The appearance of an unexpected visitor during field work is always a treat . . . this one, a humpback cowry (Cypraea mauritiana), was found on the windward side of Oʻahu during a survey of benthic (bottom-dwelling) organisms along a rocky stretch of coast. Cowries are marine snails with smooth, often brightly patterned shells. The shells of cowries were once a common form of currency; today, they are prized by collectors after the animals inside die. But what could be more beautiful than the living creature amidst a swirling shallow sea?
[Photo by Jessica Schaefer]
[Edited by Maggie Creamer]