Sea Colander/Devil’s Apron/Shotgun Kelp

Agarum sp. – Sea Colander

sea colander 3

Phylum: Phaeophyta

Family: Laminariaceae

 

seacolander

I go back and forth on which common name I like best for this perennial3 seaweed.  I usually end up calling it Sea Colander because that is what I learned first.  Many students prefer to call it Shotgun Kelp; I suppose that’s a hipper name.  Visual observation of the characteristic perforations (i.e. holes) leads you to believe that another organism made a snack of the seaweed.  However, the porous appearance is naturally occurring, rendering the thallus less susceptible to disturbances from moving water (i.e. tidal influence, wave action, etc.).

Sea colander has a prominent midrib1 and is dark brown3, but can have tinges of red or olive green depending on its decay and light exposure.  Sea colander is found subtidally – I have yet to see sea colander snorkeling in areas where it is commonly found washed up on the beach in Massachusetts.

Size: Reports on the size vary considerably with one source describing the length as 45 cm (18 in)1, and another author describing the specimen as growing to 1.8 m (6 ft)3.  If anyone has the pleasure of seeing a 6’ long shotgun kelp, please leave your observations in our comment section below.

Range: Arctic to Cape Cod2,3

References:

1. Watling, L., Fegley, J., Moring, J., White, S., Sulzer, A. (2003) Life Between the Tides. Tilbury House Pub

2. Martinez, A.J. (2011) Marine Life of the North Atlantic: Canada to Cape May. Aqua Quest Publications

3. Gosner, Keneth L. (1978), Peterson Field Guides: Atlantic Seashore – A field guide to sponges, jellyfish, sea urchins, and more

 

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