The Apple Murex
I can't believe that I have been writing this weekly column for more than two years, and hadn't yet talked about the Apple Murex. A fixture along the shores of Southwest Florida. Phyllonotus pomum (Gmelin, 1791), cannot be confused with any other local species: despite its usually frilly surface, the brown and white shell is solid, adorned with varices deployed at regular intervals. The image on the right, taken at the shell museum's own live tank, depicts a female Apple Murex laying her corn kernel-like egg capsules: (The female was collected and is maintained by the shell museum's marine biologist Rebecca Mensch.) Female Apple Murexes may lay large masses of egg capsules together, at the same time, a phenomenon known as communal spawning.
Photo on right (by Amy Tripp) shows a female laying eggs, photo on left by José H. Leal.