This post was guest blogged by Dan Tanner
Dominicaâ€™s beauty is everywhere! Her mountains are majestic. The cliffs and bays and beaches of her Atlantic and Caribbean shores are breathtaking. Numerous magnificent waterfalls grace her rainforest interior.
Dominica is the land of 10,000 flowers. Hummingbirds visit those flowers, hawks circle in the sky, and pelicans, kingfishers and frigate birds patrol for fish.
Dominica has astounding coral reefs that teem with colorful tropical fish. And, Dominicaâ€™s waters are also home to myriad univalve (one-shell) and bivalve (2-shell) mollusks.
Trivia: A seashell, also known as a sea shell, or simply as a shell, is the common name for a hard, protective outer layer, a shell, or in some cases a “test”, that was created by a sea creature, a marine organism. The shell is part of the body of a marine animal. In most cases a shell is an exoskeleton, usually that of an animal without a backbone, an invertebrate. Seashells are most often found on beaches…source:Wikipedia
You can spot the wondrous and beautiful mollusks while snorkeling or scuba diving, or you can (as Ruth and I often) do; beach-comb for them on pleasant and fun-filled strolls. It is a great deal of fun to â€œdiscoverâ€ shells on the beach. As an added benefit, we know that weâ€™re gathering shells of animals that have perished, and we neednâ€™t worry about even possibly harming the ecology by taking a live specimen (or a shell that is serving as a temporary home to a hermit crab.
Here are some photos from our shell collection. I took these photos back at our home in Massachusetts (which weâ€™ll sell when we relocate to Dominica next year when Ruth can retire). If you can see a white marble tabletop in the background, the photo is of a large shell (6 to 9 inches) that we collected on other Caribbean islands. The small shells shown on Dominican black sand or in a small (3 inches across) bowl or on the back of a book (the size of the print will give you an idea of the scale in those macro photographs) are all Dominican shells. These are not â€œbabyâ€ shells; nearly all are the size of the adult animal. We have collected some fairly large conch shells in Dominica, but the supply of this edible animal is nearly exhausted from over-hunting. Itâ€™s too bad, because large conchs prey upon the nasty stinging black spiny sea urchins, which have multiplied absent their chief predator.
I hope to be able at a later date to post the popular and scientific names of the shells in the photos. We have purchased â€œSeashell Treasures of the Caribbeanâ€ by Leslie Sutty, edited by the late eminent conchologist Richard Tucker Abbott. Ms Sutty lives in Martinique and when I contacted her recently she graciously offered to provide this information for photos that we e-mail to her. But I just couldnâ€™t wait to share our photos of these beauties with you!