Our local stretch of shoreline often produces these strange little critters, washed up on the beach and left there as the tide recedes.
Common Slipper Shells
The common slipper shell (or slipper limpet for those found in Britain) is often found in stacks of up to 14 shells. You can see in the righthand picture above how it got its name, although I couldn’t even fit it over the tip of my pinkie finger! Slipper snails eat by filtering food from the water.
The slipper snail’s life cycle is quite amazing. It begins life as a male, and travels about the intertidal zone looking for the perfect hard surface to attach to and settle down. As it matures, it begins changing from male to female. Another young slipper snail in search of its forever home finds this female’s shell simply sublime, and sticks around (literally). When this younger snail matures, he is able to fertilize the eggs the female holds under her foot.
After that, the gentleman snail changes into a female, and yet another juvenile attaches to its shell, and the process repeats itself. If you find one of these stacks on the beach, you can tell the females from the males–the oldest females are at the bottom, and the youngest males are at the top. The snails in the middle are undertaking the task of changing from male to female.
Isn’t creation amazing? When I think about all of the different forms of life on this planet and how distinct they are, it blows my mind. Not only that, science is still discovering more variety, as well as more details about the creatures we thought we were familiar with!
For example, two new whale species were identified within the past three months (see nbcsandiego.com and npr.org for more information). Whales are huge. Who would have thought we hadn’t found them all already??
And who could forget last year’s discovery that platypus fur glows under blacklight??
The variety of life that surrounds us speaks to God’s creativity. This artistry and imagination is one aspect of his nature that He has shared with us.
“So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27 NLT).
Not only has He given us the gift of creativity, He has made us creative in a variety of ways.
Some love art, some music, and still others create art with words.
Some invent new ways of doing things, some create new solutions to old problems, and some make incredible advances in medicine.
Some create new flavors out of old, familiar ones.
Our creativity is a gift meant to be used, not stored up on a shelf somewhere like a dried out old seashell.
No matter the style of creativity He has invested in you, it IS there!
- Have you taken time to identify it?
- How are you using it?
- Are you using your creative gift to make the world a better place for those around you?
I’d love to hear about your creative gifts in the comments below!