The Bruised Nassa
Bruised Nassa, Nassarius vibex (Say, 1822)*, are often neglected by collectors, probably because of their small size. The little snails, which never measure more than half an inch, are the "first sanitation responders" in the mud flats of SW Florida, gathering in large numbers to devour carcasses of dead fish and other marine animals as soon as they start to decompose. In a couple of experiments done by Museum volunteers using “aged” bait shrimp deployed in shallow bay water, it took only a few minutes for a large number of Nassa to gather around and start feeding on the bait.
*The species is now treated in the genus Phrontis.
The Bruised Nassa, Nassarius vibex, from Sanibel. Photos by José H. Leal.