Angel Wings: A Heavenly Find
Posted by Jody on May 28, 2014
“Angel wing” is the perfect name for this beachcombing favorite! Easy to identify, these beautiful seashells are well-known collector’s items.
Angel wings (Cyrtopleura costata) are very fragile seashells. Somehow, quite a few of them seem to make it to the beach unchipped and in one piece, but it can be a bit of a challenge to get one of these brittle beach treasures all the way home intact!
Angel wings can be found along the Atlantic Coast from Cape Cod, Massachusetts to the northern West Indies. Their range includes the Gulf of Mexico and reaches as far south as Brazil. Our family found many of these wing-shaped beauties on Brazoria County’s Gulf Coast (Texas).
These delicate, snowy white bivalves are members of the burrowing Piddock family. Angel wings bore deep into the soft sandy mud (up to 3 feet below the surface). Filter feeders, they feast on the microalgae and tiny zooplankton in their mucky home, where they can grow up to 8 inches in length.
“The golden moments in the stream of life rush past us and we see nothing but sand; the angels come to visit us, and we only know them when they are gone.” – George Eliot, English novelist
Have a heavenly day at the beach!