Otterman speaks... (2003-2007)
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Otterman speaks...

Cycling, macintosh, natural history and life in Singapore - Archives

List of Categories : travel * museum * cycling * Singapore Naturalist * science * kakis * mangroves * movies * mac and the internet * meow * NUS * life in Singapore * lit * world *

Sun 15 Oct 2006

Scotch Bonnet, the state shell of North Carolina

Category : travel

I bought candles in a gift shop in Beaufort, North Carolina where I arrived yesterday. The friendly lady in the shop cheerfully threw in a larger candle holder for cheap and some matches.

Once she found out I was from so far away, she drew out a useful Beaufort brochure. Then to my dismay, she offered to me, for free, a couple of shells from a basket of them that she had on sale for 50 cents each. The Scotch Bonnet was the first state shell any state. North Carolina chose it in 1965 to honor her early Scottish settlers.

Although a sweet gesture, I actually prefer shells left on the beach, dead or alive. I did manage to convince her that I'd be happy with just one.

She said this shell, the Scotch Bonnet (Phalium granulata (Born, 1778)), was no longer found in North Carolina. The ones she had were from Florida (as is shell in the photo). She suggested her supplier (urgh!) said it might have been collected from the Philippines but I doubt it since it appears to be an west Atlantic species.

Terri Kirby Hathaway of the North Carolina Sea Grant says "...the Scotch bonnet (Phalium granulatum), is a gastropod (one-shelled mollusk) that lives offshore from North Carolina to Uruguay. It lives on sandy bottoms, feeding on sea urchins and sand dollars..." More about the Scotch Bonnet here.

Is it really missing from North Carolina waters? Perhaps not in sufficient numbers to be commercially sought after. Well, I'll ask the folks at the Duke Marine Lab.

Posted at 1:02PM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | , .