Posts Tagged ‘Sanibel Island Florida seashells’
Posted by Jody on November 28, 2012
Posted by Jody on August 2, 2012
When I was a child, we called any seashell that looked like this one a Lady’s Slipper. There are several slipper shell species found on the Florida Gulf Coast, but we didn’t know that back then. We just loved to find these little beach treasures!
Now, I know that they are also called boat shells, quarterdeck shells, Indian boats and canoes.
The Common Atlantic Slipper (Crepidula fornicata) is indigenous to the western Atlantic seaboard, from Canada to Florida and the Gulf Of Mexico. This species has been unintentionally introduced to other areas, including the Pacific Northwest, Europe and beyond.
The Common Atlantic Slipper is a gastropod, having only one shell. The little marine snail can be discovered living on rocks, other seashells and horseshoe crabs. They often live in stacks of multiple shells, one on top of another. Easily identifiable, with its flat interior shelf, this whimsical beach slipper measures from 3/4″ to almost 3” in length.
Atlantic Slippers can be found in sand and mud from low tide to water up to 50′ feet deep. They have quite a wide range of colors, from white to cream and brown to orange. These convex seashells frequently come decorated with brown stripes, blotches or splashes.
Have a great day at the beach! I hope you’ll head home with a few extra pairs of slippers.
Posted by Jody on July 26, 2012
Even dog people can’t resist “oh, so cute” Kitten’s Paws! They are one of the easiest seashells to identify because they look just like their name. As a child, these were one of my favorite beach treasures. And as an adult, I still love finding them!
Kitten’s Paws (Plicatula gibbosa), sometimes called cat’s paws or Atlantic Kittenpaws, are plentiful on sandy beaches from North Carolina to the West Indies. They are common on the Florida Gulf Coast, where the sea tosses them onto the sand in abundance year-round.
These small, thick, rather flattened bivalves can range from ½ – 1 ½ inch. White to grey in color, they usually have splashes of reddish brown along their strong ribs, but sometimes they’re found in solid white.
Everyone enjoys finding kitten’s paws! They’re quite precious little beach treasures.
Who could resist ‘em?
Posted by Jody on May 24, 2012
The Common American Auger (Terebra dislocata), also called the Atlantic Auger, is a very familiar find for beachcombers from the sandy beaches of the Southern Atlantic states to the West Indies. But that doesn’t make this seashell any less of a desirable discovery in my book! Gorgeous in both shape and design, the Common America Auger comes in colors from off white and yellow tan to reddish brown and blueish gray (almost purple). This beach treasure has a glossy exterior which reminds me of elegantly rippled icing, piped around the edge of a wedding cake. What do you think?
Ranging from Virginia to the Caribbean, these little, intricately whorled shells are abundant year round on the beaches of Florida’s Gulf Coast. We found the seashells pictured here on the sandy shores of Sanibel Island, Florida. Fairly easy to identify, they are slender and shaped much like a spike and can grow up to 2 3/8 inches in length.
The Common American Auger lives in sand from near the low tide line to water 100′ deep. A carnivore, this sea snail is believed to feed on marine worms.
Now, did somebody say “cake?” I’ll get the plates, you get the forks!
Posted in Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Seashells | Tagged: Atlantic Auger, beachcombing, Common American Auger, Sanibel Island Florida beachcombing, Sanibel Island Florida seashells, Terebra dislocata | 3 Comments »
Posted by Jody on April 26, 2012
Common figs don’t grow on trees!
In fact, these gorgeous figs were hand picked from a sandy beach on Florida’s Gulf Coast.
The Common Fig, sometimes called a paper fig, is a very thin, fragile looking seashell. So thin, compared to the heavy Florida fighting conch, it’s surprising that it will wash up on the beaches of the Gulf Coast in one piece! Even more beautiful than it is fragile, the common fig (Ficus communis) comes in colors from off-white to tan, sometimes with undertones of blue, giving it a purplish cast. Inside, the shell is a glossy tan. With its crisscrossing ribs and intricate, low spire, this pear shaped shell is very easy to identify.
