Friday, May 3, 2013

Razorshells in the sand?

This interesting creature lives while being buried in the sand...
There are many species of razorshell comprising the Solenidae family.  This particular type of bivalve mollusk spends most of their life under the sand at low tide level.

The bivalves are a large class of mollusks that have a hard calcareous shell made of two parts or valves. The soft parts are inside the shell. The shell is usually bilaterally symmetrical.
Razorshells, also spelled Razor Shells, live on beaches and only eat during high tide.
If you're curious about the appearance of a Razor Shell, look below:

Now, lets briefly talk about how this critter consumes its food, shall we?
...They position themselves just under the surface of the sand with only their short siphon protruding.  This siphon is used like you would a drinking straw, to suck in nutrients/food particles, oxygen, sea water, etc.  Food particles stick to the mucus coating of the Razorshell's gills which consists of cilia and, from there, are transported to the palps on either side of the mouth groove.
Like I mentioned before, they only feed during high tide.  At low tide, Razor Shells usually go back into the sand, leaving their trademark funnel-shaped depression on the damp surface.  On occasions, tiny jets of water spurt out of the funnel (which is why some people call them "spitting shells").

Razorshells are very sensitive to the vibrations made by footsteps, which makes them harder to study, as they often retreat deeper into the sand with the least bit of disturbance.  The shape of their shell makes them very suitable for rapid burrowing, so go figure.  While being on top of the sand, however, they can move by jumping several inches at a time.  I've seen several images of this mollusk on the web, many of which look very similar to a razor blade, which is most likely were they get their name, eh?  Anyway, good look finding 'em at the beach and, uh, watch your step...

---End of Post "Razorshells in the sand?"

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