Flatfish and Sea Potatoes

A couple of days before New Year we headed for Ross Beach on the North West Mayo coast. This is one of our favourite beaches, particularly during the summer. But this was a frosty morning and there was actually frost on the sand, not something I’d seen before.

Ross beach

Ross beach

The tide was going out and had left some interesting things behind it. There was no sign of injury to this flatfish so I am not sure what resulted in its demise. Irish waters have 22 species of flatfish though there are 600 species worldwide.

Flatfish

Flatfish

These sea potato remains (known as a ‘test’), are a common find on this beach but there were probably about twenty. Recent storms may have been a cause. Alive, these little creatures are usually buried up to 15cm deep in sand or muddy sediments. They are also covered with yellow/brown spines. Sea potatoes are related to sea urchins.

Sea Potato

Sea Potato (Echinocardium cordatum)

Sea Potatoes

Sea Potatoes

There was also a lot of kelp washed up, which again is something that is found after the sea bottom has been disturbed by big waves. Despite the blue sky, the wind was cold so we were all glad to get back to the car.

Ross Beach

Ross Beach

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10 thoughts on “Flatfish and Sea Potatoes

  1. Jane

    I’ve certainly never seen frost on a sandy beach before, nor have I heard of sea potatoes but can see the immediate link to sea urchins. A layman’s questions: did the sea potatoes die because they dried out and is there anything actually inside the shell? All fascinating.

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    1. Murtagh's Meadow Post author

      No, they probably died of natural causes (or as result of a recent storm) and then got washing up by the tide. By the time the tide has brought them ashore they are empty – the flesh inside probably eaten by small fish or other sea creatures. The tests that get washed up are brittle and easily broken.

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  2. Robbie

    Oh, I am always so surprised when I stopped by…more evidence you live in heaven-right????? All the pics are stunning! Is this a place you made up-WOW..that is so beautiful! My parents moved to Corpsi Christi in Texas. It was on the Gulf and I remember going out early in the morning and collecting shells-BIG shells and not one broken piece. They were perfect-TONS of them scattered across the beach. I felt like a kid in a candy store-LOL. These treasures are beatuiful….( long sigh)…you made this place up-right-photoshop pictures-LOL…The top and bottom pictures-beautiful!

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    1. Murtagh's Meadow Post author

      What a great name! I love these old local names. My mother calls cuckcoo flowers Hail Mary’s which I think is just a local name to us.

      Liked by 1 person

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