Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Collecting slipper limpets in Coquimbo, Chile

Collecting Snails in Chile

In June 2014 Rachel and I flew down to the Universidad Católica del Norte in Coquimbo, Chile. We met up with Marcel Velasquez, a Collin lab veteran currently at the university. As usual, we were there in search of some calyptraeids.

We had three targets: Crepipatella dilatata, Crepidula coquimbensis, and Crucibulum quiriquinae

Crepipatella dilatata and Crepidula coquimbensis were "easy" to get because they are found just off the dock and able to be collected with only snorkel gear.  But the water was COLD! So before we went swimming we needed wetsuits.

Crepidula coquimbensis lives inside hermit crabs. In order to find them, you dive down at least 10 ft and swim above the sand until you see a hermit crab running away from you. When the hermit crab pulls itself into the shell you can sometimes find a few white shells, Crepidula coquimbensis! Only the biggest females have eggs.

We also were after Crucibulum quiriquinae. These snails are easily found on the shells of Turritella cingulata but at greater depth so we hired a scuba diver to collect for us. T. cingulata were very abundant and our diver collected bags and bags of individuals. Up on the boat, Rachel and I picked through each of them in order to find the C. quiriquinae.

                                                                                     C. quiriquinae (highlighted) sitting on top
                                                                                      of a T. cingulata shell

Back in the lab we checked each of the big females for eggs!