Thursday, October 13, 2011

CA sea-lavender ~ 10/13/11 ~ Morro Bay

posted 11/04/11 - Too bad these flowers are past their prime. I've been wanting to get pictures of our native sea-lavender ever since our last visit to Morro Bay on October 31, 2010 when I spotted the purple flowers but failed to photograph them. Interesting to note, even though we visited a couple weeks earlier compared to last year, the purple flowers had already dried up. I like seeing how plants bloom at slightly different times every year.

This is the only native Limonium found in CA, and one of only 3 species native to North America, with the other two being L. carolinianum and L. limbatum. Thanks to the Morro Bay National Estuary Program site, I learned that the non-native Algerian sea-lavender (L. ramosissimum) has recently been found in Morro Bay. Most folks around the world likely know Limonium spp. as statice.

ps - Lavender is spelled with an -er, not -ar, of which the above named plants are not actually related.

CA horn snail ~ 10/13/11 ~ Morro Bay

posted 11/03/11 - I wanted to revisit this ID with fresh pictures and conduct another online ID search. What I noticed this visit was that all the snails on the path were dead with their openings facing down in the mud. I thought this was peculiar and probably not random. For the second picture above, I turned one over and cleaned the opening to show the shape of aperture. I reached into the green gunk to take a closer look at an actual live snail. The one I'm holding is about medium sized compared to the larger empty shells.

Walla Walla University still has the best somewhat-local ID comparative description I've found under Batillaria attramentaria (one of two Japanese false cerith snails, with the other being Batillaria zonalis, if indeed it is a distinct species). Plus, this time around I noticed Conchology, Inc. has at least two errors on their Potamididae family page; Batillaria spp. belong to the Batillariidae family page. So, this got me thinking about looking at other similar looking marine snails. WoRMS is great for listing the names of other Cerithioidea families. I looked through the Natural History Museum Rotterdam's site and came up with the following families that have similar looking shells: Batillariidae, Cerithiidae, Dialidae, Potamididae, Scaliolidae, Thiaridae, and Turritellidae. I checked the EOL for the locations of some of the snails, but none are recorded anywhere near central California's coast, except C. californica and B. attramentaria. Nature's variations amaze me.

I don't often post so many pictures for a single ID, but this was a personal quest after my minor hubbub around a permissions request and withdrawal from my first post of CA horn snails. It caused me to go into major blogging existential contemplation, which I wrote about in am I doing the right thing with this blog?