The submergence circa 10,000 years ago of the land the Helford River to form the Estuary or Ria if you were using the correct technical term, has created the most amazing habitat for marine fauna. These rocky reefs and the communities of marine life that have established over thousands of years are named as particular features for protection in the Special Area of Conservation (SAC) that covers the Fal and Helford Estuaries. Intertidal rocky shore communities are one of these features, providing fabulous rock pooling fun for adults and children alike, the lower the tide the more likely you are to find the more unusual looking species like this Scorpion fish.

Scorpion fish Scorpion Fish-Photo Anthony Sutton

If you snorkel or dive then the subtidal rocks and boulder habitat or the Kelp forests are fascinating to explore, and the variety of species, colour and spectacle rivals anywhere in the world.

This Leopard-spot goby will take up residence in a crack in the rocks or under the side of a large stable boulder. If you were very lucky you might find one on a low tide or very deep rockpool but usually they are seen by divers hanging about in front of their home like this one.

Leopard Spotted GobyLeopard-spotted Goby-Photo Anthony Sutton

A close relation of ours the Lightbulb Sea Squirt (look it up if you don’t believe me!) their spectacular looks are due to having a clear tunic and the internal organs coloured white (sometimes yellow). Again you need a very low tide or get your wetsuit on to see these attached to rocks or kelp.

LightbulbsLightbulb Sea Squirt-Photo Anthony Sutton

Published: Oct 2015
Author: Sue Scott (Helford Marine Conservation Group Coordinator)