Molluscs

 

 

Molluscs are one of the most imaginative phylum of life forms on our planet. There are so many designs and formats for life that are so complex and sophisticated that they defy the imagination. For example, Gastropods use Fibonacci mathematical sequences to build their spiral shells. (Nautilus shell) Crystals of calcite are laid down in mathematical sequences. The result is the mother of pearl lustre that is so pleasing to the eye.

Molluscs have overcome so many challenges for survival with ingenious solutions to life threatening problems. They have mastered many challenges to survive in the wild ocean.

In the mollusc world, they utilise a variety of forms of locomotion from sliding and crawling over the sea floor, to open water swimming all the way up to jet power in the Squid. They have toxic defence, toxic attack, flesh tearing beaks, rasping teeth and specialised gills purpose built to dominate the world's oceans. Every science fiction movie I see, is generally based on Marine biology. Every horrific monster is using some deadly form of killing technique that is eeasily recognisable from the world of marine biology, often from the world of Molluscs. The Aliens monster is a case in point! It has a protrusile mouth used by many Molluscs.

I say that we could give one hundred of the world's best engineers one hundred million dollars and put them in a think tank to reinvent some of the lifeforms on the planet and solve all of the life challenges. They would not be able to do any better than mother nature has already done! Marine Biology is an adventure into imagination, discovery, awe and wonder.

 

Nassarius sea shell Spindle cowrie
This Nassarius is a predatory hunting NeoGastropod. These are the advanced new age killers equipped with hunting skills. You can see the enormous siphon which it uses to follow trails of prey using its specialised hunting organ, the Osphradium. This is an advanced weapon which I explain in my Marine Biology course. This spindle Cowrie, Phenocovolva sp. feeds on Black Coral. (Byron Bay, 18 m) It has a specialised radula for rasping flesh. It uses cryptic camouflage to hide amongst the coral.
Costello's Egg Cowrie Allied Cowries

Costello's Egg Cowrie feeds on soft corals. It must have toxins inside its body to deter fish from eating it as its shell is thin and any wrasse would have no problems breaking it open. Because of the lack of research, it is not easy to find an answer to this issue. Why don't they get eaten? This is another example of how soon we arrive at the boundary of knowledge. Is there anyone on the planet who knows?

These are usually found at the Solitary islands. This one was photographed at Osbourne shoals, Cronulla, Sydney.

Allied Cowries such as the species feed on the soft coral, Capnella gaboislandensis. What do they do to ward off predators? Why don't fish smash and eat them? A good topic for a Ph. D in Marine Biology.