A Tiny, Young Nutmeg
After settling to the bottom (in the case of snails with a planktonic, free-living larva) or hatching from an egg capsule (when there is no planktonic larval stage), young marine snails often resemble adults of their species, though sometimes with different proportions, colors, or shell textures. These illustrations of Common Nutmegs, Cancellaria reticulata (Linnaeus, 1767) show such resemblance: on left, a 50 mm (about 2 inches) adult nutmeg; on top-center, rendered at the same scale as the adult shell, a 3 mm (0.12 inch) juvenile (collected by Kimberly Nealon on Captiva); and, on right, a magnified version of the young shell. In the magnified version, the protoconch, or larval shell, can be seen on top of the juvenile shell. Read more about local mollusks and their shells in our Southwest Florida Shell Guide.