A fine art photograph by Ruth Burke.
This photograph was taken on a Texas Gulf Coast beach.
Venus comb murex, Murex pecten, is a gastropod of the family Muricidae, native to Indo-Pacific waters. The shell of this snail is unique in its array of over one hundred perfectly arranged and needle sharp spines. The spines provide protection from predation, and prevent the snail from sinking in the soft mud. Like other murex snails, it feeds on other molluscs.
Though common, perfect specimens are difficult to obtain due to the fragility of the numerous long spines. The species grows to between 10 and 15 cm in length.