Archive for Horseshoe Crab


Shelling For The Holidays

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i Love Shelling 2012 calendar cover

 The holiday season is in full swing on Sanibel and Captiva islands so I have been a busy little elf! First of all,  I’d like to introduce the brand new i Love Shelling 2012 Calendar chock full of beautiful Sanibel photos and of course our beloved seashells. Now you can enjoy shelling 12 months of the year!

Here’s a sneak peak of January’s sunset photo and  CLICK HERE to see all 12 months and get one for yourself or as a gift for your shelling buddy.

Jan page calendar 2012

 We also hit the beaches this week to find a few shells and lots of Beach Bling. We found big old WHELK and CONCH pieces I love for yard shells along with a few SEA WHIPS, LONG SPINED SEA URCHINS, PURPLE SEA URCHINS, PEN SHELLS, CRAB SHELLS and this little BRITTLE STAR too.

Beach bling shells sea whip urchin

There were lots of DOSINIAS mixed in with hundreds of SAILORS EARS and TRANSVERSE ARKS

ark shells, dosinia, sailors ears

I even saw a few bones scattered along the beach. These are from bait in the crab traps in the gulf that get tossed around in rough surf.

Sanibel beach bone from crab trap

STONE CRABS are what lots of those traps are made to catch. When fishermen bring in the traps, they only take one claw from a STONE CRAB since the claws have the best meat. They throw the crab back without killing it because they know the crab can eat and defend  itself with only one claw until another claw grows back. Here is a STONE CRAB  claw lying on the beach that could have been a good appetizer if it had been freshly caught. Darn!

stone crab claw on beach

There were HORSESHOE CRABS too …

horseshoe crab beached


Blue Crab Sanibel


shark eye moon shell egg collar

 I met a wonderful local man Frank, who moved here in 1964 and still loves to walk the beaches and pick up shells especially with his daughter Connie. He told me he was 87 but he looks like he is no older than 72! Thank you Frank for your service for our country in WW2.

Connie, Frank Sanibel locals

Here are some of the mini shells Frank and Connie collected when I saw them along Middle Gulf Drive.

Connie Frank mini shells

 I also have photos of the yesterday’s oh-so-fun Captiva Holiday Village golf cart parade. Here’s one picture of our Junonia Jalopy but I’ll have to show you the rest tomorrow. It was a blast!  All of the other cart were so darn cute!

junonia jalopy i love shelling

Check out my new tee shirt! I wore my new “Oh CONE All Ye Faithful” Christmas design v-neck tee. I got so many compliments- so much fun ! And don’t forget to check out the 2012 i Love Shelling Calendar too….. and the new online i Love Shelling Shop….. Or the fun faves at Shelling Shop. You see? I’ve been a little Santa’s helper for the good seashell loving girls and boys. Ho Ho Ho!

Merry Xmas beach art

 Captiva Holiday Village Logo


Low Tide Shells At Sanibel Causeway

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Pointed Venus Seashell

I found a few shells on the low tide flats off the Sanibel causeway but the ROSEATE SPOONBILLS in yesterday’s post Roseate Spoonbills at Sanibel Causeway Video really stole the show. I still want to show you this small POINTED VENUS bivalve I found, especially after Christine Kieffer wanted to know what kind of shells were out there.

Pointed Venus seashell size

There were quite a few with both valves still attached that were laying on top of the muck but when I picked them up to take a photo, I unintentionally broke them apart. Oops! Here’s the interior of this one but all of them didn’t have this dark purple. Some were plain white.

Pointed Venus seashell interior

I didn’t find tons of shells but while I was filming the ROSEATES, my flip flops were getting sucked into the muck so I took them off to go barefoot and almost stepped on several little baby HORSESHOE CRABS. So as I had the camera pointed at the birds, I had to keep my eye on not stepping on the live critters. I even saw a few live MARGINELLAS…

Live marginellas

I videoed the HORSESHOE CRABS since I got tickled with them scooting along trying to make me slosh around them. You’ll notice just a few empty shells here and there but the live critters were the real finds of the day.

YouTube Preview Image


Sea Potato Heart Urchins

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Circle of Sanibel Beached Palm

Circle of Sanibel Beached Palm

Along with seashells and sealife, palm trees are even washing up on the beaches of Sanibel and Captiva.

Beached Palm Circle

Beached Palm Circle

I heard from blog friend Marcy that there were hundreds of SEA BISCUITS washing up on the east end of Sanibel. What? I’ve never seen SEA BISCUITS (they look like fat and puffy SAND DOLLARS) on this coast before, only in the upper Florida Keys. I ran down there and found these….

