Our Jax Shell Club Webmaster and indefatigable
fieldworker, Bill Frank, has made shell-collecting history. In early
March he collected a dextral specimen of the normally left-handed
Lightning Whelk, Busycon perversum (Linnaeus, 1758) to many, and, on
Valentine’s Day, a sinistral specimen of
Ventridens cerinoideus (Anthony, 1865), the Waxy Dome, which, like all our 73 locally-occurring landsnails species [species listing] is normally
right-handed. Both these rarities were taken alive and in very fine
While there are several records for dextral Lightning Whelks, I could find
none for a sinistral Waxy Dome. Only three single instances of
(abnormally) sinistral Ventridens spp were encountered in a search
of the literature: V. acerra (Lewis, 1875), collected by Bryant
Walker in TN, a V. demissus (A. Binney, 1843) taken in AL by Henry
van der Schalie, and a specimen of V. ligera (Say, 1821) in the
Academy of Natural Sciences taken very nearby (Philadelphia, PA).
I've been keeping records of the American landsnailers who've found an
reverse-coiled specimen. Bill is now immortalized along with Joshua Baily,
Mary Ingersoll Baily (both husband and wife each found one!), W. F. Clapp,
Ralph Dexter, Dan Emery, James Ferriss, H. Fluck, Julia Gardner,
Steve Gould, Henry Hemphill, Leslie Hubricht (the undisputed champion with seven species; 12 individuals), W.
M. Ingram, C. W. Johnson, Mark
Johnson, Archie Jones, C. J. Maynard, Phil
Poland (see: Anomalous Sinistrality), Will Pratt, Homer Rhode, F. A. Sampson, Sanderson Smith, Wayne
Sullivan, Henry van der Schalie, Frieda Schilling, Richard Silverstein,
Fred Thompson, Bryant Walker, Charlie Wolfe, and the author (Vertigo
rugosula Sterki, 1890 & Daedalochila avara
(Say, 1818)) in the
pantheon of terrestrial collectors extraordinaire, most of whom have left
this mortal, er, coil.
Furthermore, Bill has distinguished himself by
scoring a “double-double” - finding a marine and a land
snail of reversed coil along with a normal specimen – and in a span of
less than one month – and both in Jacksonville!
** A basketball term for ten or more of two
categories (points, rebounds, and assists).
Addendum: Since the time of the original writing the 31st collector has
been inducted into the pantheon: John Slapcinsky (Polygyra
septemvolva Say, 1818; FL).
Early during her continuing stay in the United States (now over five
years), Stephanie Clark, who is technically Australian, literally bagged
a sinistral Anguispira cumberlandiana (I.
northern AL. Being busy with other projects she didn't actually see it
until early September, 2009, when she began sorting that soil sample! A
hallowed place awaits Stephanie if she opts for American citizenship.
HGL 2 Sept., 2009