Sunday, October 31, 2010

CA horn snail ~ 10/31/10 ~ Morro Bay

California horn snail
Cerithidea californica

These shells are kinda of pretty with the blue on the fat end. It's somewhat odd to me that I found these in a town that I visited for many, many years for holidays where we always went to The Shell Shop. They sold the prettiest, polished shells from around the world for pennies. My mother liked keeping an abalone shell filled with various other shells as decoration on our main bathroom counter. Maybe it was a sign of the times. I don't know. I do remember not being particularly keen on cleaning them when they got covered in household dust during my weekly bathroom chores. Now, I feel a little repulsed by any collection of animal parts on display as art or decoration, without any knowledge of what they are. "Pretty" just doesn't do it for me anymore.

With a quick search online, I didn't find a decent site describing C. californica, but I'm fairly sure of this ID. Several sites mention the CA horn snail is similar looking to the introduced Asian horn snail (Batillaria attramentaria), which I've posted about before. However, when considering the location, relative density of the horn snails, and looking at pictures of each without being completely covered in mud, the visual cues seem fairly obvious. Despite my hesitation to promote online commercial interests, I found Conchology, Inc. to have an excellent pictorial comparison of snails in the Potamididae family.

ps 10/01/11 - I was asked this week for permission to use my photos of CA horn snails by a journalist from Pour la Science (apparently the French version of Scientific American). I was pretty chuffed that someone from France found my pictures and wanted to use them in a respectable publication, online and in print. During our e-mail communications, I pointed out that I am not a malacologist and that my IDs are my amateur best guesses. Hey, I really do try to be honest and up front. I'm not sure how that translated into French, but she ended up declining use and thanked me for my time. I remember how long it took me to make this Cerithidea californica ID, and I'm 95% sure I got it correct. Before granting permission, I admit to holding concerns about knowing exactly what the article was supposed to be about and whether to charge $ for use (more for those bloggers who use their blogs as a way to advertise their own professional photography; personally, I don't have much interest in that kind of thing). I did not ask pay for use, but I did ask to quote her e-mail request. She didn't respond specifically, so I don't have it available here. I was a bit disappointed my photos are not being used, and my ego got bruised. In any case, her article is already out: I assume she received permission from Conchology, which I embedded in my original post above, but she also got the credits incorrect - I seriously doubt Haderman had access to e-photography back in 1840. I think it'd be a tough job being a journalist and writing about things you know very little about.

pss 11/03/11 - I visited this place again to get better pictures and to double-check my ID. Please see my new post on CA horn snails.


texwisgirl said...

I'm okay with displaying animal parts for decoration - as long as the animals died PRIOR to being harvested for said decor.

Those shells are pretty cool.

Nature ID (Katie) said...

Thanks for you prompt comments, twg. I like.

Anonymous said...

Lovely work, although i have been lurking around for awhile i have not got around to commenting til now. cheers