Thursday, December 21, 2006

Is there a marine biologist in the house?

Last weekend, Joyce was walking along the beach with her neice. The weather was mild, and they were looking for shells along the Walnut Beach area.

In the sand, at about the half-tide watermark, right near the foot of Naugatuck Ave. they came across this conch shell.

I did a little research via Google, and found that most likely it's a Strombus gigas, commonly called the "queen conch". They're found in the Caribbean, Bahamas, Florida, and Bermuda.

So how did this little fella' end up at the mid-tide mark in Long Island Sound? That's a mighty long walk across the ocean floor to get up here.

I've seen plenty of conches, and if they're used for food they usually have a small slit near the pointy end of the shell to break the vacuum as the animal is pulled out. This shell is completely intact, no holes.

The only thing I can think of is somebody may have tossed out the shell that they purchased somewhere, maybe while on vacation. But why?

Also, there's a new restaurant right around the corner called "The Lazy Lobster". I'll have to see if they serve conch.

Or could it have been sucked into a ballast port of an ocean freighter from a tropical port, only to be discharged when the boat approached New Haven or Bridgeport harbors?

Anyway, this one might have to be considered one of those "mysteries of the seas" that we've all heard about. If you have any ideas about where it came from, please post a comment.


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