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  • José H. Leal

A Young Nutmeg

On July 25, 2014, I presented the Common Nutmeg, Cancellaria reticulata (Linnaeus, 1767), including a photo of the live snail. Today, I want to show a young, or juvenile, shell of that species. After settling to the bottom (in the case of mollusks with a planktonic, free-living larva) or hatching from an egg capsule (when there is no planktonic larval stage), young marine snails generally resemble adults of their species, though sometimes with different proportions, colors, or shell textures. The illustration shows, on left, a 50 mm (about 2 inches) adult nutmeg; on top-center, rendered at the same scale as the adult shell on left, 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.

The Common Nutmeg, Cancellaria reticulata: adult (left) and young (center and right) shells from Sanibel. Photos by José H. Leal.

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