Whales, porpoises and dolphins sometimes become beached and die. Others wash ashore dead. Their carcasses provide a feast for scavengers and carrion feeders like these gulls and beetles.

Whales, porpoises and dolphins sometimes become beached and die. Others wash ashore dead. Their carcasses provide a feast for scavengers and carrion feeders like these gulls and beetles.

© Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History 2001 All Rights Reserved.

Whales, porpoises and dolphins sometimes become beached and die.

Pilot Whale - Globicephala malaena

Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History

© Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History 2001 All Rights Reserved.


Carrion Beetles - Silpha lapponica, Creophilus maxillosus

Carrion Beetles - Silpha lapponica, Creophilus maxillosus

Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History

© Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History 2001 All Rights Reserved.


Herring gull - Larus argentatus

Herring Gull - Larus Argentatus

Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History

© Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History 2001 All Rights Reserved.


Decaying seaweeds washed up on the beach are food for thousands of amphipods ("sandhoppers"). These are hunted by Sable Island's largest spider.
Decaying seaweeds washed up on the beach are food for thousands of amphipods ("sandhoppers"). These are hunted by Sable Island's largest spider.

© Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History 2001 All Rights Reserved.

Gammarus lawrencianus

Gammarus lawrencianus

Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History

© Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History 2001 All Rights Reserved.


Arctosa littoralis

Arctosa littoralis

Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History

© Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History 2001 All Rights Reserved.


Along the shore, breaking waves move the sand around. Animals here must be strong burrowers to avoid being washed away. The large size and hard shells of Surf Clams provide good protection.


Along the shore, breaking waves move the sand around. Animals here must be strong burrowers to avoid being washed away. The large size and hard shells of Surf Clams provide good protection.


© Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History 2001 All Rights Reserved.

Surf Clam - Spisula solidissima

Surf Clam - Spisula solidissima

Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History

© Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History 2001 All Rights Reserved.


Surf Clams filter food from the water using retractable body parts called siphons. They are themselves eaten by Moon Snails, which scrape a hole through the shell and inject poison.
Surf Clams filter food from the water using retractable body parts called siphons. They are themselves eaten by Moon Snails, which scrape a hole through the shell and inject poison.

© Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History 2001 All Rights Reserved.

Northern Moon Snail - Lunatia heros

Northern Moon Snail - Lunatia heros

Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History

© Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History 2001 All Rights Reserved.


Surf Clam with a hole made by a Moon Snail

Surf Clam with a hole made by a Moon Snail

Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History

© Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History 2001 All Rights Reserved.


Learning Objectives

The learner will:
  • Identify animals that make up the life - food chain on Sable Island.

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