The Beach as a Habitat
Wide, sandy beaches provide much more than a space for people to set up a beach chair and umbrella. They are also prime habitats for thousands of critters. Take this quiz from the American Shore and Beach Preservation Association to find out how much you know about the creatures who live on the beach.
FORT MYERS - At first glance, a beach may not appear to have many animals living on it; however, beaches are actually complex habitats that support many species of animals unique to shorelines. Take this quiz from the American Shore and Beach Preservation Association to find out how much you know about the creatures that live on the beach.
1. What is the area where the land and sea meet called?
a) The intertidal area
b) The littoral zone
c) Both A and B
Answer: C. The area where land and sea meet is called the intertidal area or littoral zone, two terms that mean essentially the same thing. This zone is found along shorelines around the world and is home to a very complex marine ecosystem. Thousands of critters ? including micro-organisms, snakes, sand crabs, sea turtles and birds ? call this space home.
2. True or false: There are four primary zones within the littoral zone.
Answer: True. There are four different zones on the shoreline - the Lower Littoral Zone, the Lower-Mid-Littoral Zone, the Upper Mid-Littoral Zone and the Upper Littoral Zone. Each one serves as a habitat for different types of animals, including barnacles, limpets, periwinkles, anemones, brittle stars, crabs, mussels, sea stars, snails, mussels, shrimp, sea urchins, sponges, and whelks.
3. Which of the following aspects are true of the sand crab?
a) It is also known as a mole crab
b) It can only move backwards
c) It buries itself tail-first into the sand
d) It is a good swimmer
e) All of the above
Answer: E. The sand crab is also known as a mole crab. Although other types of crabs can move in any direction, the sand crab can only move backwards. Its rear legs are shaped like paddles, which make it a good swimmer. The sand crab buries itself tail-first into the sand, with its head near the surface facing seaward. Only its eyes and antennae are held above the sand.
4. What are some characteristics of a mollusk?
a) Invertebrate protected by a shell
b) Soft bodies
c) A shell made of calcium carbonate
d) Live in or near water
e) All of the above
Answer: E. Mollusks have soft bodies, a foot, visceral mass and a mantle. Most also have a shell made of calcium carbonate. Snails, clams, slugs, squid and octopus are examples of mollusks.
5. Which of the following animals are considered littoral zone predators?
a) Sea anemone
d) Sea star
e) Both A and B
Answer: E. The Sea anemone is a predatory animal that looks like a flower and lives on the ocean floor. The whelk is a predatory marine invertebrate with a spiral shell.
(This information is provided by the American Shore & Beach Preservation Association.)