This photo from Wikipedia. The other photos I took.
So I brought it home, open it up and poured out the little shells. A lot of them were broken and looked like little shards of glass but a few were still recognizable.
I placed them under my dissecting scope for a better look.
Here is what I found. They are so tiny yet almost perfectly shaped. They are also almost transparent. I just can’t imagine how they could possibly survive in the ocean, yet they do.
Here is what Wikipedia had to say:
“Mating and egg laying occur during the spring and fall migration. Internally fertilized eggs are surrounded by a transparent mass of albumen, a gel-like material, and are laid in protective flat, rounded egg capsules joined to form a paper-like chain of egg cases, commonly called a "Mermaid's Necklace". On average each capsule contains 0-99 eggs, with most strings having 40-160 capsules. After laying their egg cases, female knobbed whelk will bury one end of the egg case into the substrate, thus providing an anchor for the developing fertilized eggs and preventing the string of egg cases from washing ashore where it would dehydrate. Fertilized eggs emerge as juvenile knobbed whelks approximately 4 mm in length.”
See other interesting critters at Camera Critter.