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Venus comb murex.  Scientists speculate that the distinctively long and narrow spines are a protection against fish and other mollusks and prevent the mollusk from sinking into the soft, sandy mud where it is commonly found, Murex pecten Glory of the Sea cone shell, brown form.  The Glory of the Sea cone shell, once one of the rarest and most sought after of all seashells, remains the most famous and one of the most desireable shells for modern collectors, Conus gloriamaris Chestnut cowry, San Diego, California Castle Geyser erupts with the colorful bacteria mats of Tortoise Shell Spring in the foreground.  Castle Geyser reaches 60 to 90 feet in height and lasts 20 minutes.  While Castle Geyser has a 12 foot sinter cone that took 5,000 to 15,000 years to form, it is in fact situated atop geyserite terraces that themselves may have taken 200,000 years to form, making it likely the oldest active geyser in the park. Upper Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming Chestnut cowrie with mantle extended, feather duster worm, Cypraea spadicea, Eudistylia polymorpha, Santa Cruz Island Chestnut cowry, mantle exposed, Cypraea spadicea, San Miguel Island Chestnut cowrie with mantle extended, Cypraea spadicea, San Miguel Island Califonia cone, Coronado Islands, Conus californicus, Coronado Islands (Islas Coronado) Flamingo tongue snail, Cyphoma gibbosum, Roatan Flamingo tongue snail, Cyphoma gibbosum, Roatan Chestnut cowrie with mantle extended, Cypraea spadicea, San Miguel Island Green abalone with mantle fringe visible extending outside shell, Haliotis fulgens Softshell turtle, Apalone spinifera A sea otter eats a clam that it has taken from the shallow sandy bottom of Elkhorn Slough.  Because sea otters have such a high metabolic rate, they eat up to 30% of their body weight each day in the form of clams, mussels, urchins, crabs and abalone.  Sea otters are the only known tool-using marine mammal, using a stone or old shell to open the shells of their prey as they float on their backs, Enhydra lutris, Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, Moss Landing, California A sea otter eats a clam that it has taken from the shallow sandy bottom of Elkhorn Slough.  Because sea otters have such a high metabolic rate, they eat up to 30% of their body weight each day in the form of clams, mussels, urchins, crabs and abalone.  Sea otters are the only known tool-using marine mammal, using a stone or old shell to open the shells of their prey as they float on their backs, Enhydra lutris, Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, Moss Landing, California A sea otter eats a clam that it has taken from the shallow sandy bottom of Elkhorn Slough.  Because sea otters have such a high metabolic rate, they eat up to 30% of their body weight each day in the form of clams, mussels, urchins, crabs and abalone.  Sea otters are the only known tool-using marine mammal, using a stone or old shell to open the shells of their prey as they float on their backs, Enhydra lutris, Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, Moss Landing, California A sea otter eats a clam that it has taken from the shallow sandy bottom of Elkhorn Slough.  Because sea otters have such a high metabolic rate, they eat up to 30% of their body weight each day in the form of clams, mussels, urchins, crabs and abalone.  Sea otters are the only known tool-using marine mammal, using a stone or old shell to open the shells of their prey as they float on their backs, Enhydra lutris, Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, Moss Landing, California A sea otter eats a clam that it has taken from the shallow sandy bottom of Elkhorn Slough.  Because sea otters have such a high metabolic rate, they eat up to 30% of their body weight each day in the form of clams, mussels, urchins, crabs and abalone.  Sea otters are the only known tool-using marine mammal, using a stone or old shell to open the shells of their prey as they float on their backs, Enhydra lutris, Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, Moss Landing, California A sea otter eats a clam that it has taken from the shallow sandy bottom of Elkhorn Slough.  Because sea otters have such a high metabolic rate, they eat up to 30% of their body weight each day in the form of clams, mussels, urchins, crabs and abalone.  Sea otters are the only known tool-using marine mammal, using a stone or old shell to open the shells of their prey as they float on their backs, Enhydra lutris, Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, Moss Landing, California A sea otter eats a clam that it has taken from the shallow sandy bottom of Elkhorn Slough.  Because sea otters have such a high metabolic rate, they eat up to 30% of their body weight each day in the form of clams, mussels, urchins, crabs and abalone.  Sea otters are the only known tool-using marine mammal, using a stone or old shell to open the shells of their prey as they float on their backs, Enhydra lutris, Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, Moss Landing, California A sea otter eats a clam that it has taken from the shallow sandy bottom of Elkhorn Slough.  Because sea otters have such a high metabolic rate, they eat up to 30% of their body weight each day in the form of clams, mussels, urchins, crabs and abalone.  Sea otters are the only known tool-using marine mammal, using a stone or old shell to open the shells of their prey as they float on their backs, Enhydra lutris, Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, Moss Landing, California Venus comb murex.  Scientists speculate that the distinctively long and narrow spines are a protection against fish and other mollusks and prevent the mollusk from sinking into the soft, sandy mud where it is commonly found, Murex pecten Thorny oyster or spiny oyster, Spondylus Thorny oyster or spiny oyster, Spondylus Thorny oyster or spiny oyster, Spondylus Thorny oyster or spiny oyster, Spondylus Thorny oyster or spiny oyster, Spondylus Thorny oyster or spiny oyster, Spondylus Thorny oyster or spiny oyster, Spondylus Thorny oyster or spiny oyster, Spondylus Thorny oyster or spiny oyster, Spondylus Castle Geyser erupts with the colorful bacteria mats of Tortoise Shell Spring in the foreground.  