mhosken's picture

Formation1 and Formation2

Observed: 23rd October 2009 By: mhosken
Formation1 1

A large area of bumps in the sand. Made by creatures? If so what? No evidence of interest by birds or other predators. Not an isolated case: not particularly seasonal.
If not creatures, any idea what physical process might be responsible?


No identification made yet.

Species interactions

No interactions present.


Howie's picture

formation 1

could be lugworm casts

Mike Kendall's picture


These look to be too high on the shore for lugworm casts and the sand looks a litle bit coarse. Its not imposssible though as small lug settle from the plankton in the higher part of the shore and move seawards as they get older.

I think a bit more information is needed about the extent of these features, the normal nature of the sediment (is the sand normally dryer than this?) and the recent weather, particularly the incidence of heavy rain showers.

Sorry I can't be more sure.


Mike Kendall

mhosken's picture

Bumpy sands!

Thanks for your comment on the sand formation. The effect is uncommon. If/When I spot it again can I contact you direct perhaps with more details as regards the condition of the tide and the sand ....
I can be contacted at
Do you have other comments about the sands page on that site?
- or the other pages for that matter?

Mike Kendall's picture

seahouses sand

Its great to see somebody with the enthusiasm to tell folks that sandy beaches are really interesting so I really like the website. Using tracks and trails to identify the marine life living below the surface was always vey popular with deep water oceanographer and even geologists but there don't seem to be too many guides for the seashore. We did put one together for a project in Thailand and to do so we spent a long time on the shore watching and waiting for tracks to appear and then digging out the responsible beast.

Some of the features you show are familiar but, as I said earlier I'd be guessing if I made an ID. However, some of your lumps and bumps I have seen on high shore,in well aerated sand following a brief period of heavy rain

Mike Kendall

PaulBrazier's picture

bumpy sand

These look like the marks left by talitrids (sand hoppers)- Talitrus or Orchestia genera. Habitat is spot on and i have seen similar elsewhere. When the tide rises, all the sand hoppers start bouncing around the top of the shore and then small gulls start to show an interest (I have seen black headed gulls taking a feast). In sheltered muddy sands, you will find not dis-similar marks made by the mud shrimp Corophium sp.

Paul Brazier

JoC's picture

Your link not working

The requested URL /SeahousesSands/SeahousesSands.htm was not found on this server.


dejayM's picture


Once a year, maybe longer, someone adds a bit to this post. The Seahouses website exists but the link to the sands has been removed and the site modified. Mike himself, who obviously wrote the Environment pages ( - Oooops), has stopped coming here.
Unfortunately iSpot is littered with this sort of hyperlink difficulty.
My gut feeling is that these signs may be the result of something less animate - perhaps a drying process of some sort or the rising of expanding gasses from pockets of debris - looks fanciful, now it's in writing.
We can see that the tide has been up and over this level sand (and above to the looser 'dune'); we can also observe that this troubled zone is narrow, compared to the apparent much wider exposure of sand. We may infer that specific conditions arise in this narrow zone of drying (course?) sand and that some perfect condition of climate, (heat/humidity/salinity/timing say), for small creatures to emerge from a larval or pupal stage.
We know, from experience, that small flies (Phlebotomus?) congregate annoyingly in places like this and may use the rotting vegetation to begin their life cycle and, perhaps, pupate in the damp sand waiting for precise tidal conditions for emergence.
It's far too late to return and carefully excavate a section in the name of science - but that would be the way. Mike a,lso waited two years before he thought to post the mystery
Those who have contributed to this post will get my 'rambling-flag' - sorry!