Tidal Zones
Who Lives Here, Who Lives There, Who Lives Everywhere?

Between the shoreline and the open ocean, you will find the world of tide pools, where a variety of marine animals live and play. The intertidal zones of these pools range from the pounding waves of the Splash Zone to the constant watery areas of the Low Zone. There are many different kinds of sea creatures living in each of these zones and some creatures that live in all zones! Let’s see how quickly you can figure out who lives in all zones.

So what are the zones and how do you know who lives there? Keep reading to find out, then try our Tide Pool Game and flex your brain “mussel”.

Flex Your brain Mussel!

Splash Zone

This zone is at the highest tide level where the waves come crashing down onto the rocks. It is not an easy place to live. Marine animals found here have to be hardy to survive long periods out of water, exposure to sun, and fresh water from rainstorms. The tough guys surviving here are striped shore crabs, back turban snails, periwinkles, oysters and barnacles. Of course if you’re lucky you may also see a sea lions stretching out and basking on the rocks, warm sun, doesn’t bother them at all.

Sea Lion   Turban Snail   Barnacles
Sea Lion   Turban Snail   Barnacles


High Zone

The waves still get kind of rough at this zone too, but it often stays wet so the dry time is not as long as in the splash zone. Still, the creatures need to be strong enough to grip onto the rocks and withstand the pounding waves on their bodies. At this zone level you will often find mussels, sea stars, striped shore crabs, limpets, and barnacles.

Striped Shore Crab   Mussels   Limpet Smooth
Striped Shore Crab   Mussel   Limpets


Mid Zone

This zone is usually covered and uncovered twice a day by the oceans tidal movements. Animals here are built to survive underwater and out-of-water! Marine animals you might find here are anemones, chitons, sea stars and striped shore crabs.

Sea Anemone   Purple Sea Star   Chiton
Sea Anemone   Sea Star   Chiton


Low Zone

This low zone is always underwater and you’ll find the greatest variety of seacreatures here. You might have to look carefully to find them though, because they love to sneak around under seaweed and hide in crevices. The water lovers that you could find here are opaleyes, sea stars, abalone, sea cucumbers, whelks, hermit crabs, urchins, sea hares, and…yes, you guessed it, striped shore crabs.

Opal Eye Fish   Sea Cucumber   hERMIT cRAB
Opaleye   Sea Cucumber   Hermit Crab


Now it’s time to see if you remember who lives where and play our game in the Click and Drag Zone.