- José H. Leal
Jingle Double Whammy!
The Common Jingle, Anomia simplex d’Orbigny, 1853, is a bivalve from the tropical western Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico. They live in shallow-water, attached to dead shells and other hard structures. Many bivalves that make a living attached to hard surfaces rely on a byssus for that attachment. In mussels and other bivalves, the byssus consists of strong, elastic protein fibers; in jingles (Family Anomiidae), the byssus is solid, pillar-like, and made of a tough composite material, a mixture of protein and calcium carbonate. As in other bivalves, the byssus in jingles originates from a gland in the foot. And, in jingles, the byssus passes through a notch on the lower valve and is strongly cemented to the host structure. Last week, during one of the Museum’s Beach Walks out of Island Inn on Sanibel, Outreach Coordinator Leigh Gay found a jingle shell that caught her attention. It was a complete pair (upper and lower valves joined) that hosted a smaller, “piggybacking” jingle on top of its upper valve. In addition to the unusual “double whammy” nature of Leigh’s find, the photo shows the notch on the lower valve of the larger jingle and its simple but effective hinge (bottom arrow), which resembles a ball-and-socket joint. The darker spot seen inside the upper valve (top arrow) of the larger jingle indicates the spot where the byssus of the smaller, piggybacking one attaches to the larger shell. Neat, isn’t it? Read more about local mollusks at the Museum's SW Florida Shells guide.