The Kellet’s Whelk, Kelletia kelletii, is a type of sea snail that is common to the middle and southern coast of California, on down to Baja California. This seemingly harmless shelled creature is both a predator and a scavenger, and it has quite a strange feeding apparatus: a long proboscis twice the length of its shell can dangle down to reach its prey that may be hiding in a rock crevice or on the sea floor. It uses a handy rasp to scrape off tissue, and sucks it up into its shell for digestion. Each whelk has only one of these feeding tubes, and you’d be amazed how many creatures have some type of proboscis!
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There are thought to be seven distinct subspecies of Ensatina (Ensatina eschscholtzii). The map below shows distribution and examples of the wide variety of colorations for this single species in its genus. The ensatina is a lungless salamander who breathes through its skin and therefore must remain in moist habitat. When times get a bit dry, they can burrow down under logs and leaf litter until the above ground habitat becomes more moist once again.
Click the links below the map to find out more about this amazing species, and to see more pics of its variety! Scroll down on the first linked-to page to see entire pages of pics and videos for each of the seven subspecies! 😀
The Silk Tassel Bush, Garrya elliptica, is a serpentine endemic plant — meaning it can grow on soils that (for one thing) contain high concentrations of chromium and nickel.
This is truly a heavy metal plant! 😀
It is native to the West coast of the USA — California and Oregon. Check out the links below the pic for closeups of those crazy dangling flowers!