Archive for the ‘cowrie’ Category

So I’m back from Maui and fully recovered. I’ve gone through the grieving process that I’m not there any more. So now is the time to report on the mollusks that I saw.

The short version: I didn’t see much in the way of mollusks.

The longer version: I saw no terrestrial mollusks. The first day I was there my husband pointed out a crushed snail shell in a parking lot that was rather huge. I’m guessing that might have been something invasive, like a giant African land snail. It didn’t strike me as particularly photogenic at the time, so I don’t have a photo of that for you.

On the road to Hana, we stopped at Ke’anae Beach Park, a point with waves crashing onto lava rocks dramatically. The tide was out-ish, so there were some tidepools to inspect, much to my delight. A couple of little snail sightings happened then.



Other than that, I spent a lot of time snorkeling, which was great. The only mollusk I saw while snorkeling was this cowrie at the Molokini Crater. Let me tell you, this thing was huge. I’d estimate along the long axis it was maybe 15cm. Definitely my best mollusk sighting of the week.


That was it. I realize lots of the mollusks that live in Hawaii are pretty small, but I also didn’t see any seashells on any of the beaches I visited.

So here’s the weird thing: Why is there such a surfeit of seashell atrocities being sold in Hawaii when there seems to be a paucity of (visible) shells in actual nature? It’s like buying souvenirs from a place somebody else imagined. Sounds like an Italo Calvino short story to me.

My next post will be all of the non-mollusk nature I saw. I had much better luck on that front, as you’ll soon see!

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Joanna Newsom is one of my favorite musicians out there. She’s got all sorts of things to love: a voice that definitely qualifies as an “acquired taste,” harp skills, an interesting sense of melody and song structure, and poetic lyrics.

My favorite of her albums thus far is her first, and one of my favorite songs on that album is “Clam, Crab, Cockle, Cowrie.” Hey, that’s 75% mollusks!

Here’s her singing it on late night TV. I’ve seen her live a few times, and her vowel pronunciation has…evolved, shall we say, since the original 2004 record. It’s evident in this here video.

My favorite line in this song is “Your skin is something that I stir into my tea.” It’s ostensibly gross, but also tender and intimate. Maybe you could say the same things about some mollusks.

Clam! (I met this giant one here at the Seattle Aquarium.)

Crab! (Not a mollusk! But still very cute)



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