Things Do Not Become More Comprehensible


We drove by some houses for sale (always house-hunting) and then hit Fogland Beach in Tiverton, RI, on 9 May. It’s a short beach and I didn’t have high expectations, but it turned out to be a very interesting walk. Two wild things were occurring:

  • Gulls (herring gulls, I think) were catching and eating giant spider crabs (Libinia emarginata).
  • And slipper limpets or slipper snails (Crepidula fornicata) were forming chains and possibly changing gender as we watched them: “The bottom individual [in a stack] is larger than the ones at the top of the stack and is inevitably a female, but the top individuals are smaller and males. What is not obvious, is that every individual common slipper shell starts life out as an immature snail, then matures into a male, then loses the male function and matures into a female! If a new slipper shell comes on top of the first and lowest animal in the stack, it will have male function … until another individual comes on top of him. He will then change sex to female function.”

First, the gulls and crabs:


Spider crab after being nibbled by gulls:



Spider crab shells:



Now the slipper snails/limpets:


Wild, right?


There were also a surprising number of whelk shells lying around the beach in various stages of completeness — more than I’m used to seeing on New England beaches — and lots and lots of snails all over the rocks.

oneofadozenwhelkshellsFoglandBeachTivertonRI9May2017snailsonledgeFoglandBeachTivertonRI9May2017 snailsonledgewaveshoreFoglandBeachTivertonRI9May2017

I especially liked this underwater rock and tiny snails on it:



I’m surprised when I see spiders on the beach:



And there was yet another lighthouse, though I think this one is actually a private home, High Hill Point:



I’ll end with some beach and water (cove) views:


Looking toward the Atlantic ocean:bayviewtowardoceanFoglandBeachTivertonRI9May2017



We could have spent a half-hour here, if we had just walked the beach back and forth, but instead we were so enthralled with what we saw that we were there for an hour and a half. Then we had a great lunch at The Black Goose Cafe.


As we acquire more knowledge, things do not become more comprehensible but more mysterious. – Albert Schweitzer, “Paris Notes”


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