So you were expecting maybe –sharks? Barracuda? Well, no. Here you see some creatures to be reckoned with, and they all live in our California kelp forests.
The purple-ringed topshell, Calliostoma annulatum, though tiny, will even rear up on its foot and lunge at its prey! Of course, its prey might be kelp, a copepod, an anemone, or even some dead fish, but still.
Then there’s the sunflower star, Pycnopodia helianthoides, a giant sea star, as large as 40 inches across, with more than twenty arms at maturity. It preys on urchins, crabs, sea cucumbers, snails and chitons.
So where do the sharp teeth come in? The purple sea urchin, Strongylocentrotus purpuratus, has sharp teeth on its underside and is able to use them to erode holes in rocks!
BTW, see the pictured animals, featured as magnetic manipulatives, in Speak Easies’ Kelp Forest Food Web, coming soon on Teachers Pay Teachers.