This beach treasure is common in shallow, sandy water. An abundant seaside souvenir, the common fig is found on beaches from North Carolina to Florida and Mexico. They can reach up to 5″ in length. Our family has found plenty of these lovely seashells on the white sand shores of Sanibel Island, Florida.
What’s for lunch? The carnivorous common fig especially likes sea urchins.
~I think I’ll just stick to Fig Newtons!
As far as “common” seashells go, I think common figs are remarkably photogenic beach treasures! What do you think?
Have a great day at the beach!
Posted in Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Gulf of Mexico Beaches, Seashells | Tagged: beach, beachcombing, common fig seashell, Ficus communis, Florida Gulf Coast beach, paper fig seashell, Sanibel Island Florida seashells | 1 Comment »
Posted by Jody on April 5, 2012
Our best shark eye! Isn’t she a beaut?
Skark eyes (Neverita duplicata) are members of the moon snail family (Naticidae). These beautiful, smooth, dome-shaped shells can grow up to 3, even 3 ½” high. Usually a light brown to grey color, the tips (apexes) of the shells often sport a darker purple-blueish cast, giving the appearance of an eye — hence the name. This makes these beautiful beach treasures rather easy to identify. How lucky for us!
Shark eyes can be found along the Atlantic coast of the US from Massachusetts to Florida and to the states along the Gulf of Mexico. They live from the sandy shore to just below the low tide line. Predatory marine snails, they feed on bivalves (e.g., clams). These beauties are actually a very common beachcombing find throughout their range. We found our best specimens on the Gulf shores of Sanibel Island, Florida.
Sanibel is a family favorite destination for us! Just one visit to this idyllic, white sand isle escape and you’ll understand exactly why Arthur Frommer, himself, listed Sanibel Island as #1 on the list of his Top 10 Favorite Travel Destinations in 2011!
Sanibel Island, along with it’s neighbor to the north, Captiva Island, is a true beachcombers paradise. The Sanibel Captiva Chamber of Commerce proudly boasts, “Our islands provide for the perfect vacations. Enjoy 15 miles of unspoiled beaches, 22 miles of bike paths, 50 types of fish, 230 types of birds, 250 types of shells and 0 stop lights.”
Here are a couple of other posts you might be interested in: Sanibel Island, Florida: A Beachcomber’s Paradise, Beachcombing? Shelling Regulations Abound. Know Before You Go! And, one more very useful link: The Sanibel Captiva Chamber of Commerce.
Posted in A Treasure of a Beach (Best Beaches), Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Gulf of Mexico Beaches, Seashells | Tagged: beachcombing, best Florida Gulf Coast shelling, Neverita duplicata, Sanibel Island Florida seashells, Shark Eyes | 4 Comments »
Posted by Jody on March 15, 2012
You won’t find banded tulips in the garden, but if you’ve been beachcombing on the Florida Gulf Coast, you might have one in your seashell collection! The banded tulip (Fasciolaria lilium) has a beautifully decorated, spiral shell. This prized beach treasure can grow to over 4″ in length. Banded tulips can be found from Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida to Louisiana and Texas, extending to Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. They live on sand and muddy sand in water from 2′ to 150′ deep.
The closely related Florida banded tulip (F. l. hunteria) is a more common find than the banded tulip (but equally gorgeous). Found on the Atlantic coast from North Carolina to Florida and around to Alabama on the Gulf coast, this seashell is generally smaller than the banded tulip. It’s spiral lines are spaced a bit wider than on the banded tulip.
Question: How do you tell the difference? Answer: This is where it gets tricky. Conflicting information abounds!
