Posts tagged ‘Shell’

How does a clam make its shell?

If you have ever examined a clam shell, you may have wondered how the shell got bigger as the clam grew.  A clam is born with a shell just the right size for its body.  Inside the protecting shell of the living animal is a fleshy layer of tissue called the “mantle.”

The mantle oozes a limy shell liquid which quickly hardens and becomes part of the shell.  As long as a clam grows, its shell also grows.  The food that a clam eats provides the minerals that form the shell.  The hard shell serves as a clam’s skeleton, and the soft animal inside can never leave it.–Dick Rogers

How do snails get their shells?

Snails usually begin to grow their protective shells before they hatch.  The common garden snail hatches from a tiny round egg.  Hidden under the young snail’s shell is a flap of skin called the mantle.  The mantle oozes a limy liquid that quickly hardens into a shell.

As the snail grows in size, it adds coil after coil to its shell, building from the open end (for mouth) as fast as it needs more from.  The food that is eaten by the snail provides the materials that form the shell.  Without its shell, a snail would have little protection against drying up.–Dick Rogers

How does an octopus eat?

Octopus

The octopus has a powerful parrot-like beak in its mouth that it uses to crack the hard shells or crass and oysters.

The octopus is a sea animal with a soft, bag-shaped body.  It gets its name from two Greek words that mean “eight feet.”  We call its eight feet “arms.”

The octopus dwells on the ocean bottom where it crawls about on its arms, searching in every crack and crevice for its favorite food of shrimp, crab, and mussels.

On each of the eight arms there are two rows of cup-like suckers which help the octopus grab and hold very tightly to anything it catches.

The arms do not squeeze and prey, but pull it toward the creature’s mouth.

An octopus has two very strong jaws that look like the beak of parrot.  It uses its jaws to crush crab shells and to tear apart the food it eats.

The long, snakelike arms and large, unwinking, strangely human eyes give it a frightening look.  Most kinds of octopus are only about as big as a man’s fist, and do not attack people.

Some however, have poisoned jaws and bites from even a small octopus. – Dick Rogers

How do barnacles get on a ship’s hull?

Barnacles on Ship Hull

Barnacles can swim at birth.  When they reach adult stage, they attach themselves to objects in the water and grow a shell.

If you have ever visited a seacoast where there were rocks and piers you have almost certainly seen barnacles, for the “crush” you saw on the wharf’s pilings and the rocks was made up of millions of salt water shellfish called barnacles.

When barnacle is first hatched, it resembles a young water flea and can swim about in the water.

But when it reaches adult stage it can no longer swim, so it attaches itself to any convenient object, such as the hull of a ship, piling, rock, whale, or even a sting of seaweed.

Once attached, a hard lime-like shell  forms around the barnacles.  The barnacle eats by waving its feathery legs through an opening in the shell to pull tiny sea creatures and plants into its mouth.

In olden days, sailor of wooden sailing ships had to periodically pull their ships ashore to scrape off the masses of barnacles clinging to the hulls, because they reduced the ship’s speed and made steering difficult.  Today, special paints, prevent growth of barnacles. – Dick Rogers

What is a sand dollar?

Sand Dollar

Have you ever taken a walk along the beach to collect shells and found a gray, flat disk about 3 inches wide?  If so, chances are what you found was the “shell” of a small animal known as a sand dollar that had been washed up by the tide.

Of course, the sand dollar looked much different when it was alive than it did when you found it.  sand dollars live in shallow coastal waters.

A living sand dollar’s body is covered with many tiny spines that form a purplish, furlike cover.   By means of its spines, it pushes itself through the sand.

The sand dollar’s mouth is a small hole in the center of its flat underside.  It swallows sand and digests the tiny bits of food contained in it.

The spines drop off when the animal dies.

Not all sand dollars are round.  Some may contain slits, or even be notched.  The notched ones are often called “arrowhead” sand dollars. – Dick Rogers

How does a chicken hatch from an egg?

Chicken Hatching

A baby chicken is born from an egg that comes from inside the mother hen.

The chick that is inside the newly laid egg is a tiny cell called a “germ cell”  that will develop into the baby chicken.

If you look closely at the yolk, or yellow part of a hen’s egg, you can see the germ cell as a light-colored, pinhead-sized dot on the top of the yolk.

The hen sits on the egg and keeps it warm.  While she sits, the germ cell divides into other cells that form all the parts of the baby chick.  The  chick grows until it is so big that it fills the whole egg.

When the chick is ready to hatch from the egg, it cracks the shell with its sharp beak and wiggles out.

All baby birds hatch from eggs the same way that the baby chickens come into the world.

Photo courtesy:  lancaster

What is an abalone?

Abalone

An abalone is a kind of sea snail useful for its meat and colorful shell.  It is a kind of sea snail that can be found living in most mild seas.

In many places abalones are known as “ear shells” because their single flattened shell somewhat resembles a human ear.

The abalone spends most of its life clinging to submerged rocks with its flat muscular foot.  It can fasten itself to a rock so tightly that only a knife can pry it loose.

It feeds on the plants that it can scrape off the rocks with its rasp-like tongue.  Its hard shell, which may grow from a few inches to nearly a foot long, protects the abalone’s soft body.

Abalone steak, the snail’s large foot, is a popular seafood dish in many countries.  The pearly inner lining of the shell, called “mother-of-pearl,” is used in making buttons and other ornaments.

The abalone builds its shell out of lime from the water.  The shell grows as the abalone grows. – Dick Rogers