Turban Top seashells from Weymouth

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An assortment of Turban Top Shells washed out by winter waves from rotted seaweed lying buried under sand at Weymouth, Dorset, UK - part of the Jurassic Coast (1)

I love the colours, patterns and sculpted look of Turban Top Shells – Gibbula magus (Linnaeus). I found loads of them on Weymouth Beach recently. I was surprised to find them there because usually I find only Slipper Limpets. The Turban Tops were all sorts of sizes and conditions. Some were intact with beautiful red zig zag stripey patterns. Others were worn, broken and faded. Many were covered in a strange organic-looking textured reddish-brown coating. 

At the top of the sandy shore there were low-lying mounds concealing an old strandline of accumulated detritus that included large quantities of well-rotted seaweed. Winter waves had been eroding these deposits away and releasing the buried Turban Tops. The whole process was being speeded up by numerous pairs of large black crows that were systematically searching the beach for food. The bird pairs had divided up the territory and were leaving no piece of debris unturned in their patch.

There are earlier posts about these shells and the animals that occupy them. Click here for more information about Turban Top Shells in Jessica’s Nature Blog.

Side view of a Turban Top Shell with red pattern from an old buried strandline at Weymouth, Dorset, UK - part of the Jurassic Coast (2) 

The underside and aperture of a red patterned Turban Top Shell from a buried strandline on Weymouth Beach, Dorset, UK - part of the Jurassic Coast (3) 

An assortment of Turban Top Shells, mostly showing the underside, from a buried strandline beneath the sand at Weymouth, Dorset, UK - part of the Jurassic Coast (4) 

An assortment of Turban Top Shells, mostly showing the apices and spiral whorls, from a buried strandline beneath the sand at Weymouth, Dorset, UK - part of the Jurassic Coast (5) 

Paired black birds picking over the organic debris on the strandline on a particularly dismal winter day at Weymouth , Dorset, UK - part of the Jurassic Coast (6) 

Revision of a post first published 6 February 2010

COPYRIGHT JESSICA WINDER

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4 Replies to “Turban Top seashells from Weymouth”

  1. Thank you for doing that, Kathy. That is a very kind gesture and I appreciate it. I am pleased that you have been able to learn something from my approach to Nature. My aim in writing the blog has been to open eyes to the beauty hidden in full sight around us. It enriches our experience to see the details and to understand the significance of their place in the wider view.

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  2. Unlike their congeners, Gibbula magus live on soft substrates, often associated with Sea Grass – Zostera. I think there must be an extensive population offshore. Some years ago we dredged Portland Harbour/Smallmouth Sand flats and hauled up many. I saw the seafront photo before I read the text and instantly recognised Weymouth!

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  3. I didn’t know that. It makes sense. I did know that there were beds of eel grass at Studland Bay (where the seahorses live) but hadn’t realised that there might be beds near Weymouth.

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