Conchs are grazers and feed on algae. In the wild their beautiful shells are often overgrown and look quite different from their cleaned counterparts in shell collections.
The Florida Keys are home to more than half of the shelled mollusk species that occur along the eastern seaboard.
The Field Museum’s Curator of Invertebrates, Rüdiger Bieler, Ph.D., holding two different color forms of Milk Conchs, which can be found in the shallow waters of the Florida Keys.
A subadult Hawkwing Conch. Can you see its beautiful eye stalks?
Not all shelled mollusks are herbivores. This True Tulip is preying on a Hawkwing Conch.
A Milk Conch peeks out from its shell. The animal moves by using its powerful foot to propel itself forward.
Seashells also live on coral reefs. Rüdiger Bieler, Ph.D., has spent more than three decades studying the animals in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.
The Flamingo Tongue snail is unique in that its vibrantly colored soft body envelops the outside of its shell. The species feeds on soft corals.
Shelled marine mollusks often blend in with their surroundings to avoid the attention of predators.
The Changing Seas crew along with Rüdiger Bieler, Ph.D. after a beautiful day of filming in the Florida Keys.
Florida’s Sanibel Island is a popular shelling destination.
Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum Science Director & Curator, José Leal, Ph.D., showcases one of the shells beachcombers can find in Southwest Florida.
The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum is the only accredited museum in the United States devoted solely to shells and the mollusks that make them.
Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum Science Director & Curator, José Leal, Ph.D., looks for a specimen in the museum’s scientific collection.
A living bivalve on exhibit at the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum on Florida’s Sanibel Island.
Florida Museum of Natural History Collection Manager of Invertebrates, John Slapcinsky, takes a closer look at one of the specimens in the museum’s collection.
Preserved specimens at the Florida Museum of Natural History.
The Florida Museum of Natural History has one of the largest shell collections in the United States.
Collection Manager of Invertebrates John Slapcinsky searches the Florida Museum’s mollusk collection. The museum is part of the Eastern Seaboard Project, a collaboration between multiple institutions that makes the vast information in their mollusk collections easily searchable online.
One thing that’s unique in the mollusk world is how much researchers collaborate closely with shell collectors turned citizen scientists. One of them is retired physician and citizen malacologist, Harry Lee, M.D.
Retired physician and citizen malacologist, Harry Lee, M.D., has had 21 mollusk species named after him.
Citizen malacologist, Harry Lee, M.D., volunteers in the Florida Museum’s invertebrate paleontology division, where each week he spends hours searching prepared samples for micromollusks.
Micromollusks, which are shells that are smaller than 5.5 millimeters, make up half of the biodiversity of seashells.
The Changing Seas crew films underwater Photographer & Author Linda Ianniello. During an activity known as blackwater diving, Linda takes exquisite photographs of tiny mollusks that migrate up from the depths at night.
Together with fellow blackwater diver and friend Susan Mears, Linda published a book on the creatures they photographed.
Underwater Photographer & Author Linda Ianniello ready to dive!
Changing Seas Director of Photography Sean Hickey films divers using Linda's and Susan’s book as a reference.
Divers follow a lighted buoy during a blackwater dive. Only a few areas in the world currently offer this experience, one of which is off the coast of Palm Beach, Florida.