Vosnesensky's Isopod

Birders consider it auspicious to spot a new species on the first day of the New Year.  I didn't spot any new birds yesterday, but I did discover this little fellow in a tide pool at Deception Pass State Park.  Vosnesensky's Isopod (Idotea wosnesenskii) is named for a Russian zoologist who collected them in the nineteenth century.  An isopod is a crustacean like shrimp and crabs and related to the sowbugs and woodlice we find under rocks in the garden.  It is also called Kelp Isopod and Rockweed Isopod.  To me, it looks ancient, like something out of a Paleozoic sea.

I first spotted the little guy swimming.  They swim using paddles under the abdomen.  Despite the 5 dollar name, it was only 1.25 inches (3.2 cm) long.  Had it been motionless, I doubt I would have noticed it.  This one is the same color as the local kelp and rockweed.  Those that are found in eel grass beds will be green.  This was an auspicious find as they normally only come out at night.  In all my decades of beachcombing, it was also the first one I have ever seen.  2012 should be a good year.

An account of the First Day Hike at Deception Pass is posted at Fidalgo Island Crossings.