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Banded-Tulip2-300The banded tulip (Fasciolaria hunteria) is a marine snail that reaches 3" in length. Its shell has a slender, tapered shape with a smooth, shiny surface. Fine lines of dark brown ring blue-green and tan whorls. Ranging from North Carolina to the Gulf States, the banded tulip is found locally in three to 40 feet of water. Its cousin, the true tulip, is also a common find along Naples' beaches, but its shell is more mottled with dark brown coloration. Live shelling is prohibited in Collier County. Ensure there is no animal inside before taking any shells.

 

Florida Fighting ConchThe Florida fighting conch is a plant eating mollusk. Its name likely is derived from the feisty attitude it displays when picked up rather than from any violent tendencies toward other snails. True members of the conch family, these 3-4 inch long snails have two notches at the front of their shells that their unusually large, stalked eyes project through. Fighting conchs often move in hops. They pick up their shell, leap forward a short distance in normal travel, or a few inches in escape mode, then pick up the shell and leap forward again. Storms and currents sometimes cause these snails to wash up along barrier island beaches in large numbers.

 

horse-conch-dsg-smallerThe horse conch is the state shell of Florida and is closely related to tulip snails. Young horse conch shells are orange but when mature are covered with brown, non-calcareous material called periostracum. The largest snail residing in American waters and one of the largest univalves in the world, the horse conch lives more than 10 years and preys upon other snails.

oystersOysters are shelled, filter-feeding animals related to clams and scallops. Microscopic young, called spat, float in the water column until they grow and settle on a hard substrate where they cement themselves in clumps. Clumps of oysters, sometimes called reefs or beds, provide invaluable shelter for small crabs, shrimp, marine worms, snails and other invertebrates (animals without backbones).

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