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Florida Keys groundhog conch concurs with Punxsutawney Phil

MARATHON, Fla. (AP) — A conch living underwater in a Florida Keys aquarium’s touch tank confirmed groundhog Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction Tuesday of six more weeks of winter weather.

The “mollusk meteorologist” emerged from its shell at Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters and saw its shadow, just as Phil did earlier that day in Pennsylvania , the tourist attraction’s president Ben Daughtry said.

“Our mollusk meteorologist concurred with Punxsutawney Phil and saw its shadow and is predicting six more weeks of winter in the north,” Daughtry said.

The folklore surrounding Punxsutawney Phil means that when he sees his shadow, another six weeks of winter weather is on tap for the U.S. An annual event in Punxsutawney, about 65 miles (105 kilometers) northeast of Pittsburgh, originated from a German legend about a furry rodent. The gathering annually attracts thousands.

Of course, in the subtropical Keys, “winter” temperatures average 77 degrees Fahrenheit (25 degrees Celsius) during the day and 67 degrees Fahrenheit (19 degrees Celsius) at night, according to Chip Kasper, the lead forecaster at the Florida Keys National Weather Service office in Key West.

Among guests for the event were members of the Marathon City Council, who wore traditional “Groundhog Day” top hats, but short-sleeved shirts during the ceremony.