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  • José H. Leal

Shell of the Week: The Eastern Melampus

Melampus bidentatus Say, 1822 reaches 13 mm (about 0.5 inch), and has a solid, relatively thick shell with a smooth exterior. The visible internal shell surface (inside of the shell opening) shows a pattern of many tooth-like projections. The shell color consists of alternating bands of off-white and brown. Members of the melampus family Ellobiidae inhabit mangrove areas in quiet bays with sandy-mud bottoms, where they are found in the region immediately above the high tide line. They are adapted to spend most of their lives out of seawater.

The Eastern Melampus, Melampus bidentatus, from Sanibel.


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