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Parts of a Scaphopod Shell

Scaphopods are typically called "Tusk Shells". These shells are usually small and white so they can be easily overlooked when beachcombing. These animals can be found all around the world in our oceans so keep an eye out for them!

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Tusk Shell Apertures

Tusk shells have a tube shaped shell with an opening on each end. The larger opening is called the ventral aperture. The ventral aperture is where the animals foot and head exit the shell in order for it to interact with its environment. The smaller opening is called the dorsal aperture. The dorsal aperture sometimes has a small notch in it. 

Life in the Mud

Tusk shells are infaunal animals. This mean they spend most of their lives buried in soft substrates like sand and mud. Scaphopods typically orient themselves so that the dorsal aperture is pointed up while the ventral aperture is pointed down. This allows the scaphopod to prey on small animals found in these sediments. 

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