Friday, December 20, 2013

Feeding Frenzy

Add caption
During my visit to Gooseberry the other day, I spent time watching it photographing the groups of Gulls and Peeps feeding in the water and on the wrack line. The gulls were catching slipper shells from the water, bring them in on land and trying to eat the gastropod that is inside the shell. The peeps, mainly Dunlins would check out the slipper shells and eat what was left inside. I do believe the recent storm had turned up the bottom and brought the slipper shells close to shore.

Dunlin carrying a slipper shell

Herring gull with slipper shell

Dunlin feeding on slipper shell

Dunlin feeding on slipper shell

Dunlin feeding on slipper shell

Dunlin feeding on slipper shell with a ring-billed gull in the background

Dunlin feeding

Herring gull feeding on slipper shell

Herring gull dropping a slipper shell
The common slipper shell, Crepidula fornicata, is a species of medium-sized sea snail, a marine gastropod mollusc in the family Calyptraeidae, the slipper snails and cup and saucer snails. They are often found, sometimes living stacked on top of one another, rocks, on horseshoe crabs, shells and on dock pilings. What is interesting about the slipper shells especially the stacked ones is that the largest and oldest animal at the base of the pile is a female and the younger and smaller animals are the males. If the female for some reason dies, the largest male becomes the female. For this reason that is why they are known as a sequential hermaphrodite.
Slipper shell looking underneath showing the shelf that gave this shell its name

Top view of slipper shell

Pair of slipper shells