The Lace Murex
The Lace Murex, Chicoreus dilectus (A. Adams, 1855), is one of the most desirable and collectible shells from the barrier islands of Southwest Florida. The species may reach two inches in length. Lace Murexes feed on other mollusks, and will drill on the shell surface or chisel at the shell edge of clams and other bivalves in order to reach the soft tissues of the prey. Like many local species of mollusks, Lace Murexes lay egg capsules that help protect the eggs and embryos until is time for the young to hatch. Young Lace Murexes leave the capsules via an “escape hatch” represented by a thinner area on top of the each capsule (photo on right). In contrast to the cream-white, lavishly sculpted adult shells, young Lace Murexes are bright orange-pink and have more subdued sculpture.
From left, the Lace Murex, Chicoreus dilectus, young shell in the center, and egg capsules (latter photo by Kim Trebatoski).