When I checked our collection of beach treasures from Sanibel Island, I referred to my Audubon Field Guide and looked for the telltale shallow grooves near the top of the seashell, at the “third whorl.” I understand that the banded tulip is the one that has little depressions that run around the shell there. These little ridges are easily detectable if you are looking for them. The Florida banded tulip, on the other hand, is missing these little grooves. ~Maybe~
I’ve seen a very respectable source (The Baily-Matthews Shell Museum) use the entire Latin name Fasciolaria lilium hunteria, but then only refer to their site’s pictured shell as a banded tulip. I’ve also seen photos of both banded tulips and Florida banded tulips with their names all mixed up in a variety of shell guides. Please, don’t even get me started on true tulips!
When it comes right down to it, collecting a bunch of tulips on the beach is awesome fun in every season! ~Come tiptoe through the tulips with me.
Happy Spring! Happy Beachcombing!
Posted in Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Seashells | Tagged: banded tulips, beachcombing, beachcombing on Texas Gulf Coast, Fasciolaria lilium, Fasciolaria lilium hunteria, Florida banded tulips, Sanibel Island Florida seashells, shelling on Sanibel Island Florida | 1 Comment »
Posted by Jody on December 1, 2011
The Junonia (Scaphella junonia), a deep-water marine mollusk, lives off the Atlantic Coast from North Carolina to Florida and along Florida’s Gulf of Mexico Coast. A junonia on the beach is a rare sight, making this one of the more desirable seashells in any serious sheller’s collection. Find a junonia at the seashore and it’s guaranteed that fellow beachcombers will be just as thrilled as you are! In fact, genuine shellers will likely serve you bragging rights on a silver platter!
Sanibel-Captiva.org, the official Chamber of Commerce website for Sanibel Island & Captiva Island (Florida), describes the junonia shell in this way: “The islands’ most coveted seashell, it belongs to the volute family. Its milky chamber is covered with brown spots on the outside, and the animal that occupies the shell is likewise marked. Shellers who find a junonia on Sanibel or Captiva get their pictures in the local newspaper.” *This comes from the Chamber of Commerce of two islands that are literally made from seashells!* … “Sanibel Island and Captiva Island have earned their reputation as the Shell Islands honestly. They are actually made out of shells, like some magnificent work of shell art created over thousands of years. When islanders dig gardens in their backyards, they find conchs, whelks, scallops and clam shells often perfectly intact.”
Scaphella junonia johnstoneae, a subspecies of Scaphella junonia, is found in deep water off of Alabama’s coast. According to the Alabama Department of Archives and History: “The Scaphella junonia johnstoneae, or Johnstone’s Junonia, is an offshore seashell common to the Gulf Coast. The shell was described by a Harvard scientist, Dr. William J. Clench. He named it in honor of Kathleen Yerger Johnstone, an amateur conchologist from Mobile, Alabama, who popularized seashells through speeches and books. The Scaphella junonia johnstoneaewas made the state shell in 1990 by Act no.90-567.”
Do you have one of these highly-prized beach treasures in your seashell collection? I have yet to find a junonia on the beach. But, when I finally find one, you’ll be among the first to know!
Posted in Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Seashells | Tagged: Alabama state shell, beachcombing, Johnstone's Junonia, Junonia, Junonia seashell, rare seashells, Sanibel Island Florida seashells, shelling on Sanibel Island Florida | 2 Comments »
Posted by Jody on November 10, 2011
The whelk family is a rather large and far-reaching family! It includes over 1500 species, and whelks are found in all seas from the Arctic, through the tropics and to the Antarctic.
The lightning whelk is a relatively common seashell which is native to the Atlantic coast from North Carolina to Florida and along the Gulf of Mexico to Texas. The lightning whelk can be found in the sand from the near low tide line to water about 10 feet deep. Finding an empty lightning whelk seashell is a beachcombers delight!
“Lightning whelks reach a length of 2.5 to 16 inches (6 to 40 cm). Their distinguishing characteristics include their off-white to tan or gray shell with narrow, brown “lightning” streaks from the top of the shell to the bottom. The shell is white on the inside. The animal inside the shell is dark brown to black. Lightning whelks are unusual in that they have a counterclockwise shell spiral (lightning whelks are usually called “left handed”).” (Texas Parks and Wildlife Department) The related Perverse Whelk is also a “south paw” but has a heavier and stouter seashell.
