Beachcombers: Have You Spotted One of These Holey Shells Before?
SouthCoast beachcombers, unite! While there are so many unknowns when it comes to what lies in the depths of the ocean, our beaches can provide us with a little insight into the lives of many marine creatures, and it's seriously such a cool plus to living by the water. Now it's time for our next lesson.
On one occasion of beachcombing or another, you may have come across a shell covered in tiny holes. If you're like me, you may not have even taken a second thought. You may have assumed it got that way naturally, just like Swiss cheese naturally emits gases that cause it to be holey. But these shells are nothing like the delicious Swiss dairy product.
These shells in question only become holey after hosting a boring sponge, a thick, bright yellow organism that typically draws in water through its tiny pores. According to the Chesapeake Bay Program, boring sponges get their name from their tendency to emit chemicals and literally bore their way through oyster shells, so much so that they eventually kill the oysters and, over the years, have become a major pest organism for the mollusk. But oysters aren't the only ones affected by these cool-looking yet bothersome little sponges.
In a recent TikTok from @capeclasp, this beachcomber shows that common whelks can also fall victim to hosting boring shells, and can end up full of tiny little holes. Now that's one fact that's certainly not boring.