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  • José H. Leal

Shell Art and Shark Eyes Cannibalism

During the Sanibel Shell Show and Fair in March, architect and designer Charles Barr presented an elegant, contemporary-looking piece of artwork displaying Shark Eye shells, Neverita duplicata. The shells were deployed in three identical groups, each containing four rows of four distinct sizes, each row with five shells each, for a total of 60 shells. A close look revealed that many had been drilled by predatory gastropods. Drill holes (red lines in photo) were in 26 shells, or about 43% of the total, and Charlie said he had not intentionally selected drilled shells, but collected them randomly. The size and shape of the holes indicated that, most likely, the predators were other, hungry Shark Eyes. Shark Eyes and their relatives in the family Naticidae are known to be cannibalistic, and Charlie’s exhibit hints at how prevalent this unusual feeding habit may be in the waters of Southwest Florida.

Shell art by Charles Barr. Red lines indicate drill holes made by predatory snails.


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