I adore Halloween. Like I am obsessed. I think it’s the candy. Or maybe the Fall weather. Definitely the orange (my favorite color). Or the excuse to dress up. Or the marketing. Those marketers. They have me buying more Halloween stuff every year. Thankfully now I can excuse my purchases because I want to “create an experience for the kids” and my husband is kind enough to pretend he believes me.
Anyway, I decided to post about something completely unconventional this Halloween season. No wedding pumpkins, no receptions under fall foliage. Nope. Something a little more strange and eerie. Something just plain weird. Something fun AND educational.
I met a conchologist on vacation. Yes, someone who knows all about molluscs. And it was like sitting in the middle of National Geographic. I learned so much I just have to share because it’s downright interesting and also kinda sounds like zombie wars in real life, under the sea.
So, enjoy a little Halloween grossness on me. You’re welcome.
This gorgeous shell, called a Trumpet Triton, is actually small. Yes, they grow much much bigger. They live on the seafloor and hunt in packs of 50. The snails inside grow to be 45lbs or more (that is like two of my 3 yr old daughter) and they move along and EAT lobsters. Like they move over the top of the lobster and suffocate them, and then completely absorb them, shells and all. Yikes. I didn’t know huge snails hunted in packs before. I would not want to be a lobster in Indonesia.
This gorgeous shell has done absolutely nothing, visual-wise, in 500 million years. The oldest known fossil is of THIS shell – they are the longest living animal we have ever found as a fossil. Insane, right?! They are called Harp snails, and their oldest enemy is a crab – these days, the Boxer crab. Well, after millions of years, these guys got smart. They sense a crab is coming along, right? So they have evolved to have this little piece of themselves they can kinda do a “woops, did I drop that?” and leave it behind. The crab, who is just thinking “FOOD!” goes right to this little piece of purposefully dropped meat and starts to eat it. Now, does Mr. Harp go off and hide? Oh no. He circles on back, comes up behind the crab, grabs hold and climbs on the crab’s back, sticks a straw-like appendage into the crab’s shell and SUCKS THE CRAB’S GUTS OUT!! Disgusting, right?! But kinda wickedly cool…
I saved this guy for last. The famous Leopard snail. This guy is not big. He’s about the size of your palm. But he is the craziest, meanest hunter out in the ocean. When he sees prey (which is anything from a crab, lobster or another huge snail, like that Trumpet Triton above), he shoots out this harpoon-like appendage with a piece of shell-like sharp end and pops it onto the victim. Then he injects poison to paralyze it. Then he drags it down under the sand to suffocate the prey…then he eats it by absorbing it. During the day, this bugger sleeps 3 feet under the sand, under a rock, under 600 ft of ocean water. Thank heaven they’re not easily found to be handled alive, because these suckers have been known to kill 15 people already with their poison. Yup, they’re that deadly.
So, there’s your daily lesson in conchology.
Now, back to figuring out how to use shells for wedding decor…