Violet Sea Snail


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The wild waves over the past weekend brought in loads of sargassum to the beaches of Mustang Island. All kinds of hitchhikers washed ashore with the detritus. As I sorted through the debris I spotted a flash of purple. I grabbed it, fully expecting it to be yet another ubiquitous piece of plastic.

I was ecstatic to discover it was a delicate, vibrant, tiny shell. Janitha janitha, is pelagic, meaning it completes its entire life cycle while floating out in the sea. They prey on Velella velella and Portugese Man o’ War (Physalia physalis). I find it interesting that they feed on similarly colored creatures, does that mean they acquire their color from their food?

Categories: Nature Notes

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