The Outer Lands: A Natural History Guide to Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket, Block Island, and Long Island
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Did you know that horseshoe crabs have been around for 200 million years? That mussels "spin" long anchor lines and climb steep slopes with them? Do you know what a "Beetlebung" tree is?
This is all part of Dorothy Sterling's fascinating description of The Outer Lands, and the plants and animals that inhabit this peninsula and chain of islands along our New England coast.
too big to escape through the tube’s narrow chimneys. They live out their lives side by side with the worm. More puzzling than these crabs-who-came-to-dinner is the blue-white light that the Parchment Worm gives off. This blind bottom-dweller lights up like a firefly when it is disturbed. Its light is so bright that the tips of its tubes may glow at night. Parchment Worm The Plumed Worm (Plate 2) constructs a straight parchment tube with a carefully camouflaged doorway. The funnel-shaped
habits. After an elaborate courtship ceremony, the female deposits her eggs in a pouch on the male’s underside. The eggs remain in this kangaroo-type pouch until they hatch. The Sea Horse pays no attention to his offspring afterward, but the baby Pipefish return to papa’s pouch whenever danger threatens. Preyed on by larger fish, they were almost wiped out when the Eelgrass disappeared. ROCKY SHORES Seaweeds Where rocks line the shore, a different kind of jungle flourishes. Here seaweeds grow,
its changing form resembling the early stages of shrimps and crabs. Then it settles down, cementing itself to a firm substance—which may be a rock, shell or even the thick hide of a whale. In less than a day it constructs a six-sided shell with a hinged door on top. When this operculum opens, the barnacle stretches out its fringed feet to catch food. It closes its doors at low tide, remaining comfortably damp inside. Barnacles will readily perform in an aquarium or in a jar filled with sea
that is in a comfortably distant future. Meanwhile the Outer Lands are ours to enjoy. * The ditches permit growers to flood the bogs from time to time, to protect the plants against frost. ILLUSTRATIONS APPENDIX CHECKLIST OF SCIENTIFIC NAMES The following are the scientific names of species described and illustrated in this book. Sponges: Boring SpongeCliona celata Clathria SpongeClathria delicata Crumb of Bread SpongeHalichondria panicea Eyed Finger SpongeChalina oculata Mermaids’
Should you win, however, put the Razor down on the flats and watch it operate. Its mobile foot pokes out of the end of the shell and curves into the sand. Suddenly, clam and shell leap upright—and just as suddenly the animal vanishes underground, leaving only an oblong hole to show where it has gone. If you speak of a person “shutting up like a clam” you are not talking about a Razor. Unlike Quahogs whose shells seal so tightly that they can live for days out of water, a Razor can’t “clam up.”