When is a pear not a fig? When it's a whelk!
It has the graceful arc of a paper fig, but it's a whelk. It's not
left-handed, like the lightning whelk, nor is it beaded, like the
channeled whelk. I've been calling it a pear whelk lo these many years,
but now I find that the genus name, busycon spiratum, derives from
busykon, the Greek word for "fig". Meanwhile, the other fig is ficus
papyratia or "paper fig", but it has been renamed to ficus communis,
"common fig". I think I would object, if I were a fig - identity crisis
This particular pear whelk was found on Bunche Beach in Fort Myers,
Florida, tangled in some thread-like seaweed. After liberating it from
the mess, I placed it on one of hundreds of pieces of coral that had
recently washed ashore. They made a good pedestal for showing off the
whelk's shapeliness, but I could not later identify them from the
photograph. After asking around and speculating, I'm settling on pillar
coral that has taken a beating in the surf.
pear whelk, Bunche Beach, Fort Myers, Florida