Friday, January 21, 2011

Little Pied Cormorant, Cat's Eye Sea Shell

We went walking around the tide pools the other day. Saw a Little Pied Cormorant:

The Little Pied Cormorant is entirely black above and white below. The face is dusky and, in adult birds, the white of the underside extends to above the eye. Immature birds resemble the adults except there is no white above the eye.

You can tell them from the Pied cormorant

The Little Pied Cormorant resembles the Pied Cormorant, Phalacrocorax varius, but is easily distinguished by its smaller size and proportionately shorter bill The Pied Cormorant also has an orange-yellow face patch and black thighs.

A little closer:

He took off shortly after posing for us and went diving for fish.

Christine went for a stroll to show off her lustrous shoulders:

She beckons to me:

She has found something:

It's a Cat's Eye shell (not Tiger's Eye, as is mentioned). We left it there in its little pool, because we thought it was a living snail. When we got home we found out it's actually an operculum, or "doorway," of a snail:

The operculum is attached to the upper surface of the foot and in its most complete state, it serves as a sort of "trapdoor" to close the aperture of the shell when the soft parts of the animal are retracted.
Ones like this are usually, my research says, from the Turbo genus of sea snails.

We went back to the pools to get it. Luckily it was still there.

It's a little hard to see, but it has some beautiful, subtle coloring. (Click on photo to em-biggen.)


  1. Lovely! Man, you guys got it good. ;~)

  2. I heard they are illegal to have, is it true?

    1. A cat's eye? No, really do not think so.