Shell of the Week: The Tampa Drill
Eupleura tampaensis (Conrad, 1846), reaches about 25 mm (an inch) and has a markedly angled shell outline, with a sculpture of about 12 strong axial (“vertical”) ribs crossed by equally strong spiral cords. Could be confused with two species of similar size and proportions: the Mauve-mouth Drill, Calotrophon ostrearum, which has a more rounded, “gentler,” not-angled outline and sculpture of axial ribs that are larger than the spiral cords, or the Gulf Oyster Drill, Vokesinotus perrugatus, which has a more diamond-shaped outline, and also larger axial ribs. The shell color is ash-gray to light-brown, with a darker shade inside the shell aperture. Members of this species start a meal by drilling the shells of its prey to inject a paralyzing substance. The most recent record of this species for our local area in the Museum collection dates from 1976.