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Posts Tagged ‘Silver Strand State Beach’

The Finely Sculpted White Venus

Posted by Jody on May 31, 2012

Pacific White Venus

The Pacific White Venus (Amiantis callosa), also simply known as the White Venus, is one handsome seashell.   This snow-white, nicely rounded shell can be found from Southern California to southern Baja California, Mexico. Very thick-shelled and quite heavy, it has graceful, well defined concentric ribs.  These strong ribs are somewhat flattened, and a few of them divide near the the sides of the shell. They do occasionally branch near the center, too.

A closer look for dividing ribs.

The Pacific White Venus is also known as the Sea Cockle in California.  Look for this lovely beach treasure on the sandy shores from just north of Los Angeles, south to Mexico.  This rather large bivalve lives burrowed in the sand in shallow water from the low tide line to depths of 25 feet. A filter feeder, the White Venus will range from 2 ½ to 4 ½ inches long.

Greg and I were pretty excited when we found this wonderful example of an empty, whole (3 ¾”) White Venus on the sands of Silver Strand State Beach, along the coast near San Diego, California.

Pacific White Venus

A member of the very large Venus Clam family (Veneridae), the entire group is named for the beautiful Roman goddess, Venus, who was born of sea foam. It really is no wonder that such a fitting name, “White Venus,” was chosen for such an elegantly sculpted shell.

Have a great day at the beach! ~Let us know what you find!


Posted in Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Pacific Coast Beaches, Seashells, Southern California Beaches | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Seaweed – Trash or Treasure?

Posted by Jody on December 28, 2011

At Silver Strand State Beach in Southern California, you’ll find both sand and seaweed. Silver Strand State Beach does not rake the seaweed that has washed onto the sands of this 2 ½ mile stretch Pacific Ocean beach.  The Western Snowy Plovers, which are native to this area, depend on beached seagrass and kelp for food.  These tiny birds feed on the insects that live within the seaweed that has washed ashore. Young plovers hide in the washed-up kelp for protection.

Sign posted at Silver Strand State Beach, California

The “natural” beach at Silver Strand has three main zones: 1) The “swash” is the area washed by the tides, 2) The “wrack” line is the high tide line which is marked by rows of kelp, 3) Hilly dunes lie beyond the the high tide line.

According to an article, at Daytona Beach News-Journal online, Volusia County, Florida, which includes Daytona Beach, does not rake sargassum seaweed from its beaches, either.  The news article entitled “Seaweed piles up along parts of Volusia, Flagler coastline,” quotes Volusia County Beach Patrol Deputy Chief Scott Petersohn.“‘While it may stink for a couple of weeks, these blankets of rotting vegetation are good for the beach,’ Petersohn said. ‘We get lots of calls asking when are we going to clean it up, but we won’t and never will,’ he said, explaining the vegetation not only traps sand helping to rebuild the shoreline, but it also contains seeds of plants that sprout in the dunes.”

Wrack Line, Silver Strand State Beach, California (©Jody Diehl)

So, there we have it.  Layers of seaweed which have washed ashore on our favorite beaches are a good thing! They may pose a few inconveniences for sun worshipers and beachcombers in the short term, but these smelly, rotting marine plant masses buzzing with flies help to build, protect and preserve our beaches for the future.  That sounds like a worthy trade-off to me!  Nuisance or no, bring on the unraked beaches.

Please feel free to leave your thoughts below and start a discussion, if you have any ideas on the subject of unraked beaches.  Mahalo, and happy beach going.

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Posted in Beach and Coastal Wildlife, Sand and Shoreline | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

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