Shell of the Week: The Northern Lion Paw
Nodipecten fragosus (Conrad, 1849), is one of the iconic species included in the “most desirable” list of local collectors. In the same way as the famous Junonia, Lion Paws are not uncommon in deeper water offshore, but perfect shells are almost impossible to find in local beaches. The species common name alludes to certain resemblance to a lion’s “hand,” and the qualifier “Northern” distinguishes the North American species from its tropical western Atlantic counterpart, the Southern Lion Paw, Nodipecten nodosus (Linnaeus, 1758). The complete shell in the image was trawled by a fishing boat off Sanibel Island.