A live specimen of the Crown Cone, Conus regius Gmelin, 1791, was found and collected at the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, off the Texas coast, at 20 m depth.
Note that collection in the sanctuary is restricted and only possible with a research permit, as it was the case here.
The specimen was heavily encrusted with coraline algae which made its identification difficult. The specimen was sent to Conus expert, Dr. Alan Kohn, who cleaned the specimen and identified it as Conus regius. Although it is a common species, he had not studied its radula, which is now illustrated in is excellent book, Conus of the Southeastern United States and Caribbean (Kohn, 2014), published by Princeton University Press: http://press.princeton.edu/titles/10229.html
The animal had a bright red foot and proboscis, as seen in the photographs. I'm including a photo of a different shell to show how a clean specimen looks like.
Read more about this species in Tunnell et al. (2010) Encyclopedia of Texas Seashells, p. 237.
Three live pistolgrip mussels in the Leon River.
This large and beautiful snail is restricted to the spruce-fir and northern hardwood forests at the higher elevations of the Great Smoky Mountains. In the mid 1980's the species was so common at Clingman's Dome that after rains it was difficult to avoid stepping on them. Over the past 20 years this snails populations have plummeted. The reasons for this decline are not known. However, air quality has changed dramatically in the last half century. Air pollution can lead to acid mists with pH as low as 3. These mists are deposited at higher elevations increasing the acidity of the soil and leaching out nutrients like calcium which snails use to build their shells.
A specimen of the Turtle of Agate Cone, Conus ermineus Born, 1778, was found and collected at the Flower Garden Bank National Marine Sanctuary at 24 m depth.
Note that collection is restricted in the sanctuary's waters; collection is only possible with a research collection, as it was the case.
The specimen was sent to Conus expert, Dr. Alan Kohn, who identified it as Conus ermineus. He studied the radula and said it was gigantic. It is now illustrated in his excellent book, Conus of the Southeastern United States and Caribbean (Kohn, 2014), published by Princeton University Press: http://press.princeton.edu/titles/10229.html
The animal has a long red proboscis, which can extend farther than the length of the shell. All cone snails are poisonous and should be handled with great care. Conus ermineus is one of the piscivorous species, which suggests that its poison could be potentially lethal (although as far as I know there aren't any such records).
Included here is a photo of a different specimen to show how the shell of this species looks.
Read more about this species in Tunnell et al. (2010) Encyclopedia of Texas Seashells, p. 236.
The beautiful Lienardo's Ancilla, Eburnea lienardi (Bernardi, 1858), better known as Ancilla lienardi, is a marine gastropod in the family Olividae. It occurs from the Caribbean to northern Brazil.
I am reporting the date the specimen in the photos was collected, but the collection date is incomplete on the specimen label (see photo).
I photographed this specimen at the Houston Museum of Natural Science on 2006-10-19.
Some specimens have a darker color, as seen in some photos at this website:
Can't add photo yet.
A few specimens of Pyrgophorus cf. coronatus were collected among empty shells of the Asian Clam, Corbicula fluminea, that were clogging a 52-in pipe at the Jim Naismith Reservoir, San Patricio, Texas.
The specimens measured only a few mmm in lentgh (some photos show a scale in mm). Hydrobiidae expert at the Smithsonian Institution, Dr. Robert Hershler, identified the specimens as a possible native Texas freshwater snail in the genus Pyrgophorus sp., possibly P. coronatus or spinosus.
Originally I thought the snails might be invasive New Zealand mud snail, Potamopyrgus antipodarum, but Dr. Hershler assured me that the snails I found are not the invasive snail. As far as I know, the invasive species has not been reported from Texas.
Note that there are apparently two morphs in the sample collected, with some specimens smooth and others with a crown on the whorl shoulder, so there could be two species shown here. If anyone can identify them, I can split the record.
In February 2006, the Jim Naismith Reservoir in San Patrico, Texas, has an infestation of the invasive Asian Clam, Corbicula fluminea (Müller, 1774). A 52-inch pipe was half-full of clams, and a treatment was done to erradicate the pipe-clogging clams.
On 2006-04-18, with my colleague, Noe Barrera, I visited the reservoir and collected samples of sediment throughout the reservoir. We did not find any live clam by them, but did find empty shells. Near the reservoir there were thousands f empty shells removed from the pipes. Some samples were collected and brought to the lab for study and photography.
By the time we were contacted, the problem had already be resolved. We did not receive any further information, so I believe the problem did not repeat in subsequent years. We wrote a short report:
Moretzsohn, F. and N. Barrera. 2006. Occurrence of the Asian Clam, Corbicula fluminea, in the Jim Naismith Reservoir, Ingleside, Texas, April 2006. Report to the San Patricio Municipal Water Treatment Plant, San Patricio, Texas, May 2006. 19 pp.
A record of the observation was filled at USGS Non Indigenous Species database: http://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/SpecimenViewer.aspx?SpecimenID=630284
This species is originally from Asia, and it was introduced in the US in 1924. It is now widespread throughout the country.
The photos show different specimens that were removed from the pipes by the water treatment plant staff.
The molluscs or mollusks/ˈmɒləsks/, compose the large phylum of invertebrate animals known as the phylum Mollusca. Around 85,000 extant species of molluscs are recognized. Molluscs are the largest marine phylum, comprising about 23% of all the named marine organisms. Numerous molluscs also live in freshwater and terrestrial habitats. They are highly diverse, not only in size and in anatomical structure, but also in behaviour and in habitat. The phylum is typically divided into 9 or 10...