The Banded Tulip Shell
Banded Tulip at Blind Pass, Sanibel Island 2022
Banded Tulip shells (Cinctura hunteria) are commonly found along the barrier islands of Southwest Florida. They can also be found in other areas along the Gulf of Mexico, the Florida Keys and throughout the Caribbean Sea.
The organisms responsible for the creation of these shells are a type of mollusk, more commonly known as aquatic snails. These mollusks are epifaunal carnivores, meaning they live most of their lives attached to hard surfaces beneath the ocean waves. They hunt for smaller prey on coral reefs and other rocky surfaces. These beautiful shells can grow as large as 4 inches or more.
Banded Tulip original art by Melissa (water color, pencil, collage) 2022
The Cinctura genus contains 5 known species of Tulip. This genus is a member of the Fasciolariidae family, which also contains what is known as the true tulip shell (Fasciolaria tulipa). The Fasciolariidae family, also known as the tulip and spindle snails family, is thought to have first appeared during the Cretaceous period. Today’s species inhabit warm tropical and temperate waters.
We have found Banded Tulip shells twice on Sanibel Island, once at Gulfside City Beach and the other recently at Blind Pass. Banded Tulips prefer intertidal sand flats, especially in quiet lagoon water. Their diets consist mainly of other mollusks, which they hunt amongst beds of sea grass.
Banded Tulip found at Gulf Side Beach, Sanibel Island 2022
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