- José H. Leal
The elegant Nutmeg, Cancellaria reticulata (Linnaeus, 1767), is one of the most coveted local species, always representing one of the “best finds” at the end of a successful shelling day. The species name evokes the reticulated shell sculpture and, although the Nutmeg’s food and feeding mechanisms remain unknown, the arrangement of the alimentary system suggests a diet of soft tissue or fluid. The Nutmeg belongs to the family Cancellariidae, a group of marine snails known to feed suctorially, “sucking” soft tissue, fluids, or blood with the assistance of specialized feeding organs.
The Nutmeg: shell photos by José H. Leal; photo of live animal taken by Amy Tripp in Collier County.