I desperately desire to participate more regularly in the Illustration Friday challenges.... I can never seem to think 'outside' the box, however. And, even more so, seldom seem to have the time to sit down and actually draw. Illustrating takes so much more time than creating a scrapbook page in Photoshop. I think it's because I'm not very good at it and I'm a perfectionist. I get frustrated when I can't get the image I'm trying to protray to look just right. I spend a lot of time erasing... but more frequently, I don't even get started.
I have several 'nature journals' but few pages are actually done. I love the look of natural journals and suppose I don't work in mine because I fear I'll make mistakes. That it will look sloppy. Urgh. I really need to overcome this.
This week's theme is "Moon" - I first thought about the moon journal I started when I was teaching my 6th graders the moon phases and how the moon and sun's battle with earth causes our tides (it was a big unit that integrated many subject areas and incorporated a field trip). But, my sketches are rather dull. Mostly showing the phase of the moon in black and white. I'd love to create a new one with watercolor... hmmm.
So... I decided to go with Polinices lewisii or Moon Snail. A Gastropod that can be found in the low intertidal-subtidal region in sand/mud substrates along protected bays.
I found this one during my summer at the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology in Charleston, Oregon in 1997. They plough forward with their foot just below the surface of the sand or mud. When extended, their foot is much larger than their shell (up to 4x volume of their shell). Their large, muscular foot serves as a stable platform on shifting substrate, provides a large surface for locomotion and can fold into a grasping organ to hold prey.
They are a keen predator and can locate their prey (primarily clams and other snails) by scent. They hunt in a zigzag pattern and once prey is located, they grasp it with firmly with their foot while drilling a small hole in the shell of their prey.
When a Moon Snail approaches a clam, the clam will attempt to escape by extending its own foot in rapid succession and in effect leap across the substrate in one direction or another as fast as it can. I love demonstrating to classes of children how clams attempt to escape capture by these monstrous snails. I pretend to be a clam and sit hunched up in my shell all peaceful like. I have another student pretend to be the moon snail and approach me rather slowly. When it gets close, I spring into action and leap sideways across the room. The kids always erupt in laughter. I'm sure it sticks with them. :)
[Edited 30th July 2007 - image removed to conserve space]