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.
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…
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)
There are also lots of PAPER FIG shells on the beach now too.
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.
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…
This is what it looks like when it is still being useful to it’s owner….