Castle Geyser reaches 60 to 90 feet in height and lasts 20 minutes.  While Castle Geyser has a 12 foot sinter cone that took 5,000 to 15,000 years to form, it is in fact situated atop geyserite terraces that themselves may have taken 200,000 years to form, making it likely the oldest active geyser in the park. Upper Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming Castle Geyser erupts with the colorful bacteria mats of Tortoise Shell Spring in the foreground.  Castle Geyser reaches 60 to 90 feet in height and lasts 20 minutes.  While Castle Geyser has a 12 foot sinter cone that took 5,000 to 15,000 years to form, it is in fact situated atop geyserite terraces that themselves may have taken 200,000 years to form, making it likely the oldest active geyser in the park. Upper Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming Castle Geyser erupts with the colorful bacteria mats of Tortoise Shell Spring in the foreground.  Castle Geyser reaches 60 to 90 feet in height and lasts 20 minutes.  While Castle Geyser has a 12 foot sinter cone that took 5,000 to 15,000 years to form, it is in fact situated atop geyserite terraces that themselves may have taken 200,000 years to form, making it likely the oldest active geyser in the park. Upper Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming Castle Geyser erupts with the colorful bacteria mats of Tortoise Shell Spring in the foreground.  Castle Geyser reaches 60 to 90 feet in height and lasts 20 minutes.  While Castle Geyser has a 12 foot sinter cone that took 5,000 to 15,000 years to form, it is in fact situated atop geyserite terraces that themselves may have taken 200,000 years to form, making it likely the oldest active geyser in the park. Upper Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming Castle Geyser (during steam phase, not eruption) with the colorful bacteria mats of Tortoise Shell Spring in the foreground. While Castle Geyser has a 12 foot sinter cone that took 5,000 to 15,000 years to form, it is in fact situated atop geyserite terraces that themselves may have taken 200,000 years to form, making it likely the oldest active geyser in the park. Upper Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming Tortoise Shell Spring bubbles in front of the sinter cone of Castle Geyser.  Upper Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming Tortoise Shell Spring bubbles in front of the sinter cone of Castle Geyser.  Upper Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming Tortoise Shell Spring bubbles in front of the sinter cone of Castle Geyser.  Upper Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming Castle Geyser erupts with the colorful bacteria mats of Tortoise Shell Spring in the foreground.  Castle Geyser reaches 60 to 90 feet in height and lasts 20 minutes.  While Castle Geyser has a 12 foot sinter cone that took 5,000 to 15,000 years to form, it is in fact situated atop geyserite terraces that themselves may have taken 200,000 years to form, making it likely the oldest active geyser in the park. Upper Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming Castle Geyser erupts with the colorful bacteria mats of Tortoise Shell Spring in the foreground.  Castle Geyser reaches 60 to 90 feet in height and lasts 20 minutes.  While Castle Geyser has a 12 foot sinter cone that took 5,000 to 15,000 years to form, it is in fact situated atop geyserite terraces that themselves may have taken 200,000 years to form, making it likely the oldest active geyser in the park. Upper Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming Castle Geyser erupts with the colorful bacteria mats of Tortoise Shell Spring in the foreground.  Castle Geyser reaches 60 to 90 feet in height and lasts 20 minutes.  While Castle Geyser has a 12 foot sinter cone that took 5,000 to 15,000 years to form, it is in fact situated atop geyserite terraces that themselves may have taken 200,000 years to form, making it likely the oldest active geyser in the park. Upper Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming Shell Spring (Shell Geyser) erupts almost continuously.   The geysers opening resembles the two halves of a bivalve seashell, hence its name.  Biscuit Basin, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming Shell Spring (Shell Geyser) erupts almost continuously.   The geysers opening resembles the two halves of a bivalve seashell, hence its name.  Biscuit Basin, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming Hermit crab. Hermit crabs wear shells to protect their soft abdomens, which are asymmetrical and curved to fit the spiral shape of their shell. Like all crabs, hermit crabs are decapods; they have five pairs of legs, including a pair of claws. One claw is much larger than the other, the hermit crab uses it for defense and food shredding while it uses the smaller claw for eating. The second and third pairs of legs help the crab walk, and the last two pairs hold the hermit crab in its shell, Pagurus Grunt sculpin.  Grunt sculpin have evolved into its strange shape to fit within a giant barnacle shell perfectly, using the shell to protect its eggs and itself, Rhamphocottus richardsoni Grunt sculpin poised in a barnacle shell.  Grunt sculpin have evolved into its strange shape to fit within a giant barnacle shell perfectly, using the shell to protect its eggs and itself, Rhamphocottus richardsoni Grunt sculpin poised in a barnacle shell.  Grunt sculpin have evolved into its strange shape to fit within a giant barnacle shell perfectly, using the shell to protect its eggs and itself, Rhamphocottus richardsoni Grunt sculpin.  Grunt sculpin have evolved into its strange shape to fit within a giant barnacle shell perfectly, using the shell to protect its eggs and itself, Rhamphocottus richardsoni Grunt sculpin.  Grunt sculpin have evolved into its strange shape to fit within a giant barnacle shell perfectly, using the shell to protect its eggs and itself, Rhamphocottus richardsoni   more ...

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Updated: July 10, 2020