Florida Beachcombing Finds: Crucifix Fish, Sand Dollars, Shark Pods
Here are some saltwater fun facts for an Easter weekend. Along the Broward County shore, you might find two things that remind you of Our Lord: skulls of saltwater catfish (sail cats) and sand dollars. A third curious find is shark egg cases.
1. The Lord Picked the Saltwater Sailcat Fish to Remind Us of His Misery
The sailcat fish, a saltwater catfish, is so called because his top fin is big like the sail on a sailboat. This catfish also has three very sharp bones inside each of its fins. So to pick up this fish, use a towel, pick it up so the fins are between your fingers, and hold on tight. These fin bones are razor sharp and I have seen one go almost through someone's hand. Also their sting is worse than a bee sting, and the fin bones can cause huge infections on your hands if you don't immediately rinse with bleach or alcohol.
What Does a Sailcat Fish Look Like?
Saltwater Catfish (Sailcat) Skull and Stones
The stones (dice) are located under the arms of the crucifix bone. The shaking of the sailcat's head rattles these stones to warn other sailcats of approaching danger.
The Legend of the Crucifix Fish
Of all the fishes in the sea,
Our Lord chose the lonely Sailcat,
to remind us of his misery.
His body on the cross is outlined,
the hilt of the sword,
which was plunged into his side,
is clearly defined.
Look at the back of the fish bone,
where the Roman shield is shown.
When you shake the cross
you will hear the dice being tossed,
for Our Lord's blood stained dress.
Those who hear them will be blessed.
—Conrad S. Lantz
2. Arrowhead Sand Dollar
There are many shapes and sizes of sand dollars but these icons all have the same message of Our Lord's Life. Watch the video to hear the legend connected to this awesome shell found on many beaches in Florida. Pictured here is an arrowhead sand dollar.
3. Shark Egg Case
There are about one hundred different varieties of sharks that are born from egg pods or egg cases. This is called oviparity. Some oviparous sharks are the Zebra Shark, Coral Banded Shark (shown in the video), Cat Sharks, Carpet Sharks, and the more familiar Bullhead Sharks.
The male shark fertilizes the eggs inside the female shark. Then the eggs are deposited into the egg pods and released into the saltwater. These egg pods attach themselves to coral and algae.
The shark egg pods are soft at first but the salt water hardens them. The sharks grow in the pods, hatch, and then the pods float to the shore. This shark pod I found on Melbourne Beach, Florida. There was a small slit in the side of it so I knew the shark was born out of it.