Horse Island

Located just off the shore of Stony Creek, CT, lies an archipelago of small rocky islands that have a notable connection to the Yale Peabody Museum Invertebrate Zoology. One of the islands in the group, Outer Island, was once owned by Yale’s first Professor of Zoology, Addison Verrill. In a biography written by his son, it is noted how much Verrill enjoyed living on the island, and how he would spend his summers collecting specimens, writing scientific papers and tending to his garden. Today, Outer Island is an ecological preserve and refuge for migratory birds. The island also houses a scientific station for research and educational outreach.

Salt Marsh on Horse Island

The island directly adjacent to Outer Island is Horse Island. Horse Island is owned by the Yale Peabody Museum. Horse Island has a range of habitats around its perimeter such as rocky intertidal zones and salt marshes, while the center of the island is covered by light forest. Due to the Yale connection to the Thimble Islands, as part of our internship we were given the opportunity to visit Horse Island.

Arriving to Horse Island by ferry.

So, this past Friday, we waved goodbye to the on campus collections and made a (very windy) ferry trip to Horse Island. We learnt about the geology and natural history of the island. Upon our return to campus I looked into the catalog to see what I could find out about the island from a collections stand point.

Prickly Pear Cactus growing on the Island.

In the collection of Invertebrate Zoology there are 45 specimen-lots from Horse Island representing five different phyla and 32 different species.

Although we didn’t do any collecting ourselves I wanted to be able to illustrate the sort of species that have been found on Horse Island. Below I have compiled a gallery of photos from the catalog to show some of Horse Island’s cool critters.


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