Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Pacific razor clam ~ 10/12/11 ~ Morro Strand Beach

posted 10/29/11 - Through my sheer laziness (or am I simply feeling a bit tired from the increased autumnal dark hours?), I almost posted this as "Oooh, pretty shells! Look at the cool tie-dye effect."

However, I'm glad I took the time to research the shell evidence of this animal. To tell you the truth, I'm not 100% positive this is a S. patula; it might possibly be S. lucida, if I trust Dr. P. Roopnarine, a curator at CalAcademy. Walla Walla University (linked in the scientific name above) has a quick key to Cultellidae (formerly Solenidae or Pharidae). Pictured above are definitely more than 5 cm in length. What we saw in abundance at Morro Strand were several inches in length. The periostracum was well-worn in various stages from the wave action, which makes the shell look like many others from around the world, like S. costata or S. radiata. What made these pictures difficult to positively ID is that I didn't turn over the shells to look at the insides, so to speak. One online page that I found to be extraordinarily helpful is Common Marine Bivalves of California, Fish Bulletin No. 90, written by John E. Fitch, and issued in 1953.

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