26 February 2011

A Day at the coast

Last Saturday we went down the coast to Stevenston. The idea was to collect shells, as this is the nearest point on the Clyde where one can find a reasonably wide selection of marine species. Further up the coast, the salinity is lower and the species found are more estuarine.

I was particularly looking for Limaria hians shells, having found broken ones there before. After recent storms, I hoped that there would be plenty of shells washed up. I failed to find any Limaria, and the first section of the beach was covered in seaweed, but beyond the seaweed, on the sand, I found a good collection of small shells among the fragments of coal that get washed up here.

In the picture above, the shells are as follows:
Top row: Gari fervensis (Faroe sunset shell), Eptonium turtonis (Wentletrap), Epitonium clathrus (Wentletrap), Aporrhais pespelecani (Pelican's foot shell).
Middle row: Donax vittatus (Banded wedge shell), Acteon tornatalis, a turrid still to be identified, Polinices polianus (Alder's necklace shell).
Bottom row: Donax vittatus (Banded wedge shell), Angulus tenuis (This Tellin), probably Aequipecten opercularis (Queen scallop)(x2)

The larger picture of the 2 Epitonium shells shows the difference between the 2 species. E. turtonis on the left has flatter ribs which are not aligned between whorls, while E. clathrus on the right has ribs which are aligned through the height of the shell.

Apart from shells, we also found several dead brittle stars among the debris on the beach. This one is upside down, showing its mouthparts.

We also found this strange fish...

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