Posted: Jun 28 2009
Vasum muricatum (Born, 1778), Caribbean Vase
6/30/09 Karen VanderVen:
In the mid-nineties, I found a beautiful live Vasum muricatum scuba diving off Fort Lauderdale, in about 30 feet of water. I still remember finding it.
In the early 90s I also found Vasum muricatum in the Keys.
On 6/30/2009 I posted the following inquiry on Conch-L:
"V. muricatum was once very common in the Florida Keys. It was not uncommon to encounter dozens during a snorkeling excursion. Not so today. Abbott places this shell in the "south half of Florida." However, I have never encountered it outside the Keys. It is not included in Harry Lee's checklist for Peanut Island nor am I aware of any finds in Dade County. I'd like to hear from those who have encountered live V. muricatum in Florida outside the Keys."
In addition to Karen's response above, reports are coming in via email. They include:
Pete Krull: "I've seen some very large, live collected specimens from an old collection that came from "Bear Cut", Miami."
Carole Marshall: "Back in about 1979 they were dredging the Lake Worth Inlet and dumping the dredge onto Singer Island. Singer Island was more accessible then and I collected many species from there. I collected two Vasum muricatum." "I cannot remember if the Vasum were freshly dead or dead but I did collect them from the Inlet near Peanut Island. I have not seen any since..."
Tom Honker: "We occasionally find Vasum muricatum in shallow water, 10-15 ft. mixed sand and hard bottom 2-3 miles south of Hillsboro Light."
Wayne Harland: "I found numerous V. muricatum off Pompano Beach, Deerfield Beach, and Boca Raton in the 1980's and early 90's. Oddly, after Hurricane Andrew in 1992, I don't remember seeing them in any numbers. By that time, I really wasn't looking for them either. As I remember, I only found them in the spring and early summer. They ranged in depth from 15 to 60' -- usually in coarse sand at the edge or in sand pockets on the reef."
Nancy Galdo: "I personally collected V. muricatum, mature specimens, in the Miami area. There are a couple of specimens in my collection from SE of Key Biscayne, 3' on sand and grass. The specimens aren't dated but were most probably collected in the early to mid 90s. I consider this to be a common species in Southeast Florida and stopped collecting them years ago. In the Florida Keys, they are still quite common and I see them with regularity while snorkeling in shallow water in many Keys locations."
Vasum muricatum is still very common in the Florida Keys, I still see dozens while snorkeling at Boca Chica Key. They are common on Big Pine Key, Ohio Key, Bahia Honda Key and at Key West's Rest Beach.
Last year I found 1 live specimen at Coral Cove* (along with 10+ dead specimens over the past 6 years). This year I have found 2 live (and 1 very freshly dead) specimens at the Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge** at the north end of Jupiter Island.
*North end Palm Beach County
** South end Martin County just north of the Palm Beach-Martin County line.