Saturday, July 21, 2007

Atlantic Calico Scallop and Florida Fighting Conch

The Calico Scallop Argopecten gibbus (Linnaeus)
Is a bivalve ranging in size from 1-3 inches. It is almost circular in shape and has equally sized ears. The exterior of the right valve is white-yellowish and usually splotched or striped with colors of red or purple. The left valve is darker in color usually with red, orange or purple variegated with white or yellow- white. This scallop is commercially fished especially off both North Carolina and eastern Florida coasts. It is found only in the ocean and lives in 100 foot depths from Delaware to Brazil.
The live scallop has rows of eyes each having its own lens and retina, but it has no center of vision in its brain and probably can't form an image. It can however distinguish light and dark. It moves by opening and closing its shell. The dark variegated scallops are also calico but a chemical reaction occurred in these shells in which the calcium carbonate had been replaced with iron sulfide when the scallops were buried in the offshore muck and lacked oxygen.(Florida's Fabulous Seashells - Williams/Carmichael)
Florida Fighting Conch Strombus alatus (Gmelin)
is 2-4.5 inches and is a thick shell and is yellow-brown to reddish brown in color often with pale spots or stripes. It's axial ribs are crossed by spiral cords and gradually become larger and more separated and knobbed. It has a stromboid notch on its lower end of the canal. This notch is typical of all true conches - hence, they are in the family of Strombidae.
A herbivore, it feeds on red algae and is found offshore from North Carolina to Texas and Mexico. Like the Atlantic Calico Scallop above, it is also commercially fished chiefly for steaks, chowders and salads.
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