Most Floridians have no idea what this is. Do you know? If you do, count yourself as being in the minority. Most people won’t touch it for fear of it being slimy or gooey; it isn’t.
It is an egg casing from a whelk, a saltwater mollusk. The casing is fibrous, tough and strong. It is made up of several disks, each holding up to 100 eggs. There can be literally thousands of eggs contained in the casing.
These can be found along the beaches during whelk mating seasons in the spring and fall. On the day that we saw this one laying on the beach, it drew quite a bit of attention. Kids would go and get their parents to ask what it was. Very few knew.
At the risk of being a know-it-all, I did tell most of them what it was. Most were quite interested. Once the young whelks emerge from the casing, there is no further use for them.
The casings can be dried and hung up as a decoration. Old salt’s sometimes refer to the casings and a Mermaid’s Necklace.
As we sat in the sun, not much time went by until a beachcomber picked up the casing and put it in his bag of shells. Another treasure from the sea went to someone’s home.
I know all about Mr. Whelk Ah one, ana two, oops, wrong Welk.
Now I have a craving for champagne.