A Travellerspoint blog

Shells - NSW

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The problem with travelling, is you only have so much capacity. If you buy anything, or find anything, you have to carry it with you! Or in my case, send it home. But that's not always possible.
Whilst staying at Diamond Beach, I spent hours shell hunting.
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The beach was covered in them! More than I have ever seen before, and some amazing designs and colours.
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I would love to have taken them all home, and in days gone by, added them to my fish tank. But instead, with Chris's knowledge, I have put together some information on the ones that appealed to me the most. I have added some online images of the snails that would have once lived in the shells.

Amoria Unulata
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This species migrates in the spring from deep water to shallow water sandbanks to breed (Smith, Black & Shepherd 1989).
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It lays egg masses in the shape of a hollow cylinder, 16 to 20 mm in diameter, attached to the substrate. Eggs are contained in capsules in the egg mass, and embryos can be seen through the walls. The embryos hatch as well developed, crawling juveniles.

Baler Shell (the large one pictured)
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The shells of this large marine mollusc were highly valued by Aboriginal people, who used them to store water. The name came about because early Europeans recorded Aboriginal people bailing out their canoes with these huge shells.

Black Rock Crab
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The Rock Crab is a common Sydney species found under rocks around the low-tide mark.

Bristle Worm
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In free-living polychaetes, the bristles, combined with snake-like body waves, help the worm to move along. Other sedentary worms have a leathery tube, sometimes decorated with pieces of broken shell, or sand and mud particles.

Cart Rut Shell
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When it was first discovered, this species was named the Cart-rut Shell because the grooves resembled the narrow, deep wheel ruts of the horse-and-carriage vehicles of the day.

Cone Shell
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Cone snails use a hypodermic-like modified radula tooth and a venom gland to attack and paralyze their prey before engulfing it. The tooth is sometimes likened to a dart or a harpoon. It is barbed and can be extended some distance out from the mouth of the snail, at the end of the proboscis. All Conus snails are venomous and capable of "stinging" humans.

Cowrie Shell
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The shells of cowries (especially Monetaria moneta) were used for centuries as a currency in Africa. Huge amounts of Maldivian cowries were introduced into Africa by western nations during the period of slave trade.
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A print from 1845 shows cowry shells being used as money by an Arab trader. The Ghanaian unit of currency known as the Ghanaian cedi was named after cowry shells. Starting over three thousand years ago, cowry shells, or copies of the shells, were used as Chinese currency. They were also used as means of exchange in India.

Turban Shell
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The name "Turbo cornutus" literally means "horned turban," and it is characterized by a hard, ventricose, spiny, imperforate shell.
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What fascinated me is the hundreds of 'trap doors' you find on the beach - the door to the snail shell, which is closes tightly shut when threatened.

Green Turban Shell
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Mulberry Whelk
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The Mulberry Whelk, or Black Oyster Borer preys constantly on other molluscs and barnacles. It is able to use a sulphuric acid from its salivary glands to dissolve and bore its way through the prey's limy shell leaving a neat hole in their shell, and use its rasping tongue which is called a radula to cut up the animal and suck out the pieces. to use a sulphuric acid from its salivary glands to dissolve and bore its way through the prey's limy shell. Like the hole in the green turban shell below
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Chris measured one medium-sized Mulberry Whelk's radula at 8 cm long.

Zebra Topped Shell
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This Zebra Top Shell ranges from Townsville in Queensland around southern shores to Geraldton in Western Australia. It is very common in south-eastern Australia. It is unusual how the Zebra Striped Top Shell gains its striped shell pattern. At certain times of the year the algae it eats contains a substance that the mollusc excretes into its shell to form a darkened band. It is not known if the number of bands indicate the age of the Top Shell. What is interesting is that the bands occur in all variations of thickness from very thin to very wide.

Lobster Pot Rock
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Left over and washed up from weighing down lobster pots out at sea.

Seaweedy beach
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One day, the beach would be covered in sea-weed that had appeared over night. The next day, it could all be gone again, leaving a clean pebbly beach!

Love for the shells and the people at Diamond Beach
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Posted by charlystyles 13:55 Archived in Australia Tagged shells diamond_beach

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