The Bruised Nassa and its Egg Capsules
I last covered the Bruised Nassa, Nassarius vibex (Say, 1822), in this column on September 4, 2015. On that occasion, I mentioned that the habitats preferred by the species are the sandy-mud and mud flats of the back-bay areas that are so common in our part of the coast. I also mentioned the scavenging feeding habits of the species: Bruised Nassas are like “little vultures,” gathering in large numbers to feed on the dead bodies and remains of small marine creatures. Recently, Museum collaborator Amy Tripp from Marco Island (Collier County) sent me a series of images of Bruised Nassa egg capsules (photo). These are small, flat, and oval, measuring about 1.3–1.5 mm (0.05–0.06 inch) in height. From the large numbers of egg capsules and abundance of live Bruised Nassas in some of her pictures, it is quite obvious that females in this species perform communal spawning (in a similar fashion to some other mollusks, fishes, and frogs). [The species is currently treated in the genus Phrontis.]
Photo on left by José H. Leal, on right by Amy Tripp, Collier County.