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Collecting seashells on the beaches of Sanibel, Captiva and the world

i Heart Shelling in February

i love shelling heart iLSI love shelling because it fills my soul with happiness when I find the smallest of shells like this sweet little juvie PEAR WHELK on the beach that I’ve circled in the photo with my big heart. It looked like there was only sand washing up on the inside of the jetty at Blind Pass yesterday…

blind pass inside sand

But I didn’t give up since the day was warm and beautiful and I had a few minutes just to take it all in.  I found a nice little shell pile to sift through…

sea shells foam florida

In that small pile, there was a beautiful FIGHTING CONCH. And laying right beside that CONCH was a nice size LETTERED OLIVE. Do you see it?

seashells sea foam florida

I sifted a bit more and I found my sweet PEAR WHELK. That’s when I saw Dave and Peg from Cincinnati and he told me he a found his first JUNONIA this week! Wahoo! But he didn’t have it with him. Rasher-frasher! (What cartoon that was from??),  I wanted to see it. He was thrilled to show it off so they ran back to their place to get it! Ha! Fantastic! Here they are!

peg dave fulgurator junonia

This is Dave’s awesome JUNONIA that he found at this spot in the water right at the trough line. In the last week, I haven’t seen obvious big shell piles anywhere but everybody that has found nice shells has been hunting in the water just like Dave. He said there were only a few shells showing but he kept scooping at that spot and came up with this JUNONIA. Perseverance. Congratshellations!

dave junonia

I love it because it has so much character! If only this shell could tell its story…

junonia ap dave

Did you notice Peg has a shell in her hand too? She found a FULGURATOR OLIVE!!!! She actually found it a few weeks ago on the other side of the pass when we had the cold snap but since they went back to get Dave’s JUNONIA, she wanted to show me this too. AWESOME!!!!

golden fulgurator olives

And within the last month, she found TWO GOLDEN OLIVES as well. Wowza! They have found some spectacsheller treasure in the last month. We had to shellebrate! Since this was yesterday (Tuesday, February 12), I shared my Fat Tuesday Mardi Gras beads with seashells, mermaids, lobsters and flip flops that Linda From Pensacola gave me. Thank you Linda! That’s so sweet! They went to great use since I had a great time sharing them all day long.

seashell mardi gras beads

So I hope you had a fabulous Fat Tuesday yesterday and will have a marvelous Valentines tomorrow!

i love shelling heart

Don’t forget to check out the new dates to join us in one of our Shelling Adventures by CLICKING  HERE or the next image!

iLoveShelling ShellingAdventures


  1. I LOVE seeing photos of junonias in peoples’ hands! It makes my heart race with the excitement they must have felt when they saw it! I know one day I’ll find my junonia! <3

  2. Oh & that Fulgurator olive….stunning! <3 <3

  3. You inspire me to keep looking for shells on the east coast of Florida!!!!

  4. How thrillling for Dave to have found that Junonia! He was on the Sanibel side of the pass, right? I am fascinated by the changing landscape of the beach on both sides of Blind Pass…ain’t it grand? Thank you for your photos and esp. that wonderful Mardi Gras vignette! You are so artistic, girl! Hope Cupid is good to you tomorrow! I have my “I LOVE SHELLING” calendar and I love looking at the February picture of the heart made out of the Paper Fig shells. Love to you and Clark!

    • I was thinking the same thing this morning about the Paper Fig photo. I love looking at my calendar every day!

      • OMG Thank you y’all! It’s funny, each month I always wonder if I chose the right photo. I figured you can never go wrong with LOVE for a whole month!

  5. I believe that is a lightening whelk, not a pear whelk. Some have the thinness off a pear whelk, making it look similar, but pears are much more rounded.

    • I love the whelks and I have a hard time telling them a part. I thought that the “pear” whelk has it’s aperture on the right and the “lightning” has it on the left. If that is correct, and I am not saying it is for sure, then it looks like this whelk is indeed a “pear”.

      • You are perfectly right Roxanne!

  6. I managed to find a 2 pieces of Junonia – one in November in Sanibel and one last week (near Sarasota). I’m getting closer – maybe the next trip?! Ahhhhhhhh!

    • I found three pieces of Junonia when I was on Sanibel last week. I figure with two more pieces I can build my own! Just kidding! It’s thrill just finding a piece.

  7. What a gorgeous Junonia! Big and pretty!!! :)

    And nice fulgurator olive too!!!

  8. Happy Valentine’s Day Pam! Hope to see you soon!!

  9. Great junonia! I’m repeating to myself “keep looking….keep looking…keep looking”!

  10. “Rasher-frasher” was from the cartoon character Muttley (a dog) from Dick Dastardly and Muttley as seen in various Hanna Barbera cartoons.

    i am not sure those golden olives are actually golden olives in the subspecies sense, .aka Oliva sayana citrina…. a true golden olive has no traces of the original pattern at all, which these may have its hard to tell from the pictures….Oliva sayana citrina is a solid yellow or golden color… can also get lettered olives with the patterning but an overall yellowish or golden color too, which these two seem to be. thats not spelled out clearly in shell books.

