San Diego Natural History Museum--Your Nature ConnectionSDNHM Biodiversity Research Center of the Californias - Marine Invertebrates

Souvenirs from the Sea

 

Kelp Forests are a vital habitat to the marine environment as well as our economy. The Kelp-Weed Scallop attaches to the fronds of kelp with fine byssus threads, whereas Channeled and Norris's Top Snails crawl about freely.

Kelp-Weed Scallop shells, photo by Lollo Enstad  Norris' Top shells, top and bottom views, with shaggy operculum (round structure in opening of shell) visible, photo by Lollo Enstad Left: Kelp-Weed Scallop, Leptopecten latiauratus (Conrad, 1837) shells
Right: Norris' Top Shell, Norrisia norrisi (Sowerby, 1838) shells, top and bottom views, with shaggy operculum (round structure in opening of shell) visible


The Ocean Surface, also known as the Pelagic Zone, is also home to marine invertebrates. Very rarely, these species are stranded on beaches by unusual storm conditions. One species that may be stranded in great numbers is the By-the-Wind Sailor, Velella velella, a small relative of the Portuguese Man-of-War. The Purple Snail may also be rarely stranded in large numbers. The Purple Snail specimen pictured below was washed ashore on Imperial Beach in late February 2003.

Janthina Snail shell, photo by Scott Rugh  By-the-Wind Sailor, photo courtesy of manzanita@calacademy.org by Sherry Ballard  California Academy of Sciences
Left: Janthina Snail, Janthina exigua (Lamark, 1816)
Right: By-the-Wind-Sailor, Velella velella (Linnaeus, 1758), photo courtesy of Sherry Ballard California Academy of Sciences

Rocky Offshore Bottom and Sandy Offshore Bottom Shells >

Text by Scott Rugh, Collections Manager, Invertebrate Fossils; photos by Scott Rugh and Lollo Enstad