While strolling the beach earlier this week I chanced upon my first Banded Tulip Snail (Cinctura lilium hunteria) shell. Carefully, I picked it up and turned it over. Most of the time when I find gastropod shells they are still in use by the sea snail. Other times they have been claimed by hermit crabs. In either case, I fling them back into the water so they can go about their lives in the sublittoral zone.
As decorative as it was, I was thrilled that this three inch long shell was devoid of inhabitants. There’s a lot going on with this shell: a thin, brown line spirals around the whorl while mauve and blue-gray streaks contrast against a creamy white background. Talk about eye-catching!
It now has a prominent place among my ever-growing shell collection. Did you know? A shell expert is a conchologist (if you were a researcher working with the live animals you’d be a malacologist).