This month as I wrote the Handbook of Nature Study newsletter, I really didn’t think I would find any snails to observe up close. Some topics are like that and I don’t anticipate having the opportunity to see the month’s focus topic in person. But, many times I am proven wrong and all of my preparation for the study is rewarded with an awesome experience.
This happened while camping on the Oregon coast when we found lots and lots of black turban snails (Tegula funebralis) to view up close and in detail.
Here is a short YouTube video that we uploaded showing the animal that lives inside the shell:Black Turban
This is the star of our nature study…the black turban which in real life looks quite blue or purple. We discovered the reason for this doing some research once we were able to get on the internet. Take a close look at who is living on the outer shell of this black turban! Amazing since the size of the snail shell is probably a little over an inch….it just looks bigger in my close up images. (click on the photo to really see it)
They get pounded by the surf and it actually wears away the outer shell to expose the colorful layers underneath. This image shows just how plentiful they are on this part of the coast. This is only exposed at low tide so the black turban actually can capture some water inside its shell and then “plug” it up with the operculum to keep itself moist until the tide rises again and they are under water. Amazing creation!
If you look closely at the images, you may spy some limpets and barnacles on the rocks surrounding the snails and also on the snails outer shell! This was not apparent to use until we looked at the images and is quite common.
Want to learn more about the Oregon Tidepools? Here is a wonderful and helpful link: Oregon Tidepools.
Just a sidenote: I found a wonderful page on the Monterey Bay Aquarium that features many invertebrates that you might like to share with your children. So many of these don’t look like they should be invertebrates so it may spark some interest in the topic for your family. Plus, it is a beautiful page! Invertebrates – Animal Guide
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