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Southwest Florida Shells with Emphasis on Sanibel & Captiva

By José H. Leal

Family Personidae

Distorsio clathrata

(Lamarck, 1816)

Atlantic Distorsio

Distorsio clathrata (Lamarck, 1816) has the distorted shell that is typical of the family Personidae. The shell in this species may reach 80 mm (about 3.2 inches), and shows the characteristic constricted aperture, large apertural shield, and lattice-like shell sculpture (clathrus is a Greek word for latticework.) The living animal has a very lush and hairy periostracum (outer shell layer). The species is common in deeper water in the Gulf of Mexico (see supplementary image of a specimen dredged at 24 m depth off Captiva), but this is the first shell known to be found on a local beach (found on Fort Myers Beach in 2021 by local resident Katherine Cantlon).