MUREX & TRITON SHELL COLLECTING ON ABACO WITH KASIA


PAGE REWRITE IN PROGRESS

MUREX (MURICIDAE) & TRITONS (RANELLIDAE) 

1. MUREX SHELLS (Muricidae)

This is a vast family of shells worldwide, with many subspecies, each of which has many regional variations. Or even variations of the same subspecies on the same beach. Many have beautiful delicate spines or intricate shapes and elaborate patterns, like the pacific one shown

These molluscs are described as ‘voracious rock scavengers’ and exhibit uninhibited psychopathic tendencies. If you have a nervous disposition, stop reading here; Sam Peckinpah missed a great film collaboration with Jacques Cousteau with these vicious little creatures

10 ESSENTIAL YET GRISLY MUREX FACTS

  • Murex are highly carnivorous with rasping teeth, and drilling equipment for boring into the shells of their prey
  • A determined Murex may take up to 5 days to drill into its prey
  • Murex also use their foot to smother prey, or to crush it by using suction power
  • They eat clams by hoovering them up with their foot and smashing them on rocks to get at the occupant
  • They happily eat sea-floor carrion and sea-kill
  • Murex act in packs to carry out raids on unsuspecting beds of clams, which they feast on avidly
  • They are sexually wanton. Females store sperm from different males for many months, eventually producing embryos with different dads (I’m not making this up. I would like to have done so)
  • Cannibalism occurs. The kids are equally prone to extreme delinquency and are happy to eat each other when peckish
  • Some species of murex secrete a fluid that is believed to be used to drug their prey into paralysis
  • That same fluid (Murex / Mucus) is also used as a dye, ‘Tyrian’ or ‘Royal’ Purple, which can be ‘milked’ from a living murex (the Aztecs & Phoenicians did this). I’ll pass on that

NEW: VIDEO of how to obtain dye from a Murex

 KASIA’S BEACHCOMBED ABACO MUREX SKELETON

TWO MUREX SHELLS OF MINE (NOT FROM ABACO) FOR COMPARISON  DETAIL OF COLOUR & SHINE

2. TRITON SHELLS (RANELLIDAE)

KASIA’S TRITON TROPHY FROM CASUARINA, ABACO

Here is another shell from Kasia’s beachcombing in the Casuarina Point area on Abaco. I’ve never seen one like this. I thought it was a TROPHON, a variety of the huge MUREX family. As I wrote, there are more than 30 types of trophon world-wide, many with a similar configuration, though I hadn’t managed to find one with a similar colouring and shell growth-pattern yet. I invited  confirmation or correction, which Colin Redfern kindly provided. It is in fact a fine example of a…

 

DOG-HEAD TRITON Cymatium cynocephalum

ANGULAR TRITON Cymatium femorale                                                                                A different sort of triton found by Kasia


6 thoughts on “MUREX & TRITON SHELL COLLECTING ON ABACO WITH KASIA

    • A pleasure! I’m not great with shell ID (other than the obvious ones); and some are easily confused. I’m lucky that a shell expert kindly follows the exploits at Rolling Harbour and corrects the mistakes… All the best from Bahamas to Bermuda. RH

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