Live cover is defensive camouflage for some Spider Crabs, Libinia spp.
"If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life, as an unfailing antidote against the boredom and disenchantments of later years, the sterile preoccupation with things artificial, the alienation from the sources of our strength." ~ Rachel Carson, The Sense of Wonder
Lightning Whelk -- Busycon contrarium, preys on bivalves, about one per month.
whelk egg casings in intertidal zone light dance -- these strings are laid by females in early spring and hatch in early May.
"If the oceans die, we die." ~ Paul Watson
Pear Whelk -- Busycon spiratum, exposed at low tide among some oyster shells it may have been emptying
although slightly unusual for these waters, i think this is a Roughtail Stingray -- Dasyatis centroura, foraging off Atsena Otie
"There are inherent thresholds in the scale of human activity, that when surpassed, produce second and third-order effects that subtract if not destroy the quality of all life." ~ E F Schumacher
Sea Walnut -- Mnemiopsis leidyi, a comb jelly of western Atlantic waters, pulse with rainbow light refracting off its moving cilia.
'And learn O voyager to walk
The roll of earth, the pitch and fall
That swings across these trees those stars:
That swings the sunlight up the wall.
And learn upon these narrow beds
To sleep in spite of sea, in spite
Of sound the rushing planet makes:
And learn to sleep against this ground.' ~ "Seafarer" by Archibald MacLeish
Sponges have no excretory, respiratory or circulatory systems, yet they consume the broadest food spectrum of all filter feeders, often relying on bacteria more than plankton.
Red Hermit Crab -- Petrochirus diogenes, named for the famous jar-bound philosopher Diogenes of Sinope
"Hermits have no peer pressure." ~ Steven Wright
Florida Stone Crab -- Menippe mercenaria
local shell collector sports a Cerith.
'...First, you figure out what each one means by itself,
the jingle, the periwinkle, the scallop
full of moonlight.
Then you begin, slowly, to read the whole story.' ~ Mary Oliver, "Breakage"
Moon Snail egg collar
"As a group, snails have the most bizarre sex lives of any animal." ~ Robert A. Wallace
mating Crown Conchs -- Melongena corona -- females typically larger than males. as predators they eat snails and bivalves, but are also opportunistic scavengers of a variety of life forms.
“Life on earth is a delicate balance of interdependent creatures. None can be ignored, for the least appreciated sometimes turn out to be the most important.” ~ Merlin Tuttle
Coffee Bean Snails -- Melampus coffeus
periwinkle mating season social
'Amoebas at the start
Were not complex;
The tore themselves apart
And started Sex.' ~ Arthur Guiterman, "Sex".
'Who has not found the heaven below
Will fail of it above.
God's residence is next to mine,
His furniture is love.' ~ E. Dickinson, XVII, Poems, Series 3.
Calico Scallop -- Aequipecten gibbus
Aphrodite was born from the foam of Uranus' genitals and and floated to shore on the shell of a scallop.
Sunray Venus Clam -- Macrocallista nimbosa, has been considered for commercial potential. grows to about 4".
Cross-barred Venus -- Chione cancellata
“I was dreaming that I got married and such was my despair that I woke up. Rather than repeat the same dream, I got up and walked the streets at night like a madman.” ~ Sandro Botticelli
Brazilian Sea Hare -- Aplysia brasiliana
Ragged Sea Hares -- Bursatella leachii pleii
"I don't like standard beauty. There is no beauty without strangeness." ~ Karl Lagerfeld
"any life form is amazing when you really look." ~ Janet Woodcock
Cannonball Jellyfish -- Stomolophus meleagris (non-stinging)
Politicians are like jellyfish: all mouth and no spine.
"Nature talks in symbols; he who lacks imagination cannot understand her." ~ Abraham Miller
the White Ibis has the right tools for fiddler crabbing here
Burger's Fiddler Crab -- Uca burgesi.
"Nature is not a place to visit. It is home." ~ Gary Snyder
fiddler mudflat social
'Always the beautiful answer who asks a more beautiful question.' ~ e. e. cummings
Fiddler Crabs change color in a regulated way, and are darker at low tide.
"Art is a harmony parallel with nature." ~ Paul Cezanne
i think this is a Mud Fiddler Crab -- Uca pugnax
Red Mangrove -- Rhizophora mangle, in death still maintain the beachhead.
Raccoon foraging around Black and Red Mangroves
"The vagabond, when rich, is called a tourist." ~ Paul Richard
Blue Crab -- Callinectes sapidus. Callinectes = 'beautiful swimmer', sapidus = 'savory'.
One acre of mangroves sheds around three tons of nutrient-rich plant matter per year, providing a consistent energy source for an elaborate food chain.
Blue Crab shows its business side
Marbled Marsh Crab -- Sesarma ricordi
Purple Marsh Crab -- Sesarma reticulatum
Gray Marsh Crab -- Sesarma cinereum
immature Little Blue Heron pulls a crab off the mangrove roots
Florida Horse Conch -- Triplofusus giganteus, FL state shell
Top predators play critical roles in maintaining ecosystem balance. Note to humans: do your duty.
Black Mangrove is the larval foodplant of the False-windowed Sphinx Moth -- Madoryx pseudothyreus, Hodges# 7843, MPG 228150
Marsh Periwinkle -- Littorina angulifera
'...the sea is circled and sways peacefully upon its plantlike stem.' ~ William Carlos Williams, "Flowers By the Sea", 1935
Mangrove Buckeye -- Junonia genoveva
"The most important environmental issue is one that is rarely mentioned, and that is the lack of a conservation ethic in our culture." ~ Gaylord Nelson
Common Buckeye -- Junonia coenia
Ruddy Daggerwing -- Marpesia petreus
Angel Wing Clam shells -- Cyrotopleura costata
"The wings of angels are often found on the backs of the least likely people." ~ Eric Honeycutt