Shells from Venezuela

Here are some of the shells we found in Venezuela in 2005, taken in a small aquarium while the mollusks were still living. I used a Nikon D100 digital camera with a 60mm micro lens and later enhanced the photos (taking out distracting backgrounds and correcting for color) in Photoshop.

The underside of a rock, showing several chitons and tegulas, plus other shells.

Fissurella barbadensis, "Barbados Limpet"

Living under a rock, this shell is difficult to see because of the algae living on its' shell. A tegula is in front of the limpet, and another limpet species, Patelloida pustulata pulcherrima is on a blade of turtle grass above it in the photo.

Fissurella barbadensis

Pulled off its' rock, the animal's foot is revealed. It is attempting to right itself.

Pitar dione, "Royal Comb Venus"

These elegant shells are common on one of the beaches on Margarita Island. They live in the surf zone with the spines uppermost - a good reason to wear shoes while wading!

Spirula spirula/I>

Related to the Nautilus, this is the internal shell of a squid. It's chambers are filled with air, so when the animal dies, the shells wash up high on beaches worldwide.

Haustellum chrysostoma, "Gold Mouthed Murex"

Murex often come together in large masses to lay eggs; sometimes they get so busy laying that they lay them on top of each other, and occasionally one or more gets "stuck" inside the egg mass. This shell was inside this egg mass on the beach.

Tegula species

The tegulas have extra sets of tentacles that actively wave about sensing the environment.

Turbo castaneus, "Chestnut Turban"

This animal seems to have fierce blue eyes. As it moves about, the shell "sits" on the operculum.

Turbo castaneus

Turbos' feet are divided into two longitudinal parts. They crawl forward by moving first one side and then the other while holdiing tight to the substrate with the other half.

Columbella mercatoria, "Common Atlantic Dove Shell"
Leucozonia nassa, "Chestnus Latirus"

Sometimes the shell of this commmon species has a "tooth" on the outside of the aperture.

another view of Leucozonia nassa

The red body is typical of the family.

Cypraea mus, "Mouse Cowry"

This animal is found only on the northern coast of South America. In Amuay Bay, Venezuela, it can be found in just inches of water; specimens may also be found in deeper water in the area.

Cypraea mus

Voluta musica, "Music volute"

Volutes have a beautifully marked animal.

Another view of Voluta musica


A nudibranch, with naked (nude) gills (branchs). The gills are on the rear of the animal, which is facing forward in this photo.


In this photo the animal is going away.

Mitrella ocellata, "White-Spotted Dove Shell"

Prunum prunum

Marginellas are among the most active of mollusks, and this specimen was no exception. I took about 20 pictures of it!