Colors of the Sea

Colors of the Sea

Brilliant reds, oranges, yellows and purples have painted the shoreline of Sanibel this weekend with sponges, seaweed and SEA URCHINS. If you’ve seen my last posts, you’ve seen that there have been thousands of SEA URCHINS washed up on our beaches.

Brilliant sea orange and purple

Brilliant sea orange and purple

Most of the SEA URCHINS have already lost their spines which exposes the shell called a test. When they dry in the sun for a short time, they turn a gorgeous color purple. They are all beginning to look like this…

Purple Sea urchin

Purple Sea urchin

Did you know that a SEA URCHIN caused human fertility research to begin in 1875? Sounds crazy, huh? It’s true. This past summer, I found this fact when I was designing my notecard line Write From The Beach and painted a SEA URCHIN. I started digging for information to put with my illustration to add a little twist using FunFacts. I found out that German biologist Oskar ¬†Hertwig was able to witness the fertilization of SEA URCHIN eggs for the very first time in history. This revelation on any egg fertilization was due to the transparency of these eggs. An “aha moment” as Oprah would say. (click on the bolded link for whole story)

Sea Urchin Note Card

My Sea Urchin Note Card

Sea Urchin on the beach

Sea Urchin on the beach

Paper Fig on beach

Paper Fig on beach

There are also lots of PAPER FIG shells on the beach now too.

Live Paper Fig

Inhabited Paper Fig

This was the first FIG shell that I’ve ever seen with the original animal still in it. FIGS don’t have an operculum (trap door) so it was hard to tell if he was still alive or not but I put him back in the water just in case. This is one of Clark’s faves so he found a few empty ones to bring home.

Paper Fig seashells

Paper Fig seashells

Just in case you didn’t know what an OPERCULUM was… it’s that brown oval-ish trap door or lid in the opening of the shell that seals itself inside its shell. It looks like this…

operculum

Operculum found on the beach

This is what it looks like when it is still being useful to it’s owner….

Live Horse Conch

Live Horse Conch