Friday, July 6, 2018

Operculum heaven

I am somewhat embarrassed to admit that I have an unusual collection: operculum!
 These are the little white things that Turban Shells use to close the door to their shells in order to keep out predators.
The embarrassing thing involves how many I have: 7649!!! And that was before my last two swims. (That means I now have more...) I keep them in this huge peanut butter pretzel jar on my lanai. I even recently moved with them and let me tell you those puppies are heavy! Well, at least when you have so many of them. 
 I think they are fascinating: bumpy top and pretty lined bottom.
 Some of them are shiny and some are discolored. But still fascinating!

When I first saw them on the bottom, I picked 'em up. Loved the pattern, the pale white color. And it was something I could collect that wouldn't bother anyone: no one uses them, to my knowledge, once they are out of the shell. Sadly, it recently occurred to me that perhaps this means for each operculum, there might be a broken Turban shell. But I do know, I didn't do it! It also means that I have popped down to pick 'em up, usually one at a time. Sometimes I am in shallow enough water so that I can pick one up without diving, but I do feel I'm getting my appropriate exercise, with all the diving down!

Take a look through my earlier posts if you want to see them in their natural use. Just like a trap door that the shell animal uses to protect itself. Quite an amazing creation.

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