Potato or Heart Urchins

Potato or Heart Urchins

Tons of HEART URCHINS! This looks like a bunch of potatoes that just spilled out of a sack, right? That’s why they are also called SEA POTATOES. I’ve never seen so many HEART URCHINS washed up like this… or SEA URCHINS.

Sea Urchin piled on beach

Purple Sea Urchin piled on beach

Hundreds of Sea Urchins

Hundreds of Purple Sea Urchins

I took this next picture because there were so many unusual sea critters all together in one place.

Peanut worm, heart urchin, horseshoe crab

Beach critters

Let’s start with that huge STONE CRAB claw that’s laying on a PARCHMENT WORM, then clockwise is a PEANUT WORM (in the middle of the picture), a HEART URCHIN, HORSESHOE CRAB, a couple of SEA SPONGES, a PEN SHELL then the black blob is SEA PORK (not an oil tar ball!!!)

beachcombing best

Sanibel Beachcombing

Who knows what tomorrow will bring.

Sunset on seashells

Sunset on seashells


Mermaid’s Purse

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Lighthouse treasures

Lighthouse treasures

The lighthouse is continuing to bring in what looks like the bottom of the sea. Clark talked to one of our shelling buddies and they found nine ALPHABET CONES yesterday in the surf all along the east end of Sanibel. Holy smokes! Nine?? Wow!! That says it all. If you are in town, you need to get to the Lighthouse.

Skate Egg Case

Skate Egg Case

It’s like you are walking through a Discovery Channel episode on the beach anywhere on the East End. I used to see these SKATE EGG CASES on the beaches of Virginia Beach and the Carolinas after a storm when I was young. I like to call it a Mermaid’s Purse but some call it a Devil’s Purse or a Devil’s Pocketbook.

Don, Elaine, Dave and Betty (Nova Scotia)

Don, Elaine, Dave and Betty (Nova Scotia)

There are lots of URCHINS and HORSESHOE CRABS and some other fun treasures on West Gulf Drive but not the crazy shelling as at the Lighthouse. I’m still so happy that we stopped to check it out because we met these wonderful two couples from Nova Scotia that travel around North America in their RVs every five years.


Excellent Shelling!

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Today's favorite finds

Today's favorite finds

It’s a wonderful life on the beaches on Sanibel today. Hundreds of MUREXES, WHELKS, URCHINS, FIGHTING CONCHS, HORSESHOE CRABS, STARFISH, TULIPS  and PEN SHELLS. It’s a shmorgish borg (no, I don’t know how to spell that!) of shells. If you go to any beach in southwest Florida today or tomorrow, I don’t think you will be disappointed. Pictured in my favorites above that Clark and I found are clockwise, HORSE CONCH, SEA FAN, BABY’S EAR, smaller HORSE CONCH, PAPER FIG, PEAR WHELK, larger PEAR WHELK, WORM SHELL, COLORFUL MOON SNAIL and underneath is a cool piece of DRIFTWOOD. After I took this picture, a little while later (since I couldn’t get Clark off the beach) he found an ALPHABET CONE and a very cool WORM SHELL….it was still a purplish color so it hadn’t died long ago.


Tulip Eats King’s Crown

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A Tulip eating a King's Crown

On the out islands of Captiva, Clark found this huge live TULIP hanging so far out of it’s shell eating a live KING’S CROWN. You can see the powerfully pink inside of this mollusk sucking that KING’S CROWN right out of his shell. Amazing and so cool to see!  Most everything we found today (except some WORM SHELLS and a few LIGHTENING WHELKS) was alive, very healthy and eating good meals so, to us, it’s a great sign.

Clark’s sister Jan was here visiting from her log cabin in Montana with her boyfriend Jack. Jack couldn’t imagine why we wanted to go “shelling”….  but after he saw Clark pull that hungry TULIP  out of the water he kinda started to get it. Jan told him that shelling is something that she remembers doing with the family as far back as she can remember on the shores of New Jersey.

Jack and Jan (Montana) with Clark

A live King's Crown in shallow water

It’s worth mentioning again (November 27th post) about HORSESHOE CRABS. They are one of the few species that are older than dinosaurs. It’s amazing they are still alive and well living in our waters. We’ve seen them breeding before but I didn’t have my camera…..I’ll have a picture one day….I’m hoping!

A dried out baby Horseshoe Crab

Jack and Jan with Clark and the White Pelicans in the background