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The rare salp, Helicosalpa, has now been recorded north
to Norway.
They are so rare that even researchers have only
seen a few of them alive.
We have now published a scientific
article on the topic.

Only three species is known: Helicosalpa virgula, H. komaii and
 H. younti.
All three have been observed in the Pacific Ocean, but
in the Atlantic Ocean only H. virgula has been observed.

We are looking for tissue samples, through citizen science:
1) If you see one, please take a picture of it.
2) Cut out a tissue sample (golf ball size), and put it in a clean
plastic bag       in your home freezer.
3) Contact us.


Help us in getting tissue samples from the huge gelatinous spheres
in the ocean, especially from the Mediterranean Sea !

Read this comics, and learn more about them !

This is squid eggs, possibly from the 10-armed genus Loligo.
About 40 egg sacs are attached to the tip of a kelp blade
(hanging from a pier).
These embryos are around 9 days old,
and will hatch when they are about 21 days old. The red pair
of eyes are clearly visible through the egg capsule.

As the embryo grows, the yolk sack (on the picture in the middle)
will be reduced and armes formed
. To the left of the eyes, the fins
will develop. (Photo credit: HR/ Sea Snack Norway.)

Maja cf. brachydactyla, or common spider crab, described by
H. Balss in 1922 has 5 pairs of visible legs, and belongs within
the group of
"true crabs" (Brachyura). This picture is taken from
Crozon in France
(photo credit: HR/ Sea Snack Norway).
Lithodes maja (Linnaeus, 1758) (In Norw.: trollkrabbe, in English:
northern stone crab) resembles the crab to the left, but has only
4 pairs of visible legs (the pair is very small, and hidden).
It therefore belongs within the "crab-like" species (Anomura).
This picture is from Norway (photo credit: HR/ Sea Snack Norway).
                 Why do they have almost the same name - both including
"maja"? It was actually a dispute between several researchers around
1700- 1800, how to use this name. The ongoing dilemma was submitted
to the International Commission for Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN) in 1958,
which had to solve the case. ICZN acts as adviser for the zoological
community, and make rules for the naming of animals.

Oceanographic Museum of Monaco is a museum of marine sciences, and was inaugurated in 1910 by Prince Albert 1. The Prince was very
interested in oceanography and made several cruises in the Mediterranean Sea but also to e.g. the Azores and Svalbard. The museum is built
on a steep cliff, and just the architecture is worth a trip to the Principality of Monaco, the second-smallest country in the world. The famous
Jacques-Yves Cousteau, also a diving pioneer, was a curator at the museum for many years (photo credit:  HR/ Sea Snack Norway).


These rare, huge gelatinous spheres have been recorded
from the North East Atlantic Ocean, and are attributed to
squid egg mass. They are about 1 meter in diameter, and
many of them have a dark streak through the center. We are
investigating these spheres, and have received around
50 observations, mostly from divers. The first observation is
from Croatia in 1999. The first observation from the Norwegian
coast is from 2001.

Recently tissue samples of four speres from Norwegian waters
were DNA tested, showing they are made by Illex coindetii, or
"southern shortfin squid" (In Norw., sørlig kortfinnet 10-armet
blekksprut). The species was described by Vérany in 1839,
so it took 180 years before their egg mass was identified.

If you see such a sphere in the ocean, especially from the
Mediterranean Sea, we would very much like a tissue sample.
Could you please cut out a small tissue sample of the sphere
wall, put it in a clean plastic bag in the freezer - before contacting us!
Also, if you are able to take a picture or video of the sphere, that
would be great!
montsthigh montstmisheep  
Many people are used to high and low tide twice daily, but that
is not the case everywhere on the planet. Mont-Saint-Michel is an
Island situated in a large bay in Normandy in France,
and the Island
with its monastry, picturesque from every possible angle (!), is one
of the most visited tourist attractions in France.
The large
Mont-Saint-Michel Bay is part of the the English Channel, known
for strong tidal currents, and the castle lies at the innermost part
of the bay. Here, the tide only comes in every second week (at spring
tides, not neap tides), and is then visible from the castle! This is not all, because since the Island is surrounded by mud flats, the tidal currents,
or high tides, are only strong enough to surround the whole Island about
10 days a year!
The phenomenon is called "Les Grandes Marées". It
creates a tidal bore which is even more visible as it enters the long,
narrow inlet at the mouth of the river close to the monastry.
Legend has it that the tide comes in "as fast as galloping horses",
but that is an overstatement. The tide comes in quite fast, but not that
fast. Walks around the castle at low tide is possible, BUT always walk
with a certified guide. There is both quicksand and tidal currents to look
out for!     

