Oh how I love a good mystery….but even better I love a mystery that is solved! Back in November on our iLoveShelling shelling cruise to Cayo Costa, I met Ken and Candace from Missouri who showed me a piece of “BEACH BLING“.
They found it on the beach at the Island Inn on Sanibel where they were staying. After looking at the shape, the texture and by feeling the light weight of it, I told her I thought it was some sort of BRYOZOAN COLONY but those darker spots on it were throwing me off a little. Hmmmmm…. could it be a CORAL? Naaaaa….. but those spots. I’ve seen this type of piece before but I couldn’t place it.
Here’s the weird thing… Later that afternoon Trisha James posted this photo on iLoveShelling Facebook page saying she found this piece on Navarre Beach, Florida. OMG There it is again! But now I recognize that longer shape a little more because I saw a display of this very same thing in February at the Sarasota Shell Show. I also remembered there was a cool story that went along with piece of bling as well.
So I tore through all of my photos (I am soooo not an organized person so trust me, this is quite a task- ha!) to find this one picture of Doug Thompson’s TEXAS LONGHORN exhibit. Aha! That’s right! It’s a TEXAS LONGHORN!
And here is the story Doug Thompson added to his very cool exhibit…
“ This structure is built by a colony of tiny marine animals of the phylum Bryozoa, genus Hippoporidra, species (on our Atlantic coast) not known. Much as the coral polyps build large reefs, so these little bryozoa build the Longhorn, starting with a small deposit of calcareous material on a shell or shell fragment, and building in the coil outward until it is large enough to sustain the weight of the horns. After the horns are started, the whole building continues to grow, sometimes reaching an over-all span of six inches.
All this design and growth is not with purpose: the Texas Longhorn houses a small hermit crab whose full name isPylopagurus corallinus (Benedict). He differs from most other hermits in that his body lacks the twist to the left which makes it possible for other species to inhabit dead snails, most of which open to the right. Pylopagurus corallinus has a small, straight body because the spiral cavity he occupies is all on one plane. Like other hermits he has a shelly anterior and a soft, defenseless abdomen.”
You can read the rest of this fascinating information – CLICK HERE.
So the mystery was solved! But… then the holidays came along (and blah blah blah) and I never posted about them… so fast forward to this week when I saw all of the off the hook shells that Tam Tam from Michigan found. She also found a TEXAS LONGHORN! I knew exactly what it was but realized I never posted about it.
So I’m thrilled I saw Tam Tam’s cool bling and thank you Candace for showing me your TEXAS LONGHORN on our cruise together then sending photos. And thank you Trisha for posting your photos to jog my memory of the Sarasota Shell Show exhibit.
Now we know… TEXAS LONGHORNS. And have several more symbiotic relationships.
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