Oys­ter Thief Phaeo­phyta

(Colpome­nia pere­g­rina)

Country Life Every Week - - Kitchen Garden Cook Radicchio -

This odd-look­ing sea­weed—which is about the size and more or less the shape of a ten­nis ball—is not a na­tive species. It came first to France, ar­riv­ing with the cul­ti­vated Pa­cific oys­ter, then made its way to the south coast of Eng­land. De­spite be­ing a for­eign in­tro­duc­tion, it’s never caused any prob­lems, just the lit­tle buzz of joy in see­ing some­thing so pe­cu­liar bob­bing about in the sea. And the com­mon name? Well, it some­times grows on oys­ters. When it gets to a cer­tain size, its oxy­gen­filled body is suf­fi­ciently buoy­ant to lift the un­for­tu­nate oys­ter from the seabed and float off with it.

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