   Mudflats and salt marshes, also the once of Mont-Saint-Michel Bay,
play an important nursery role for many fish species, and
at least 100 fish
species are known in these intertidal areas
. They bay also hosts many birds
and seals
(Photo credit: HR/ Sea Snack Norway.)

You may have found bristle worms crawling around on the sea floor
(børstemark in Norwegian, and polychaetes in Latin), but some species
also swim. This is 
Tomopteris sp., and is about 4,5 cm long with long
It spends it's entire life as plankton, free swimming in the
water mass. It can swim very fast, both forwards and backwards. If
disturbed, it may play dead for a while, hoping the predator or danger
will go away.
Tomopteris is know for bioluminescens, which means
that it can make it's own light to e.g. scare predatores. 
emits blue light, but e.g.
T. helgolandica also emits yellow light which
is more rare in the ocean. (Photo credit: HR/ Sea Snack Norway.)


poster hydrozoa

The Cnidaria phylum contains all the jelly like organisms, of which
many that stings. There are several classes, and one of them is
represented here - Hydrozoa ("småmaneter" in Norwegian):

    The two upper pictures show two common hydrozoans in Norwegian waters: upper left, Sarsia tubulosa described by M. Sars in 1835 and Tima bairdii (Johnston, 1833). Notice the small crustacean, or amphipod, attached to the umbrella. It is a parasitic hyperiid.
    The two lower species are also hydrozoans, but belong to a special group or order, the siphonophores. Siphonophores may look like one animal, but is in fact a colony of small individual animals, each with special tasks such as attack or defence.
They pray upon e.g. small crustaceans, fish and larvae. The most famous siphonophore is perhaps the Blue bottle, or Portuguese man-of-war. The siphonophores moves quite quickly through the water mass, and may be difficult to photograph. Two common species for Norwegian waters are: lower left, the long "thread", cf. Nanomia cara described by Agassiz in 1865 and (right) cf. Physophora hydrostatica described by Forsskål in 1775. (Photo credit: HR/ Sea Snack Norway.)

This is squid eggs (In Norwegian: blekksprutegg), washed ashore after a storm in France. They look
like eggs from a 10-armed species, and might be from
Loligo vulgaris. L. vulgaris spend the winter
months in deep waters outside Portugal, swims past France to the North Sea in the spring/ summer - and back again.
These are all cuttlebones (In Norwegian: blekksprutskall),
the internal shell of 10-armed cuttlefish. When washed ashore they
are collected and actually used in caged birds giving extra nutrition
(calcium) and possibilities for smoothening down their growing beak.
(Photo credit: HR/ Sea Snack Norway.)


Have you ever encountered loads of foam at the beach? These pictures show the same bay, only a few weeks apart
(in the middle of the day, and at sunset). Salt water contains dissolved salts, proteins and fat. If you add dead algae
and strong wind and waves, thick foam usually forms ashore. Sea 
foam is usually harmless, and only indicates a
productive ocean ecosystem. However, occations with unpleasent outcome have been reported. Large amounts
of dead sea birds were found in California, and soap-like foam on their feathers from decaying algae made it difficult
for them to fly, also causing hypothermia and death. If the foam contains certain decaying toxic algae, the foam may
cause skin irritations and respiratory discomfort to humans. (Photo credit: HR/ Sea Snack Norway.)

Sea hare (In Norwegian: sjøhare), Aplysia punctata.
Color of sea hares may vary depending on what type of
food/ algae they eat.
(Photo: HR/ Sea Snack Norway). 
Sea hare, Aplysia punctata. They usually occur single but large
amounts may be observed when mating. This species also occurs
in Norwegian waters. (Photo: HR/ Sea Snack Norway).