“Like snails, the lightning whelk is in the class Gastropoda which means “stomach footed”. Gastropods are univalves (have only one shell). Hermit crabs often make homes of unoccupied lightning whelk shells. A lightning whelk leaves behind a trail when crawling. It is often easy to track them. The shell grows very quickly when the whelk is young as long as food is abundant. As it gets older, the shell grows more slowly. The color of the shell depends greatly on light, temperature and age. Older whelks have pale shells.” (TPWD)
The lightning whelk (Busycon perversum pulleyi) was named the official state seashell of Texas in 1987. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has a short, interesting article on the lightning whelk which covers many details of this beautiful sea creature including its life cycle, diet, and ways this gastropod has been utilized by man through the years.
Posted in Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Seashells | Tagged: beachcombing, beachcombing at Padre Island National Seashore, beachcombing on Texas Gulf Coast, Lightning Whelk seashell, Sanibel Island Florida beachcombing, Sanibel Island Florida seashells, seashell collecting on Texas beaches, Texas State Seashell | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Jody on November 3, 2011
4/22/2012 Update: Shellabration! 2013 is scheduled for Feb 26 – Mar 4th, 2013. The 76th Annual Shell Fair is scheduled for March 7 – 9th, 2013.
This is the event for seashell collectors, seashell crafters, and seashell enthusiasts of all ages and sorts! The Sanibel Island, Florida Shell Fair and Show is celebrating its 75th year in 2012! Shellabration! 2012, celebrated on the islands of both Sanibel and Captiva, is a week-long seashell extravaganza which runs from February 26 through March 4, 2012. The actual 75th Annual Sanibel Shell Fair and Show is scheduled for March 1-3. This is the longest running shell fair and show of its kind in the United States.
There are few better places on the North American continent for a festival of all things seashell! According to the Shellabration! 2012 website, Sanibel and Captiva are unique among Florida’s Gulf of Mexico barrier islands because their “boomerang shape and east-west orientation rather than the usual north-south positioning” makes their shores giant, natural shell-scoops, especially when the conditions are right. Winter is the peak shelling season for both of these islands, so naturally late February and early March are an ideal time to pull out all the stops and put the winter’s best finds on display!
Along with the Sanibel Island Shell Fair and Show, Sanibel and Captiva’s island communities are planning a myriad of events for the Shellebration! 2012. Here is just a small sampling of the festivities from the Shellabration! 2012 website.
The Sanibel Stoop: Held on Friday, February 17, at Bowman’s Beach, you can help Shellabration! 2012 break “The Guinness Book of World Records” number for the largest seashell scavenger hunt!
Watson MacRae Gallery: “Sea Shells” Invitational Exhibition will include a week long exhibit featuring the works of invited Sanibel artists and focusing on The Shells of Sanibel and the sea. Monday, Feb 27th opening reception will be open to the public. In addition, the Watson MacRae Gallery will feature shell inspired pottery and glass from artists around the country during Shellabration! 2012 week.
One Woman Play & Ice Cream Social: On Sunday, March 4th, at the Community House, Rusty Brown presents “In Celebration of Anne Morrow Lindbergh” followed by an Ice Cream Social. (Anne Morrow Lindbergh, wife of Charles A. Lindbergh, authored the classic, thought provoking book “Gift From the Sea”.)
“Patience, patience, patience, is what the sea teaches. Patience and faith. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach—waiting for a gift from the sea.” Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift From the Sea
To find out more about Sanibel Island, Florida you can check out: “Sanibel Island, Florida: A Beachcombers Bonanza”, “Beachcombing? Shelling Regulations Abound. Know Before You Go!”, & “The Sanibel Shell Guide”.
Posted in Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Gulf of Mexico Beaches, Seashells | Tagged: beach, beachcombing, Sanibel Island Florida seashells, Sanibel Shell Fair and Show, Sanibel Stoop, Shellebration! 2012, shelling on Sanibel Island Florida | Leave a Comment »