January Boating Along The Indian River Estuary – First Stop

The air temp was in the 70’s and the water in the Indian River was in the 60’s. It was a windy day, so not good for fishing, but we took the boat out for a quick trip.

We stopped at our first spot (second stop link below) and I got out and walked on the mud flats and in some shallow water looking for wildlife. I’ll call this place the Tributary. Water was rushing out fast on the outgoing tide.

The Tributary

We have stopped at this little sandy area many times, but the last time we were here I met my first spider crab. Today it was very quiet and mostly free of living things. Even people / boaters were scarce on this windy day. The usually scurrying crabs were nowhere to be seen and the shells were sparse. I decided to photograph the beautiful mangroves and their crazy roots.

  • Mangroves
  • Mangrove roots
  • Mangrove roots and oysters in mud
  • Mangrove roots and a single clam shell

One thing that struck me was the lack of hermit crabs. There were none that I saw! Usually it is all I see, but today I saw no big shells and no scurrying hermits. I did see a few shells that seemed to be empty, but they may have had hermit crabs.

It reminds me that I have a lot to learn about my local environment.

And then I found an egg casing called a sand collar.

Moon Snails Make Sand Collar Egg Casings

I honestly was not sure what this was, but there were two of these things, so I suspected it was some sort of seashell / sea snail related thing that had to do with eggs. To touch this, you would think it was some discarded piece of trash because it feels like rubber. It is the egg casing of a moon snail (which I usually label a “shark’s eye“).

Sharks eye seashell
Shark’s Eye shell

That collar I am holding is made up of eggs and sand. I didn’t know this when I picked it up, but wanted a photo to identify it on my blog. I had no idea I was holding hundreds of babies! I put it back, and then found another sand collar (link to Wikipedia) nearby to photograph under the water.

Sand collar made up of baby moon snails and sand

The sand collar egg case is laid in such a way so it will stay upright and in place. I wish I had not picked up that first case, but I honestly did not remember what it could be. I should have left it and taken a photo, like I did with the second one. Photography was tough because of the wind and rippling water.

Sand collar under shallow water

The Only Shells I Found Here

As I have mentioned the area was quite different from what I find in summer. There were barely any shells at all of any kind. I took photos of the few shells I did come across. The photo titles are at the bottom of each picture.

  • Broken juvenile horse conch
  • Interesting crown conch shell
  • Pear whelk
  • Ribbed mussel shell

Thanks for reading about our first stop finds. Please go on and read about what I found on our second stop.

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