Sea hares (In Norwegian: sjøhare) are funny looking creatures,
and in frontal view this dead specimen may look like a tiny hippopotamus.
It belongs within the Mollusca phylum. This is 
Aplysia depilans, a specimen
collected at a beach in France. It is common in French waters, but has not
been recorded from Norway. (Photo: HR/ Sea Snack Norway.)
Visiting a National Park like the Wadden sea (In Norwegian: vadehavet) requires caution and respect for nature. The Wadden sea
reaches from southern Denmark, via Germany, to the Netherlands.
Join a guided tour and learn more about this fascinating flat,
muddy, but animal rich area! (Photos: HR/ Sea Snack Norway.)
In a National Park - "Take nothing but pictures. Leave nothing
but footprints. Kill nothing but time". A motto of the Baltimore Grotto.


Have you ever seen such "spiky balls" in the ocean (two left pictures)? These "balls" are holdfasts (In Norw.: festeorganet)
to furbelows, a brown algae. In Norwegian the kelp is called "draugtare". Legend has it that "draugen" are whicked ghosts of
dead fishermen who died at sea, doomed to haunt waves. 
Furbelows is not too common in Norway, and likes it rough, at wave
exposed coasts. For other species (right picture) the kelp holdfast may 
give good shelter for all kinds of small creatures, and is
a good place to look for animals! (Photos: HR/ Sea Snack Norway.)

Diving gives you unique opportunitites in discovering interesting phenomena below the water surface.
Here are some huge whale knockles from SW Norway, Bergen, possibly seen by humans for the first time.
(Photos: HR/ Sea Snack Norway.)

henricia spines
Have you ever studied a starfish (In Norwegian: sjøstjerne)
under the microscope? Try it, and you'll discover some
fascinating structures. Here are three different shaped spines
from three species. The spines are very small and fragile, all
measuring under 0,5 mm in length. (Photo: HR/ Sea Snack Norway). 

This fish is called Shanny, or Blenny (In Norwegian: tangkvabbe).
In latin it is called Lipophrys pholis, and was named by Carl von Linné
in 1758.  This species is found in shallow waters of rocky coasts, and
may also remain out of water, breathing air. One of it's favourite food is
barnacles. After spawning in the spring, the male may guard eggs from
several females. They are not too long, but may reach around 20 cm in
length. This species is actually on the Red List (list of threatened species)
due to it's homebound behaviour. Also, due to it's inability to move away, it
can be used as an indicator species for pollution monitoring. This specimen
was found at Sotra/ Bergen, on the SW coast of Norway.
(Photo: HR/ Sea Snack Norway.)

About 1000 species of sea mites (In Norwegian: sjømidd)
have been described worldwide. They are also called Halacaridae
in latin, and are very small creatures. We're talking about less than
0,5 mm long (!). They are so small that on a head of a pin you may
place 15-20 mites! Look at the claws which are "hook-shaped".
Some feed on algae, others are predators or parasites.
(Photo: HR/ Sea Snack Norway.)

This is a mite you also may encounter in the ocean, in the littoral zone,
were it is build for clinging to rocks and algae even if rough weather.
Look at the claws. It belongs to a group called Hyadesia. About 40
species of Hyadesia and Amhyadesia have been described worldwide.
(Photo: HR/ Sea Snack Norway.) 
horngjel_delb Photo shoot of a juvenile garfish (6,5 cm long).
Have you ever seen a juvenile garfish (in Norw.: horngjel)?
I don't think too many people have! As you can see on the
closeup picture, the upper beak (or jaw) is still much shorter
than the lower beak but it will grow longer as the fish matures.
Adults can be seen in large schools in the open ocean but
move into shallow water during springtime, when spawning. 
(Photos: HR/ Sea Snack Norway.)
This live specimen was only 6,5 cm long, but adults become
about 1 m long. 
In latin they are called Belone belone, described
by Linnaeus in 1761. In several countries it is a popular seafood
with green bones.

