Clio pyramidata is an example of a swimming sea snail with a shell ("sea butterfly"). It uses wing-like parapodia to fly through the water. In photographs, these creatures resemble nothing so much as alien crafts floating in space.
Shell Dissolution, 2016
Gouache and india ink on brown toned paper, 4" x 5".
A study in the style of natural history drawings based on the research that confirmed how ocean acidification affects a key zooplankton (sea butterfly, "Limacina helicina"). Individuals affected by acidity show cloudy, perforated shells.
Limacina helicina, 2016
Acrylic paint on primed pine board, 8" x 8".
A "sea butterfly"—it uses winglike "parapodia" that allows it to move in a way very similar to small flying insects—that lives in arctic waters, this species make up more than 50% of the polar zooplankton population. These animals have become a key indicator species for ocean acidification research because the production of their fragile calcium carbonate shell is sensitive to the acidity of the seawater they inhabit; in 2011, researchers found that specimens collected off of US west coast showed severely damaged shells.