The Colorful Moon Snail
The Colorful Moon Snail, Naticarius canrena (Linnaeus, 1758), belongs in the category of "most desirable shell finds" locally. Colorful Moon Snails are in the same group (family Naticidae) as the Shark Eye, but unlike this latter species, which has a brown, proteinaceous, "soft" operculum (plural opercula), Colorful Moon Snails have opercula made of shell material, or calcium carbonate. The sculpture of the operculum in the family Naticidae is important in the classification of the different species. Colorful Moon Snails shells have variable colors, with many variations around the theme of broad light brown spiral bands alternating with darker, transverse, wavy streaks.
The shell on the right of the illustration, collected dead by Amy Tripp on Kice Island, received the Marilyn Northrop Award for Shell of the Show, Self-Collected last week at the 2016 Sanibel Shell Show. Photos by José H. Leal.