This may look like a plant, but it is a sponge (In Norw.: svamp) -
the simplest of multi-celled animals. It can filtrate seawater for
algae, bacteria, and even small crustaceans. All sponges may
be placed in only four classes, of which mostly saltwater species.
Most sponges are actually
both females and males. Sponges are
found to accumulate specific metals, so they might become
promising biomonitors of metal contamination. Metals may be
hazardous to humans since they are accumulated in aquatic animals,
transported through the food web, and posing a risk to us through
sea food consumption.

Identifying sponges is difficult. The sponge on the picture is probably
Polymastia boletiformis
, which was described by Lamarck in 1815.
(Photo: HR/ Sea Snack Norway.).



A juvenile flatfish (In Norw.: en juvenil flatfisk fra "varfamilien") caught at
the surface in June. It is only 25 mm long, and around that time they
settle on the bottom. Both eyes are tilted to the left side, and this could
possibly be a juvenile of turbot, brill or topknot  (piggvar, slettvar eller hårvar).
(Photo: HR/ Sea Snack Norway.).

Common Ctenophora from Norwegian waters (In Norw.: ribbemaneter).  (From left to right) Pleurobrachia pileus,
cf. Beroe cucumis, Beroe gracilis, Bolinopsis infundibulum, and Mnemiopsis leidyi. The ctenophore
Mnemiopsis leidyi
is invasive to Norwegian waters, and was discovered here for the first time in 2005.
It is a zooplankton predator, and can eat as much as it's own weight 15 times each day. The ctenophors are
not easy to photograph. They are fragile, look like a "sack of water", and move all the time. (Photos: HR/ Sea Snack Norway.)

Lumpsuckers (in Norw. rognkjeks) enter shallow waters in
late winter/ spring to spawn. The males watches the eggs
for 6-10 weeks before hatching. Usually the females spawn
subtidally but sometimes just above low water spring tide level.
Males then have to spout water from their mouth over egg
masses exposed to air by low tides!   

A juvenile lumpsucker from shallow waters (approx. 1,5 cm long). Not too much is known about lumpsucker biology but when reaching about 1 year they appear to be moving into deeper water. (Photos: HR/ Sea Snack Norway.) 

The biology of the monkfish (in Norw. breiflabb) is not too well known. During summer it can be found in shallow waters,
but during wintertime and when spawning, it can be found below 2000 m depth. Picture 1 (left) shows the sharp teeth of a
juvenile monkfish (20 cm long), 2) the otholites, and 3) a specimen hunting for food with it's own fishing rod on it's head
(one of the dorsal fins).  In latin, monkfish are called
Lophius piscatorius after Carl von Linné who described and named
the fish in 1758. (Photos: HR/ Sea Snack Norway).

The Aquarium "Sea Life" in Helsinki is great fun showing many
kinds of living sea animals.

    On the wall you may also encounter the extinct "Helicoprion",
a shark-like fish with a "tooth-whirl" in the lower jaw. It looks a bit
like a circular saw. Helicoprion lived around 280 million years ago.
(Photos: HR/ Sea Snack Norway.)

Australian Great Barrier Reef animals (left to right): sea feather, turtle, sea cucumber
(Thelenota ananas Jaeger, 1883) and brain coral. (Photos: HR/ Sea Snack Norway.)
A boiled great scallop (Pecten maximus (Linnaeus, 1758))
(In Norw.: kamskjell) shows the eatable parts which are the
and the gonad. The male part of the gonad is white,
and the female orange.
(Photo: HR/ Sea Snack Norway).
A spider crab (Hyas sp.) (in Norw.: pyntekrabbe) is using
algae as camouflage. Some of these species are thought
to have antibiotic properties. (Photo: HR/ Sea Snack Norway.)
Ghost fishing (In Norw.: spøkelsesfiske). Fishing gear that
is lost or abandoned are killing thousands of fish each year.
Surveys and clean-up programmes should be undertaken
in order to establish how widespread this problem really is!
(Photo: HR/
Sea Snack Norway.)
The hermit crab (In Norw.: eremittkreps) Pagurus prideuax
was described by Leach in 1815. It is living in symbiosis
with the sea anemone Adamsia palliata (Fabricius, 1779),
and carries it on it's back. The sea anemone (which is the
"dotted layer" on the crab's shell) feeds on leftovers from the
crab, and the crab is protected from other animals by the
anemones sticky tentackles. (Photo: HR/ Sea Snack Norway.)
The bush-shaped nudibranch, Dendronotus frondosus
(Ascanius, 1774)
photographed in the Bergen area (In Norw.:
busksnegl, en type
nakensnegl). It can reach a size up to about
10 cm in length. (Photo:
HR/ Sea Snack Norway.)
Another, but smaller nudibranch species (Onchidoris sp.), reaches only about 2 cm in length. (Photo: HR/ Sea Snack Norway.)
Dead man's fingers... It's a soft coral called Alcyonium
digitatum and was described by Linnaeus in 1758.
(In Norwegian: dødningehånd, en bløtkorall.) 
Edible crab (Cancer pagurus Linnaeus, 1758) (in
Norw.: taskekrabbe) "hiding" in the sand.

