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Junonia, a Rare Find.

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!, 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 (Photo by Bradeos Graphon / Wikimedia Commons)

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!

Happy beachcombing!


7 Responses to “Junonia, a Rare Find.”

  1. G. Scanlon said


  2. Irma Stratton said

    Last year, at Marco Island’s Tiger Tail Beach, I found a Junonia. Along with many other beautiful shells. I had no idea that it was such a treasure. I just thought it looked
    Iike a giraffe! Lol. Now I display it proudly. It is not perfect, definitely has cracks, but this year, as I combed the beachs of Marco, it was definitely on my mind.

  3. anonymous said

    IF you find a Junonia you get your picture taken in the newspaper

  4. Regina said

    Are they worth anything?

    • E.G.D. said

      Well, I suppose they are to serious collectors. Really, it’s more along the lines of “sentimental value” and beach-combing victory points/bragging rights.

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