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  • José H. Leal

Shell of the Week: The Scotch Bonnet

What can I say about Semicassis granulata (Born, 1778) that hasn’t already been said? One of the prized local finds on the barrier islands of Southwest Florida, the Scotch Bonnet is rarely found locally, being apparently more common on the open beaches of the mid-Atlantic states, from Florida up to North Carolina (the species is the State Shell of the latter state.) Its attractive shell may reach up to 10 cm (about 4 inches) and is egg-shaped, with a delicate grid-like (cancellate) sculpture, and checkerboard color pattern in varying intensities of white and brown. The snail feeds on sand dollars, sea biscuits, and other sea urchins, using sulfuric acid produced in the salivary glands as an aid for drilling into the hard tests of those organisms. Read more about local mollusks in the Southwest Florida Shell Guide.

The Scotch Bonnet, Semicassis granulata, from Sanibel. Photos by José H. Leal.


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