    • Ha! Muttley! That’s it! After saying rasherfrasher for years and years, I forgot where it came from. Thank you! LOL
      As for the golden olives… hmmmm. It’s hard to say. The more I learn, the more I realize there are many discrepancies within species that I research. Right? ;) There are many sources I trust but take a look here… . For now, it looks like a pretty dang good match so I am going for it until there is more clearly cut. I always appreciate help so thanks for checking it out, Steve.

    • Hi Steve,

      “citrina” is not a “subspecies” of Oliva sayana, it is merely a color form, and as such it has no taxonomic significance whatsoever.

      And because it is just a color form, there are many gradations of it.

      So there is really no such thing as “The Golden Olive”, and there is no such thing as a “true” golden olive. They are all just Oliva sayana.

      Some humans are born with red hair, and their red hair might naturally be strawberry blond in some people, or carrot-orange, or a dark auburn.

      In the same way, some lettered olives are born yellowish and some are a richer deeper purer yellow than others. Some have some faint markings and a few have no markings at all, but they are all just variants in the natural pigment of the snail. Yes… the pure yellow ones are very pretty, but they have no other biological or taxonomic significance.

    • Susan, your point is a good one. Continuing on with your hair color analogy, not only are people born with different color hair, but sometimes it changes. I have noticed this phenomenon most often with the female gender of our species, sometimes even from week to week. Then there is the age related changes, which I have personally been experiencing. Actually, the same changes can happen in shells/mollusks. Depending upon the habitat (sand vs rocks/reef) and food sources, the color and patterns of shells can change. In addition, some shells, especially the conchs or Strombi, will develop a graying of their aperture as they get older. As you may have heard, old shellers never die, they just conch out. ;~)

      • Ha!!! Clark has noticed that phenomenon with my hair at times. Heehee. So nice to hear from you again MK! And no, I’ve never heard the “conch out” saying. I might have to borrow that one! :)

        • I think it needs to be a t-shirt!

          Just finished up with Mardi Gras up here in New Orleans, but I can’t wait to get to Sanibel in July. I’d much rather be finding shells that catching beads.

      • Thanks for the laugh MurexKen. I think I am one of the species whose hair color changes frequently. Must be my habitat or food sources. :)

  11. Pam,
    Thanks for providing my shelling “fix” once again! A perfect start to Valentines Day! Love the pear whelk, the olives and the junonia is just great! And thanks to Dave and Peg for running back to get them to share them with us!! Hoping you have a great shelling day.

  12. Aw, I thought you’d give us a cyber shelling pic to sift through for Valentine’s Day:-(

  13. What a great Junonia. We have yet to find our first one. We’re coming down for the month of June. Are you planning a shelling adventure during that month?

  14. Hi Pam, Where can I mail order some of your Shell ID cards? I need 4 for gifts to give to children along with a box of shells I collected on Sanibel. I usually id the shells for them but think that they will have more fun doing it themselves with your cards.

    P.S. Happy Valentine’s Day to you and Clark. We all love Sanibel’s Number One Super Shelling Couple.

  15. Hi all and Happy Valentine’s Day,

    Just found your website. Arrived yesterday at the Sundial for a 5 day stay and have been out all day through clouds and rain shelling. It’s totally addictive!!

    I have a question for you expert local shellers. We were here 2 years ago, also staying at Sundial. We found oodles of beautiful murexes and whelks (lightning whelks I think). We haven’t seen a single one of those today. I know that the beaches change all the time, and are different day to day and from beach to beach on the island, but i’m curious if there are LESS shells now than 2 years ago?

    I also don’t remember so many scallops and similar mollusk type shells. There are huge piles of shells around that I don’t remember previously.


    • Welcome! We’ve had such a mild winter with mostly east winds so yes, the shelling has been different from previous years… as with each year. We are expecting some cooler temps and north winds this weekend so we are hoping that brings back in the whelks and murexes. Keep in mind, they are still there, they are just still in the water and havent made their way up to the beach yet since there hasnt been the wind and waves to wash them in. That’s what makes it a treasure hunt! You never know what you are going to find!
      Good luck this week and have fun.
      PS- I;m so happy you are enjoying the rain today too. We have been so dry, my yard is VERY happy it is getting a good drink. It was famished!

      • Thanks, Pam, for the reply!

        Just got back from some flashlight shelling up at Lighthouse. My daughter managed to find what I think is a mini wentletrap. It is beautiful. It’s amazing how different each beach can be and I’m anxious to check out each one. We also signed up for your cruise on Sunday, so we’re excited about that. :-)

  16. ❤ the extra little art work for a special holiday. It puts a smile on my face. Sanibel is such a happy place.

    Don’t know if you and your readers are aware but Sanibel is one of the happy seaside towns that you can vote for on the Coastal Living Magazine’s web site. The winning town will be highlighted in a future edition of the magazine. Voting continues through the end of February. This is the link to the voting site if you or any of your blog readers want more information or want to vote.

  17. Went out yesterday to Blind Pass. Between the rough surf and the rain I got soaked! What we shellers will do to find our treasures. I got some nice olives, a bittersweet and a comb bittersweet. Today I went out to Gulf side and found a purple shell about the size of a rose petal tellin but it was rounder. Haven’t found an ID yet. Leaving tomorrow and already missing the hunt for the Junonia. Some of my old favorites like the nutmeg, tulips and murexs were scarce. Hope everyone finds a lot of shells.

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