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Invertebrates

See our handy guide to critters found in local homes and our Central Coast Butterfly FAQ. Browse the insects and other terrestrial arthropods we’ve identified. Check out local marine invertebrates, particularly bivalve mollusks and intertidal organisms.

Can you help me identify this ?

I was near Goleta beach and found what looks like a fossil I'll attach pictures and hopeful you can give me some insight

Deven, Santa Barbara - April 27, 2024

Curator Response

Hi Deven,

Thanks for sending us your beach find. From the size and the bumps we see here, it’s quite recognizable as a shell fragment from the Wavy Turban Snail (Megastraea undosa).

I’ll attach pictures here to show what the full shell looks like. If you’re a frequent beachgoer, you might recognize where the fragment comes from, now that you see the whole thing.

The fibrous stuff you see on the shell fragment is periostracum, a thin proteinaceous layer that covers many shells and helps protect the shell. Once the animal has died, the periostracum gets worn away and the shell can be fragmented as it’s knocked about by waves and surf.

Stay curious,

Associate Curator of Invertebrate Zoology Vanessa Delnavaz, M.A.