The Imperial Venus
Local beach renourishment episodes are known to contribute different or unusual species to the normal local diversity. As sand is pumped from offshore sites, deeper-water species are also “sucked” by the dredges and deposited on the newly formed beach. Last year’s beach enhancement on Captiva contributed several unusual species, including this Imperial Venus (Lirophora latilirata (Conrad, 1841)) valve found by Kimberly Nealon on Easter Sunday on the beach around the middle of the island. Imperial Venuses are not unusual in the Caribbean or in other parts of the Gulf, but live in deeper water off Southwest Florida. Its thick and heavy shell may reach 1.5 inches, and the broad ribs on the shell surface are unique and somewhat attractive.
The Imperial Venus, Lirophora latilirata, from Captiva Island. Photo by José H. Leal.