Sunday, June 24, 2007

Brown-Banded Wentletrap, Variable Dwarf Olive,Florida Auger

Brown-Banded Wentletrap Epitonium rupicola (Kurtz) - This is a beautiful shell. It's between 3/8-1 inch in length and it has a whitish exterior with brown spiral bands. It lives in sounds and just off-shore. It will occasionally wash up on the beach at the tide line. It is a carnivore and forages for the small anemones and secretes a substance that may anesthetize the anemones. It can be found from Cape Cod to Texas, but is more common in northern waters.

This shell is a Variable Dwarf Olive Olivella mutica (Say). It's about 1/2 inch and smooth, shiny and shaped like the larger olive shells. It's creamy white with three reddish brown spiral bands. It's a carnivore and the female lays egg capsules on any hard object found on the sandy bottom, often on empty bivalve or barchiopod shells. It's found from North Carolina to the Bahamas.
I'm not positive about this shell, but according to the Museum of Coastal Carolina on Ocean Isle Beach, NC, it is the Florida Auger, known as the Terebra Floridana (Dall). It's found from NC to Florida in moderately deep water.
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