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  • José H. Leal

Shell of the Week: The Bleeding Tooth

Nerita peloronta Linnaeus, 1758, is a relatively common species on the rocky shores of the Caribbean and the East Coast of Florida. The Bleeding Tooth is a member of the nerite family (Neritidae) that may reach 50 mm (about two inches). Nerites are known to dissolve the internal part of the shell, including the central, pillar-like structure known as the columella. Shell dissolution affords extra space and allows the snail to retain a little water during low tides. And the common name of the species originates from the red color on the left side of the aperture, which combines with the white background to give the impression of a bleeding tooth, or teeth.

The Bleeding Tooth, Nerita peloronta, from Coral Cove, Florida. Photos by Patricia A. Starkey.


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