Friday 16 March 2018


Image: Steve Jurvetson
Proof yet again that nature is the best sculptor!

That's what happens when you have a billion years of experience.

Image: Jessica Lucia
Wentletraps are more than 600 species of snail belonging to the family Epitoniidae. They're found in all the seas and oceans of the world, from the tropics to the Arctic.

The biggest ones are over 10 cm (4 in) long though most are much smaller, the very titchiest reaching about 5 mm (0.2 in) in length.

Image: Ria Tan
A lot of them are as smooth as porcelain and white as a Greek statue though some have a splash of colour. Also, some are more... wentletrappy... than others. Which might be a good time to say what exactly that means.

'Wentletrap' is the Dutch word for spiral staircases. The most staircasey Wentletrap snails have a delicate ridge that spirals all the way up their shell. I can't imagine what tiny hammers and chisels a Greek sculptor would have needed to achieve the effect.

Image: Marine GEO
But nature isn't just the best sculptor, it's also a BRUTAL MURDERER.

At least some Wentletraps take up the red tooth and claw of nature and charge into the battle of life. In other words, they're carnivores.

Image: NOAA Photo Library
Hermit crab says, "finders, keepers"
These Wentletraps have been seen feeding on sea anemones and corals. A purple or pink dye secreted by their salivary glands may even serve as an anaesthetic to allow the snail to peacefully feed without their dinner leaping off the dinner table.

That's nature for you; it'll stab you in the heart but at least the knife looks nice.


Maria Thulin said...

Just wanted to say that I found your blog a couple of days ago, and this is the best blog ever! My favorite blog :) Maria in Sweden

Joseph JG said...

Awww, thank you!

Maria Thulin said...

You´re right about that nature is the best sculptor. I just copy. But I have really, really fun doing that. I make animals (and other things)in clay. I thought I should not only make cute animals, so I´ve made some weird, ugly, and wonderful ones as well. Hyena, bats, cameleon and armadillo. Right now I´m making a redlipped batfish, the weirdest, most wonderful and ugliest fish I`ve ever seen, and it was when I was looking for more pictures of it, I found your blog. If you want to see what I`ve made so far, go to Hope you enjoy it / Maria

Joseph JG said...

That's really great! I wasn't expecting the armadillo to look so cute, haha!

Maria Thulin said...

Thank you. Glad if you liked it. Yes, ugly animals can be cute too :)