Aquarium Encounters’ ‘mollusk meteorologist’ saw his shadow on Feb. 2 to predict six more weeks of winter in the Florida Keys. FLORIDA KEYS NEWS BUREAU/Contributed

Groundhog Day went a bit differently in the Florida Keys, when a conch living underwater in the island chain “disagreed” with famed groundhog Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction of an early spring. 

The “mollusk meteorologist” emerged from its shell on the morning of Feb. 2 at Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters and saw its shadow, according to Ben Daughtry, Aquarium Encounters’ president. Punxsutawney Phil, however, reportedly did not see his. 

The folklore surrounding Punxsutawney Phil means that, if he sees his shadow, another six weeks of winter weather is on tap for the U.S. If he doesn’t, the outlook is for an early spring.

“Unlike Punxsutawney Phil, who didn’t see his shadow, our mollusk meteorologist did see its shadow, and that’s predicting six more weeks of winter,” Daughtry said.

“Of course, our winter in the Florida Keys … 75 degrees average high temperature,” Daughtry added. “I’m not so sure what it’s like up north.”

The conch resides in a shallow “touch tank” at Aquarium Encounters in Marathon.

Among guests observing the sea creature’s activities were members of the Marathon City Council and Monroe County Commission, who wore traditional “Groundhog Day” top hats. In addition, local musician John Bartus performed a self-penned song about “waiting for the mollusk meteorologist.” 

“The queen conch is a very special animal to the Florida Keys,” said Daughtry.  “If you’re born in the Florida Keys you’re considered a conch, the Key West High School is the ‘Fighting Conchs,’ and we’re home to the Conch Republic.” 

While the Keys conch predicted six more weeks of winter, that’s no problem in the island chain — since the Keys’ “winter” temps are typically among the warmest in the U.S.