Looking for an interesting yet inexpensive group of shells to collect? Here it is. The many members of the Neritidae Family of shells. There are 250 or more of these little shells. It is really hard to estimate how many different members are in the Neritidae family. More are being discovered and even the existing known ones are being reclassified as separate species. When you look close at these little shells you often can not distinguish the difference. Some have tinges of different color variations, shapes and textures that set them apart. Others even have marked differences in the shapes and textures of their operculum (trapdoors).
You Have to Look Closely to See the Difference in Many of the Species of Neritidae
Often the Only Way You Can Identify the Different Species is by Their Operculum
They range in size comparable to your little finger, thumb, or big toe. They are fun to collect because of their size. By being so small it requires little space to store or display them. It is interesting when you are at the waters edge, be it fresh or salt water, to be on the lookout for these little creatures that may be crawling at your feet.
I have been a long believer in feeling that when God created all of the wonderful creatures in this world that he created them for a specific purpose. You have even heard me say that a mosquito has a purpose for living even though I am not sure what it is. Read my mosquito story. From all appearances Godís main purpose in providing these tiny creatures was to help keep our water ways clean. The Nerita Snails are scavengers that feed on about any waste product. Now that is really important in the throw away society we live in today for human beings have a bad habit of tossing anything and everything in our waterways. Aquarium lovers can attest to their importance in helping to keep their fish tanks clean. They not only help to keep them clean by eating the algae but any uneaten food that remains in the tank.
The life span of the Nerita animal is approximately one year. Of course that can vary according to environment. Nerita are just like we humans. Their life span can be cut short by tragedy such as being murdered. I thought it was interesting to notice that on one of my Nerita shells there is a neat little hole that indicates some other shell-animal decided to make a meal of the Nerita animal inside by drilling a hole in his shell so he could extend his proboscis inside and eat him.
Look at the Hole in the Nerita Shell. No One Knows When Tragedy May Occur.
Nerita are not as numerous in fresh water conditions. Their reproduction cycle requires brackish water to assist with larval stage development. The females are larger than the males. Their sex can only be determined by keeping them in a controlled environment for observation.
The members of the Neritidae Family are living proof that worth is not measured by size. If it were not for their contribution along with all the other scavengers, many of which are not visible to the naked eye, our planet would not be the beautiful place it is. Something is needed to clean up all the mess we humans make.
We keep a few species of the Neritidae Family in our specimen shell shack to assist you in building your collection. It is nice to have at least one shell representing a specific shell family even though you are not interested in collecting all the different species of that family.