Spotted this on the beach near one of the Common Purple Snails shown the other day to you. Looked at first like a shell on top of some dark sand. Moving to the side so that I didn’t cast a shadow on it I saw the vertical clear “sail” on top. It is a By-The-Wind-Sailor (Velella, aka Sea Raft. It makes sense that I saw it near one of its predators, the Common Purple Snail. The By-the-wind-sailor is related to the Men of War. This one was only a couple of inches in size; not sure how large they can become. I continued to be amazed and humbled by nature’s designs. Brand new miracle found (witnessed?) this morning!
Swamp Rose Mallow (Hibiscus moscheutos)
is a perennial Hibiscus species native to Illinois. This is a rose with no thorns, no arresting fragrance, but a striking presence indeed.
These images look at the subject from the side and rear which draws attention to the patterns and details of this giant blossom.