A description of snails, oysters and mussels found in maritime forests.
Geukensia demissa; Crassostrea virginica; Melampus bidentatus: the ribbed marsh mussel, the eastern oyster, and the salt marsh snail.
The ribbed marsh mussel has two valves or shells, grooved with obvious ribs; the shells are a glossy, brown-black color, often with some yellow or white on the outside. The ribbed mussel is distinguished from other South Carolina intertidal mussels by its oblong shape, parallel dorsal and ventral margins, very close exterior ridges and lack of teeth on the hinge.
The eastern oyster is a bivalve mollusk with a hard calcium-carbonaceous shell; this oyster also makes pearls, though they are small and of little value.
The salt marsh snail has a thin, green, oval-shaped shell with approximately five whorls; like other snails, the salt marsh snail has eyes atop long antennae, and keeps its organs between the foot and the shell.
These organisms are all filter feeders; they suck in water and filter out the plankton and detritus to swallow, then spit the water back out, thus cleaning the water around them.