The Sargasso Seaweed is wonderful and is a floating city when
out on the water. It is a city for a variety of marine life
and sea turtles. As it is blown into the Gulf of Mexico on
the north winds, it eventually ends up on the beach and in
the bay. Most of the fish have enough sense to swim out to
more of it as the seaweed hits the breakers. Some of the little
creatures cling on for dear life and end up on the beach where,
to the delight of the shore birds, they pick thru it and eat
the little shrimp and crabs that didn’t bail out in
time. The Seaweed then becomes a great natural way to keep
the beach in place as it sinks down into the sand and helps
to hold the beach in place. Sweeping it up to please the beach
goers in the long run may have the beach goers crying “where
is the beach” as the beach slowly erodes away. This
seaweed has piled up on these beaches for hundreds, even thousands
of years and helps to renourish the fragile beach ecosystem.
The creatures that live in the Sargasso are very unique and
have adapted well to their floating city. Most of them are
the same orange color of the seaweed itself.
The Sargasso fish is perfectly at home being the same color
and having adapted foot like fins that crawl thru the seaweed
looking for a meal. It can consume a fish the same size as
The Sargasso File fish uses its file like fin to hold itself
in the seaweed.
The Sargasso Seahorse and its relative the Pipefish are also
that great golden orange color. There are nudibranchs and
anemones, Sargasso crabs and shrimp.
Nudibranch blending into the sargasso seaweed
Other creatures also use the Seaweed as a nursery for their
young such as Southern Hakes and Butterfish and many exotic
fish such as tiny flying fish are found in this unique Sargasso.
The reason this seaweed floats is that it has hundreds of
tiny air filled sacs that you can pop like bubble wrap. If
you pick it up on the beach just as it floats in and give
it a shake you can see the little shrimp and crabs that are
hiding in it. If you take a small cup to the beach with you
and fill it with sea water, then shake the freshly beached
sargasso over it the tiny creatures will fall into the water
and you can enjoy seeing them.
Also you can help save wildlife by picking up trash on the
beach and disposing of it in the trash cans provided by the
city and county.
If you would like to see the creatures that live in this unique
seaweed and learn more about how to help save wildlife call
956-454-4799 to visit the South Padre Island Dolphin Research
and Nature Center, a non profit organization dedicated to
helping save wildlife of South Padre Island through education.