, or would like information about having a custom illustration created please send an email to the artist: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tide pools are home to a wide variety of animals, many of whom are dependent on one another to survive. Some common residents are anemones, barnacles, crustaceans (such as hermit and shore crabs and shrimp) starfish or sea stars, sea urchins and mussels and other bivalves. Large marine mammals such as sea lions and seals also visit these areas to sun themselves. But for the permanent residents of the tide pools, they live in what's called the intertidal zone (also sometimes called the foreshore/seashore or the littoral zone, which is then divided into three subzones: the High tide zone (upper mid-littoral), which is only flooded during the high tide, the Middle tide zone (lower mid-littoral which is flooded equally during the period of the tide ebb and flow, and the Low tide zone (lower littoral) which is exposed only during the low tide) This zones can vary in width from just a few feet, or stretch for many yards, depending on the terrain and how the area is influenced by the tide. Because of the meeting of the land and the sea, this zone is a very important ecosystem and provides homes for many different types of animals. Many plants also are able to live in these conditions, as are various types of algae, which often is the only living thing that can tolerate the increasing salinity of an evaporating tide pool.