Wednesday, June 30, 2010

White Shell Wednesday

One of my favorite white shells (but then they all seem like favorites to me) is the Distaff spindles or Fusinus colus.  The Neogastropoda is an order of Gastropoda comprising comprising of 15,000 living species.  Amazing.

(All photos enlarge when clicked.)

This species of sea snails are mostly found in salt waters.  Many of the species are deep-water forms that live on sandy bottoms. The common name of Distaff spindles comes from its shape of a drop spindle or spindle from a spindle wheel.  Another reason I tend to romance this shell is I am a spinner; the idea that mermaids and seawitch's everywhere are spinning fiber using a Distaff Shell enchants me.  There delicate shape belies their strength and they are quite a sturdy shell averaging 5-7 inches in length but can be found much longer.

Drop spindle with spun and unspun fiber.

This lovely spindle-shaped shell has a tall spire and long siphonal canal.  This order of gastropods contains the most highly developed snails where respiration is by means of a comb-like respiratory structure which serves as the gill of this mollusk.  This respiratory organ breathes oxygen dissolved in water.  Their nervous system is concentrated, an operculum or "trapdoor" is attached to the gastropod's foot that closes the aperture of the shell when the soft parts of the gastropod are retracted. This is for protection against predators and physical and chemical stresses. The popular "Cat's Eye" shell is really not a shell but this trapdoor or operculum.

"Cat's Eye Trapdoor in living shell. 
Cat's eye operculum were commonly seen in Victorian jewelry  worn to ward off the "evil eye."    They are a carnivorous species having a radula containing two or three large teeth in each row. Some possess a poison gland. All are marine inhabitants.

Such a lovely shell.

Slugs and snails are hermaphrodites with both male and female sexual organs, however the sexes are different in this species of marine snails. The snails live on sandy bottoms in usually deep waters and they travel in pairs, which is a unique feature of this species.   Have a wonderful white Wednesday.  Sea Witch


Javajune said...

Love, love the shells and I love the facts to go along with. I hope your summer is full of sunshine and warm breezes. Enjoy!

Crowing Moon said...

WOW. Lots of things I never knew.
Your shells are beautiful :)

BaronessVonVintage said...

just enchanting shells! LOVE the Waterhouse mermaids in your background image. GORGEOUS!

Sherry Blue Sky said...

SO beautiful! THANK YOU for gracing this morning with these lovely shells.....they take me back to the sea. I so loved walking the high tide line looking for treasures. Sigh.

ticklishfromadistance said...

Love that shell. Gorgeous.

Laurel Reufner said...

I just wanted to let you know that I grabbed the turbo image for use in a "Supernatural" related blog post for a series that I've been writing. I'll happily link back to this article. Heck, I was already planning on doing so. :-)