If you're an abalone diver, or a tourist who has viewed the hundreds of mature abalone shells adorning fences along California's North Coast, like me, you probably have an image in your mind of a "normal" size for abalone, say 5 - 8 inches across. So, the particular appeal of a tiny shell, such as the 1 3/4" specimen in my photos, is in the stimulus provided by contrast.
In a similar vein, a few days ago I came across a student at my college who was staring, jaws agape, at a large, black bird grazing on some errant food scraps. he muttered "My God, that's some mutant crow!" It turns out he's from a Central Valley, where the normal size for such birds (actually Crows) was around half the size of this particular bird which was a Raven. The student was having a similar experience of contrasts from the "normal." I recall another such experience. I grew up in Massachusetts where I spent many a day walking through grassy fields and fixing the impression of grasshoppers as being entertaining insects mostly around an inch or less in length. Years later, when I first encountered dead Lubber Grasshoppers in college dissection labs, then alive on the roads in western Texas, I was "blown away." They seemed to range from 3 - 5 inches and were actually kind of scary when they landed on you. So, I "collected" this shell and have it for a number of years. It stirs lots of memories.
One of my favorite photos that I did not take is the one above by one Kurt Klevin. More later. Time for a break.