Photographed by Bette Jackson
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Hi, I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson, out with the wild things. You may know periwinkles as flowers used for a ground cover, but there are also animals called periwinkles: snails that make their home in tidal flats. The angular periwinkle, sometimes called mangrove periwinkle, is abundant at Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge and at other red mangrove habitats in South Florida. This inch-and-a-quarter long snail has a cone-shaped, bluish-white to buff colored shell adorned with spiral grooves and spiraling rows of dark dots. The angular periwinkle lives on the underside of the prop roots that give red mangroves something of a spider-like appearance. It moves up and down a root with the tide, spending most of its time above water. The habitat of the angular periwinkle is defined by its need to reach food while avoiding predators. This periwinkle feeds an algae and muck exposed at low tide. It spends most of its life out of water but within a few inches of it, easy commuting distance. By staying out of the water, it avoids being eaten by fishes. By moving a few inches above the surface, it's out of reach of hungry blue crabs.
'With the Wild Things' is produced at the Whitaker Center in the College of Arts and Sciences at Florida Gulf Coast University. For 'The Wild Things', I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson.