What can you see in the touch pool today?
Is there anything new in the touch pool? How many different types of animals and plants can you see? Can you spot a crab scurrying around, or maybe peeping out of a shell? How many sea stars are there?
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What can you see?
The animals and plants in the touch pool will vary as our Aquarists change the display at regular intervals. Take a careful look at the first picture below (click on it to see and download a larger image). What can you see? Make a list!
Now check your list against the labelled image below. Did you find everything?
The intertidal zone
The touch pool is like a rock pool that you would find at low tide. Take a long look and you will see all kinds of weird and wonderful marine animals. Soft bodies or hard shells; lots of legs or none at all; wriggling things; crawling things; creatures that stick to rocks and creatures that swim around.
- Guide to Life on the Rocky Shore (PDF file, 891 KB)
- Life Between the Tides poster (PDF file, 4.4 MB)
- Rocky Shore Guide - Northern NZ (PDF file, 2 MB)
- Rocky Shore Guide - Southern NZ (PDF file, 3.9 MB)
- Crab Study (PDF file, 483 KB)
Is that a dead crab in the touch pool? Perhaps it is a moult! As they grow larger crabs and crayfish shed their exoskeletons. Their new body is soft but soon hardens to give them protection.
Crashing waves, scorching sunshine and deluges of rain are just a few of the challenges that the animals and plants in the rock pool must deal with. Finding food and avoiding predators are also key to their survival.
Feeding and food webs
In the touch pool there are producers, filter feeders, grazers, predators and scavengers. Can you identify plants and animals that would fit into those groups? How do they catch and eat their food? Draw a food web to show how the animals in the touch pool are connected.
- How does a sea cucumber feed?
- Watch this filter-feeding crab find its food
- A predatory 7-arm sea star catching and eating a crab
- A 7-arm sea star eating a cockle
- Watch this space for a video about feeding time at the Marine Studies Centre
- Rocky shore who eats who educational activity book (PDF file, 3 MB)
- Life in a rock pool poster (PDF file, 3.3 MB)
- Gulp and swallow food chain game (PDF file, 880 KB)
Murder mystery on the rocky reef
Use your sleuthing skills to solve a murder! Coco the cockle has been found dead in the touch pool. Who did it? Download the background notes and instructons, see what clues you can find in the touch pools and watch the supporting videos.
- What was happening when we weren't looking?
See more clips of our animals in action and other short films about marine life and research.
- Fishy news
Find out what's been happening in the marine world.
- Educational resources
Check out the marine ID guides, educational activities, and worksheets - all free for you to download.