All That Glitters

Posted in Under the Sea on September 8th, 2008 by MadDog
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Diving on Saturday near Kranket Island on one of the many reefs inside Tab Anchorage my eye spied something glittery.

Unlike our dry world – full of manufactured items of a shiny nature – under the sea there is little that does not move, but shines as burnished metal. Oh, sure, there are plenty of shiny fish darting around, many of them looking as glittery as the bling on a Harley. However, a bit of stationary shine can draw the eye like a magnet to steel.

Finning along with Lorraine Collins at about fifteen metres, my eye was caught by this glitzy bit of shell:

 Glittery bit

When I set it on my hand to examine it I was struck by the similarity between its lustre and the shininess of my rings. Someday I’ll tell the two-ring story.

Then I began to wonder what it was and how it got there.

What I think it is is this:

Penguin Wing Oyster (Pteria penguin)

The two shells above are Penguin Wing Oysters (Pteria penguin). I think the object in my hand is the remains of an immature specimen that was attacked, crunched, and eaten probably the night before. There are many predators that forage at night and have jaws strong enough to crush the shells of bivalves to get at the tasty meal inside.

Here is another photo of a Penguin Wing Oyster. This one is completely covered by the encrusting sponge Clathria mima:

 Penguin Wing Oyster with encrusting sponge

Encrusting sponge . . .

The phrase makes me think of a relative by marriage who resided next door to us. He always hung around our house and was forever needing to borrow something, mostly money.