Seaweed, including kelp, from Norway (from left to right): oarweed, thongweed, Devil's apron, and green ribbon/ green nori
Tang og tare fra norskekysten (fra venstre til høyre): fingertare, remtang, sukkertare og tarmgrønske.
Latin (from left to right): Laminaria digitata, Himanthalia elongata, Laminaria saccharina, and Enteromorpha sp.

Huge amounts of sea squirts (Ciona intestinalis) (In Norw.:
sjøpung) is common several places along the Norwegian
coast. Research now looks into farming possibilities. 
The starfish Asterias rubens eats "almost anything",
and here it's on top of a sea squirt (Ciona intestinalis).
The Havrå farm (Havråtunet) at Osterøy (near Bergen), a heritage site,
listed in litterature as far back as year 1303. Archaeological discoveries 
also indicates settlement as far back as the Stone Age.
Norwegian Masters (NM) in sailing was arranged in
Bergen in August 2015. The boat type, "Oselver,
spritsail", resembles old boats constructed in year 300,
and has been typical in the South-Western Norway for
several hundred years. The boats are between 5-10 m long,
and are built of pine- or oak trees. 
European flounder (In Norw.: skrubbe) (Platichthys flesus
Linnaeus, 1758)
was observed during diving at just a few meters depth.
The starfish Luidia ciliaris (Philippi, 1837) observed in
the Bergen area. In Norwegian it's called the
"seven-armed starfish".

Species (from top left to right): 
Amphilochus manudens Bate, 1862, Boroecia borealis
(Sars, 1866), Laetmatophilus tuberculatus Bruzelius, 1859,
Doridoxa ingolfiana Bergh, 1899, Platysympus typicus

(Sars, 1870), Gastropoda juv indet, Themisto sp., Tole laciniata
(Sars, 1872).

ctencri Starfish which usually have five arms can sometimes be deformed; Ctenodiscus crispatus (Retzius, 1805) from Iceland (Bioice-material). For additional image please click on image.

Kayak trip on the Nærøyfjord, Gudvangen, Norway.

Water. The element that won’t be denied.
Sweeping majestically across two thirds of our world.
Studding the surface in a swirling pattern of lakes, rivers, seas, and oceans.
Deeply moving and mysterious.
A vast fluid theatre challenging the adventurer within us.
It’s yours to accept. Don’t disappoint it.
Give it your respect and enjoy the experience.
See you out there !
-          By Dan Trotter

Common Dog Whelk,
Nucella lapillus
Linnaeus, 1758)
in the littoral zone

(in Norwegian: purpursnegl).
Eggs from Nucella lapillus.
Egg spiral by a nudibranch (possibly
Onchidoris bilammelata (Linnaeus, 1767)).
Seaweed pipefish (Syngnathus sp.) (In Norwegian: nålefisk) in the littoral zone, observed while catching small Crustacea.
A trip to the Lysebotn fjord and "Kjeragbolten", a boulder (glacial deposit) suspended above a 1000 m abyss.
For more pictures from Norway ( Norge, Norwegen, Noorwegen, Norvège,  Noruega, 挪威 ) please visit
2023 Copyright © H. Ringvold/ Sea Snack Norway. All rights reserved.