Have you ever found a BARNACLE flower? They are beautiful clusters of BARNACLES that cement themselves to shells or other hard surfaces in intertidal areas which wash up on our beaches as perfect little BARNACLE blossoms like this…
When I was young, I thought BARNACLES were shells like SLIPPER SHELLS that attach themselves to HORSE CONCHS and WHELKS or like LIMPETS attaching to rocks and boat dock pilings. But they aren’t MOLLUSKS at all… they are CRUSTACEANS. They are in the same family as CRABS and LOBSTERS. Funny, huh?
I’ve even seen BARNACLES attaching themselves to SEA TURTLES, CRABS and even MANATEES. They don’t feed on these creatures they just hitch a ride for a lifetime and filter feed. I’ve seen several live BARNACLE clusters wash up in the surf lately so I was able to get a smidge of video before I quickly put it back in the water. You’ll see how the BARNACLES cement themselves head down on this APPLE MUREX shell while their legs come out searching for water to feed.
I haven’t spent much time scouring the beaches of SW Florida in the last month since the shelling has been…. well… it’s been a little slow. Yes, there are nice shell lines at Lighthouse Beach and there are lots of the more common shells lining Gulfside City Park but we have come to a stand still in bringing anything home unless it is something very different than we already have collected- like these BARNACLE FLOWERS. Clark and I have neglected to clean, sort and organize our treasures we have collected since I have been blogging… So this has been the perfect time to organize. I found this cute little jar to keep them separated from our other BLING so now I can easily find them if we find more to add. I know this doesn’t sound like a big deal… but honestly, this is a huge step to get us organized! So yes, I’m making headway in the Shellaboratory.
Now that I’ve started on organizing, I’m obsessed with it and can’t wait until it’s completed so I can show you. So while I’ve been shelling periodically at Gulfside City Park finding BARNACLE flowers and sorting through our finds from the past, Clark told me our friend Jim found a JUNONIA. Yes. A JUNONIA! He found it in the surf at Gulfside City Park Monday around 7pm. Jim’s wife Sue is the real sheller of the family and has never found a whole JUNONIA- dang it! They said that night they had only found one OLIVE in an hour or so when Jim saw color and spots in the surf that he scooped up with his shelling backhoe. Congratshellations Jim!
PS- Now I know what you are thinking… “impossible that perfect JUNONIA washed up when there were no other bigger shells coming in!”. Since we know Jim and he swears he didn’t play a trick on Sue, both Clark and I believe he found it in the water at Gulfside City Park. The conditions aren’t “optimal” to bring in deep water shells like the JUNONIA right now (high or continual west winds) but Mother Nature has a way of always keeping us guessing.
Explore with me! Join us Friday SEPTEMBER 12 on our iLoveShelling Cruise to Cayo Costa- CLICK HERE!