(This post is part of our blog series that deals with Pearls International’s take on social and environmental responsibility. For more information on how Pearls International gives back, please click here.)
This week’s seemingly harmless offender has a very interesting method of preying on oysters and other mollusks.
4) Sea Snails
Snails such as the “Atlantic Oyster Drill,” “Common Whelk,”and “Moon Snail” are some of the most creative predators of the oyster and other mollusks. Don’t let their harmless reputation fool you, these killers are dreaded by oysters and oyster farmers alike. Their drill-like tongues, called “radula” are studded with sharp teeth. They bore into the shell of the oyster, releasing acidic enzymes that help soften the shell as they drill. Once the drilling is complete, they extract and eat the meat inside of the shell. If you have ever seen a piece of shell or mother-of-pearl with small holes in the surface, it is likely that they were caused by one of these assailants.
Who knew those cute little snails were so deadly? For sheer originality, the “Atlantic Oyster Drill” and the rest of its Sea Snail Gang earn the Number Four (#4) spot on our Ten Most Wanted List.
Stay tuned for more unbelievable oyster threats, leading up to the Number One (#1) enemy of our beloved oysters.