Thursday, December 13, 2007

Disc Dosinias on Fort Myers Beach

A few weeks ago I was down on Fort Myers Beach, toward the south end, and found tens of thousands of beautiful white clam shells washed up on the beach. Most of them still had both halves connected. I wondered why so many dead clams in one spot? Could they have died from red tide offshore and then washed up with the currents? Perhaps it was a purely natural life-cycle event and no evil organism is to blame. Who knows?

These were small, delicate, white clams called Disc Dosinia (Dosinia discus). It is the first time I've seen these clams, although my reference books say they are common. Perhaps I've seen them before, just not in the thousands.

I have seen mass strandings of Fighting Conchs on Lover's Key and on Clearwater Beach, but I suspect that some mating ritual is involved with that. Below is a photo of the beached Fighting Conchs (Strombus alatus) on Clearwater Beach in 2005.

I couldn't help but pick up the little Dosinia clams; they were so clean and fresh looking. No wear and tear at all. It's always nice to find fresh shells on the beach that aren't worn down by the sand and surf.

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