Sunday, November 1, 2015

The Aquarium at Rockport Harbor - Part 2

Even though this is quite a small aquarium, there are lots of interesting and unusual fish to see! 
Aquarium at Rockport Harbor

These are Sharksuckers (Echeneis naucrates): 
They have a sucker on top of their heads to attach to anything that moves!  They are found attached to sharks, manta rays, turtles etc.  If you find yourself with one attached to you, push forward to remove!
He’s not dead!  This is a Tripletail (Lobotes surinamensis): 

It often floats on its side at the water's surface, the coloration and movements resembling that of a dead leaf. They are frequently mistaken for floating debris.  They normally weight from 5 to 15 pounds but have been found up to 50 pounds.
The Texas state shell is the Lightning whelk (Busycon perversum pulleyi): 
Lightening Whelk.  State shell of Texas.

Lightning whelks are unusual in that they have a counterclockwise shell spiral (lightning whelks are usually called "left handed").

This 'left-handed' characteristic is reflected in the lightning whelk's scientific name perversum, from the Latin word perversus, means turned the wrong way. Busycon, from the Greek word bousycon, (meaning large fig) describes the general shape of the shell. The subspecies name, pulleyi, honors Dr. T. E. Pulley, a well known Texas naturalist and teacher.  Its common name is derived from patterns of "lightning-like" colored stripes that radiate along the sides of its shell.

Females enclose each fertilized egg into horny disc-shaped capsules while constructing a tough cord-like membranous egg-case string, which connects 50 to 175 total egg capsules. 
Egg capsules
Each flattened egg capsule can be as large as a quarter and contain as many as 200 eggs. The eggs hatch and the young mature through all larval stages within the capsules. Miniature whelks, with their shells, emerge through designated capsule ports during late spring. 

Baby Lightning Whelks

I don’t think I’ve ever wondered how shells reproduce!  It was really fascinating to see these tiny little shells. 

Next time - more tourist fun!


  1. "perversum, from the Latin word perversus"...... I love words... I'm downright perverse...

  2. I learned about these whelks while volunteering at Eastern Shore of Virginia NWR. We found the egg casings and opened them up to find the babies. I have a collection of them.