The Virgin Nerite
This weekly column focuses on species known to occur in or off the barrier islands of Sanibel and Captiva and nearby areas. Today I’ll make one exception and feature a nice-looking species for which there is only one local record in the extensive collection of local shells maintained by the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum. One record, a half-inch shell collected by the late Dr. Dale V. Stingley on a mangrove root in Clam Bayou, Sanibel in 1950. The species was never found after that. Dr. Stingley was a very keen collector, well-known for his clean and accurate record-keeping, and chances are this is a true occurrence for the species on Sanibel. If that is the case, one wonders why was the species collected once on Sanibel and never again?
The Virgin Nerite is a very variable species with all kinds of color patterns that include stripes, dots, lightning-like marks and others. If you have seen this shell here on the island, or know anyone who collected one, please let me know. We need to find out what happened to the local populations of the Virgin Nerite!
The Virgin Nerite, Neritina virginea, from Sanibel. Photos by José H. Leal.