Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Mollusk Egg Casings

One of the coolest things about leading kayak tours for Outside South Adventures is discovering new things. While leading a trip earlier this summer, I found an interesting object floating in the water, but wasn't sure what it was. It was round and looked a lot like a suction cup ball, but the texture gave it away as something marine. Just last week I found another one, which was larger and looked more like a brain. It's pictured below.

After a little internet research and a call to a good friend, I determined that the above is a Florida conch egg casing. Prior to working in Holden Beach, I spent 15 years just an hour north in Wrightsville Beach, NC, and had never seen a casing of this sort. Nor have I ever seen a Florida horse conch in that area. Apparently North Carolina is the northern most range for the Florida horse conch and for whatever reason few are seen around Wilmington, NC. It's southern range is Mexico, and it's Florida's state shell.

Three types of whelks (a similar mollusk) are found in North Carolina - lightning, channelled and knobbed, but these are distinctly different from the Florida horse conch. Whelk egg casings look like coins stuck together in a string, and are a common sight on NC beaches. One is pictured below with the Florida horse conch casing.

Every day on the water is different, and you never know what you might find or see. Come on a tour with us and see for yourself.

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