Thursday, December 28, 2006

OT: Help me solve a mystery

This is completely off-topic, but I can use some help.

Over on my sailing blog, Sail Full Tilt, (one of five blogs that I maintain; or more accurately four, if you consider the blog over and done with) there's a little mystery.

It seems that a warm-water crustacean has invaded Long Island Sound. The last two times my wife and I were at the beach, we found what appears to be Queen Conch (Strombus gigas) shells. These animals are typically found in the Caribbean, the Bahamas, Florida, and Bermuda. Beyond that, they don't travel much.

Except that they do, apparently. Somehow they managed to wash up on the shore in Milford. I don't know why.

If you or someone you know is a marine expert, like a biologist, I'd really like to hear from them.


fuzzyturtle said...

I've seen these south.. in Belize, I've seen the shells used to make a retaining wall!

any chance they fell overboard from a boat? I've seen the weirdest stuff floating around in the ocean.. I think the oddest was a big piece of wood from a barrel that said "Mopcka Cil" (no cyrillic alphabet on my computer) outside of Rocky Neck. I'd venture to guess the russian fishing boat was pretty close to shore if that fell overboard...

fuzzyturtle said...

saw the post in your other blog.. I've seen the conchs hung upside down so the meat sort of oozes out. It takes a while. That may explain the missing holes in the shell.

CT Bob said...

Yeah, I'm thinking they may have been carried in the ballast of a freighter coming to New Haven or Bridgeport, and dumped as it approached the harbor to take on cargo.

But I've been walking those beaches for many years and never saw even one, and then finding TWO of these shells in as many weeks is really strange.

Anonymous said...

Why don't you just say what's on you mind then. Blame it on Global Warming already!!!

CT Bob said...

Jesus, anonymous, take a chill pill!

I haven't said a thing about global warming, and in fact, the mean temperature of LIS would have had to risen by something like 15-20 degrees before these conchs could survive here. You're always looking for some evil Librul Conspiracy Theory!

I happen to know for a FACT that these are giant mutant conchs, spawned by digesting the outflow from Mobil/Exxon refineries in the Gulf and fed Polonium 210 by CIA operatives working on behalf of the Bush-Cheney cabal! Then they were trained to survive in frigid waters and developed a taste for human flesh, but they can discriminate between Conservatives and Liberals and were taught to ignore feasting on humans that enjoy line dancing, Wonder Bread, and wear polyester stretch pants.

But I never said anything about that wacky "Global Warming" theory.

So don't accuse ME of looking for nutty conspiracies!

Anonymous said...

Wow, someone had one too many mocha frapa double latte's!!

I guess you can't take a light hearted jab.

CT Bob said...

Did you actually read that last comment? I was being ironic; I don't really think they're mutant radioactive CIA-bred conchs.

Anonymous said...

That smaller one somewhat resembles a Florida Fighting Conch

CT Bob said...

Wow, you're right. They look very similar.

I like the name "Florida Fighting Conch"; it sounds like the name of a Key West high school football team!

"The Fighting Conchs have recovered the Biscayne Flamingo's fumble at the 40 yard line!"

fuzzyturtle said...

I hope you don't mind.. I emailed a guy at the American Littoral Society *no it's not a book club* and here was his response:

The queen conch is a species of concern and isn't found anywhere near here as far as I know. Most likely brought up by someone and dumped into local waters.

Don Riepe

A 'species of concern' means it's on its way onto the Endangered Species List. It's the first step.

Not sure if this helps or not...!!

PS They're a great group. I've gone on walks with them in Jamaica Bay, but I don't know of any chapters in CT.