Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Winter Beach: Operculum, Sand Collar & Fossil Turtle Shell

When I was younger the beach was all about sun, heat, baby oil, suntan, bikinis.  Summer couldn't come soon enough. Now, though, it's a winter beach that calls to me.  Cold and wild, empty except for birds, I love a winter beach, and this week I am thrilled to be staying on my favorite island,
Edisto. The goodies in my post above were things I picked up as I strolled along.

The operculum is basically a trap-door used by all univalves when they pull themselves into their shell for protection.  It feels almost like thin wood, and a fresh one looks like it could have been stained and varnished. The one above is large, 4 1/2" long, so it came from a really big shell. I mentioned Horse Conchs, but it could also be from Lightning Whelk, Knobbed Whelk, or Channeled Whelk, all of which are abundant on this island.

The sand collar is the egg case of a Shark Eye.  They are made of sand and mucus and encircle the mother shell.  As she creates it she embeds her eggs in the sand.  As soon as they dry, the collars return to being sand, so if you find one, don't plan on saving it.

More to come!



SusanA said...

Hi, Helen. I have your book and subscribed to your blog a while ago, and I love both! I'm so glad to see new posts here. This is a fascinating sketch. I learned a lot and will look for finds of my own next time we head down to the sea islands.

Helen said...

Thanks, SusanA! Thank you for your comment. I keep wanting to apologize for not posting for a while (cough, cough) or should I say, for years? It's not that I wasn't keeping my journal, but I didn't have time to get it onto the blog. Someday perhaps I will just do a massive post of all the old stuff.

I'm so glad you learned something from my blog. That means so much to me! Although I did not get my teacher's certificate with my BFA, I think I'm a teacher at heart. So, thank you so much for the compliment.

Stay tuned. I'm baccccck!

SusanA said...

Thank you for your kind response, Helen. I sometimes think about starting a blog (I got as far as a name!), but the technical knowledge and time commitment needed are two things I haven't sorted out yet. So I do understand when my favorite bloggers need a break. I'll be happy to see your sketches whenever you have time to post them!