Saturday, January 05, 2008

Tulip in december but..........

not that type of tulip.

The gastropod the Caribbean is famous for is, of course, conch. However we have some other massive gastropods that occasionally make themselves known. When I first came across this chap I assumed it was an atlantic triton, Charonia variegata, the other big gastropod that occasionally turns up as an ornament here.

Fasciolaria tulipa

Once I got a look at its bright red foot however I wasn't too sure at all.

Fasciolaria tulipa

A friendly helper on the internets corrected me and revealed the true identity, a True Tulip, Fasciolaria tulipa. I presume this means there is a false tulip too?

Fasciolaria tulipa

Unlike our Queen Conch which grazes this bad boy is an active predator drilling its way into bivalves and the like and devouring the fleshy inside. For scale this was about 8 inches long so its a pretty big animal and a relatively fearsome predator of the flats (at least until the nurse sharks turn up to crunch it up!)

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