Anyone up for some escargot?...This interesting composition was captured today at Saint Mary's Island, which is one of the many Isles of Scilly. While passengers were enjoying walks admiring all of the tropical species of plants at the Abbey Gardens on Tresco Island, I decided to enjoy the refreshing 55 degree F water and the natural lush kelp forests that surround these beautiful Islands. This Top snail was found grazing on this Cuvie or forest kelp (Laminaria hyperborea).

Cuvie forms dense mats on stable rocks below the low tide level and is considered a brown seaweed due to its coloration which is derived from a dark brown photosynthetic pigment know as fucoxanthin. Brown seaweeds are considered the most useful to man, at least commercially, being the source of algin which is used in agars, ice cream, salad dressings, and even women's cosmetics. Brown algae as a group tend to be heartier than red or green algae due to this gelatinous substance (algin) which can dry up as a result of being desiccated by the sun at low tide and then return the kelp plant to normal turgidity as soon as the enveloping high tide returns. Since algin dries out or takes up water readily without deteriorating, the seaweeds that possess it can withstand the stress of the daily ebb and flow of the tides in near shore waters, hence this is the main reason why brown algae are found in these locales.