The Ugly Shell looks for beauty in unexpected places. Take a closer look…a much closer look! At 200% magnification, even a battered bit of sea shell can look stunning. “Tornado Tail” is a piece of oyster shell transformed into into art with lighting and microscope imaging. Shop The Ugly Shell for prints with a story, images with new perspective, and unique gifts from from the sea.
The science bits: An oyster is a sessile bivalve that is permanently attached by one valve to a hard substrate in the intertidal zone. Inner surface is smoothed iridescent nacre AKA “mother of pearl”. Oysters make pearls…get it? They are a filter-feeder, using cilia to draw water (40-50 gallons per day) across the gills. Small plankton are trapped in mucus, which is then transported to the mouth and digestive system. In addition to filtering all that water, oysters provide a habitat for lots of others organisms including small crustaceans (crabs), worms, algae and barnacles…even other oysters use the hard outer shells as permanent landing zones.
Oysters are eaten around the world, but here in Florida we like them on a cracker with some cocktail sauce, a daub of horseradish, splash of hot sauce, and a squeeze of lemon. YUM!