Can you tell me what these white, disc-like items are on this torn piece of kelp found in a low tide area of Monterey Bay, California? The disc shaped objects were arranged in an orderly manner and had cilia-like rimmed areas. Renee
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Hi Renee, the two people I contacted, marine education specialist Tracy Marcus and Flax Pond Marine Lab manager Steve Abrams, both suggested eggs of a marine snail. I’m thinking that yours are probably the California cone snail. https://www.diverkevin.com/NorthAmerica/Invertebrates-Eastern-Pacific/Invertebrates/i-6gwckCK/A
I’m checking with a couple of marine snail experts to verify. Tom
Well, we were on the right track with snail eggs, but Dr. Henry W. Chaney, Director of Collections and Research as well as the Curator & Howard/Berry Chair of Malacology (Malacology is the study of mollusks) at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History suggests these are the egg cases of a nassarid snail, probably Nassarius fossatus. Dr. Henry considered the possibility that the eggs might be the cone snail, Conus californicus, but he points out the “spiky or ruffled margin” of the eggs in your photo. He said that kind of margin is “… indicative of some nassarids, whereas the Conus capsules have smooth margins.” Without the egg cases in hand, he wasn’t able to be more definitive than that.
So I think the answer is that they are definitely snail eggs, and it looks like they are probably nassarid snail eggs. Here’s a link to a photo and some info on Nassarius fossatus.
Thanks to Dr. Chaney for help with the identification! Tom