Archive for Atlantic Semele

Dec
22

Sorting Seashells For The Holidays

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Susan H on shell pile

I first met Susan (NY) on this gigantic shell pile a couple of weeks ago about a mile east of Bowman’s Beach. If you have ever read some of the comments here, you might recognize the commenter “Susan H”. That’s her! She loves everything about seashells. She loves to collect, study, research, admire and talk about shells. IMHO (in my humble opinion) she’s a Seashell Brainiac. She even donates her time to share her knowledge of gastropods and bivalves to make Wikipedia what it is now. She’s a Wikipedian with over 60,000 edits! The amazing thing was, is that she offered to sort and organize my bivalves. I thought to myself “Oh, Honey, you have no idea what you just got yourself into!”

sorting seashells identification

You might know that I’ve only recently acquired the taste for collecting bivalves other than ANGEL WINGS and a select few. So just this past year when I saw a bivalve that I never noticed before, I’d pick it up and throw it in the “bivalve jar” and lump them all together. Before I knew it, I had lots of those jars but no time to sort them or to find out what I had. Susan persuaded me to bring those jars over to her cottage at Blue Dolphin to sort and identify anything I had questions about.

Identifying seashells

She told me to bring paper, scissors, ziplock bags and a pencil to organize and ID. She cut the paper in little squares then got to work quickly sorting. She also had told me to bring my new bivalve book (her fave too) Seashells of Southern Florida by Paula Mikkelsen & Rudiger Bieler that I showed you in yesterday’s post - the gift from MurexKen and MurexAlice!.

Seashells of Southern Florida book

Now this is where the story gets really COOL….  Susan told me that she has been a volunteer at the American Museum of Natural History in New York since 2000. During the time when Paula Mikkelsen (one of the authors of my new bivalve book) was still at the Museum, she worked directly for her for about 9 months, and sorted shells for her. She met Rudiger (the other author) on his visits to the Museum working with Paula. Susan is actually listed (with her last name misspelled as “Hewett” instead of “Hewitt”) in the acknowledgements section of that book on page 410. To me, that’s so cool- I was having a ball!!!

pam susan h identify bivalve seashells

Most of the bivalves I had in the jars were ROUGH SCALLOPS, CALICO SCALLOPS, BUTTERCUP LUCINES, COMMON JINGLES and the other shells you saw in the second photo. I was so happy when I heard her voice get a little excited when she found something other than the common shells. “Oh look, here’s a BEAUTIFUL CRASSATELLA!”

Beautiful Crassatella Eucrassatella speciosa

Beautiful Crassatella Eucrassatella speciosa

beautiful crassatella interior

beautiful crassatella interior

She didn’t mind at all this BROAD PAPER COCKLE had a chip in it. She was still excited to see it.

Broad Paper Cockle

Broad Paper Cockle

Broad Paper Cockle interior

Broad Paper Cockle interior

I don’t pick up many broken shells any more but when I find shells that I don’t normally see on the beaches of Sanibel, I’m so glad that now I pick them up. This is a CANCELLATE SEMELE

Cancellate Semele

Cancellate Semele

cancellate semele interior

cancellate semele interior

This one isn’t very attractive but now I know it’s an ATLANTIC SEMELE

Atlantic semele exterior interior

Atlantic semele exterior interior

Clark always laughs at me when I pick up a shell like this CHALKY BUTTERCUP LUCINE. It’s just big and white and not very pretty but I thought it looked like a gigantic BUTTERCUP that lost its yellow inside. I was sort of right…it’s the same family! Susan said the same thing “Oh look! A CHALKY BUTTERCUP! I found one of these the other day too!”. LOL Really? Someone else who gets excited about a CHALKY BUTTERCUP?

Chalky Buttercup Lucine

Chalky Buttercup Lucine

I have more identifications to show you but I have to wait until after Christmas. I couldn’t wait to share some it and to introduce you to Susan. It was like another fabulous Christmas present to have a “pro” like her help sort and identify my jumbled shells while we laughed and giggled. Thank you so much Susan!!

Happy, Happy Holidays to all of you!!

Chalky Buttercup Lucine interior

Chalky Buttercup Lucine interior

PS- I can’t tell you how many times I have linked a post to WIKIPEDIA to provide more information about a  certain subject. I looked back on several of them, and sure enough, Susan had done some editing on the information (her user name is Invertzoo).  After learning how many volunteers it takes to make that sight possible, I made a donation. If you ever find Wikipedia useful and want to make a donation or add content that you know about,  you can click on this logo…

wiki logo