31 August 2008

Skye coral beach

Near Dunvegan, in the north-west of Skye, we visited a beach composed of what looks like coral.

This is not coral at all, but broken pieces of calcified red seaweed known as maerl. For more information about maerl, see the UK Marine SACs project website.

Among the maerl fragments are many seashells such as those below:

top: Clausinella fasciata (Banded Venus), Trivia monacha (Spotted cowrie), Hinia incrassata (Thick-lipped Dog Whelk), Gari tellinella (Sunset Shell).

centre: Gibbula opercularis (Flat Top Shell), Gibbula cineraria (Grey Top Shell), Tectura virginea (White tortoiseshell limpet).

bottom: Parvicardium exiguum (Little cockle), Lucinoma borealis (Northern Lucine), Aequipecten opercularis (Queen Scallop).

Below are some larger shells, clockwise: Gari depressa (Large Sunset Shell), a piece of Maerl, Dosinia exoleta (Rayed Artemis), Venerupis senegalensis (Pullet Carpet Shell), Circomphalus casina, Mya truncata (Blunt Gaper).

For more about seashells, see our UK Seashells website.

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