Pages Navigation Menu

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

Sanibel Seashell Babies

Posted by on Mar 15, 2014 in Egg Casing, Horse Conch, Horse Conch Egg case, Horse Conch Egg Casing, Lightning Whelk, Lightning Whelk Egg Chain, Paper Fig, Paper Fig Egg Case, Paper Fig Shell Egg Case, Pear Whelk, Pear Whelk Egg Case, Pear Whelk Egg Chain, Whelk | 18 comments

Lighting whelk egg chain on sanibel beach

On my beach walk at the Lighthouse Beach today, I saw many different lines of shells and oodles of Beach Bling in lots of different wrack lines to sift through. About half a mile away from the lighthouse on the gulf side, I found lots of fun minis in the high dried tidal pool areas (on the right of the next photo)…

lighthouse beach low tide

Yes, I love to show photos of minis… But… if you know me…. I love me some BEACH BLING! I was enamored with  all of the different egg casings for the different shells lined up along the shore

seashells and beach bling egg cases

LIGHTNING WHELK EGG CHAINS were everywhere. Female WHELKS produce these long EGG CHAINS which can get up to 33 inches long. There can be up to 145 capsules in each strand and each capsule contains around 45 eggs. That’s alot of babies, right? But that’s life in the wild- only the strong survive. Mother Nature knows what she’s doing

lightning whelk egg case chain

PEAR WHELK EGG CHAINS were a little bit harder to find but I saw about 6 of them.

pear whelk egg chain casing

What’s the difference between the LIGHTNING WHELK and the PEAR WHELK? Aha! Now you can see for yourself how much smaller and shorter the PEAR chain on the left is compared to the larger LIGHTNING WHELK on the right.

compare pear lightning whelk egg case chains

PAPER FIG EGG CASES (or the PAPER FIGS themselves) are never that easy to find but I did see about 3 different ones. They never get to be long chains like the WHELKS but instead they look like little corn cobs that are glued together at the sides.

paper fig egg case

I saw dozens of HORSE CONCH EGG CLUSTERS today too. Most all of the cases I saw washed up on the beach were empty inside each capsule. In each of the photos, I removed one of the capsules of the egg clusters so you could see what shape each of the capsules looked like.

horse conch egg casing

Here is a HORSE CONCH EGG CASING, PEAR WHELK EGG CHAIN and a LIGHTNING WHELK EGG CHAIN all together on the beach. I saw other casings but I’ll have to save those for another day…. because….

mollusk egg casings found on sanibel island florida

Want to walk the beach with me to see what it looked like when I found all of these EGG CASINGS? I made a video! I’ve gotten some requests lately from peeps up north “jonesin”  for my beach videos. LOL Love it! I don’t want to let you down! Enjoy!

shelling adventures trips by pam

Read More

On the Beach With Shell Eggs And Ham, Pam-I-Am

Posted by on Feb 16, 2014 in Banded Tulip Egg Case, Disk Dosinia, Egg Casing, Elegant Dosinia, Lightning Whelk Egg Chain, Long-Spined Urchin, Millipede Starfish, Paper Fig Egg Case, Pear Whelk Egg Case, Pig's Foot, Sea Pork, True Tulip Egg Case, Tulip Egg Case, whelk egg casing | 29 comments

crab trap and buoy on sanibel beach

After strong west winds last week, surely we would get some interesting shells and Beach Bling washing up on our shores of Sanibel and Captiva. Yep, lots of Beach Bling lined the beach at Gulfside City Park.

sanibel beach after storm winds

The winds were so strong, the strength of the waves pushed oodles of crab traps with buoys onto the beach. When traps get tossed around by the power of the water, their doors get jostled then spill out the bait for the crabs.

crab traps wash up n sanibel beach

So of course, the bait gets washed up on the beach too. Pigs Feet! Yes, they use PIGS FEET to attract STONE CRABS and BLUE CRABS so that’s why you may have seen odd bones washed up on the beach- most of the time its from crab traps. I actually think this one may be a HOGS FOOT. Its weird and humongo! On the beach, I do not like pigs feet or ham, Pam I am.

pig hog foot on sanibel beach

But don’t let this PIGS FOOT be confused with this SEA PORK. More ham, Pam I am?

pen shell and yellow sea pork

I also found lots of different MOLLUSK EGG CASINGS too like this LIGHTNING WHELK EGG CHAIN…

lightning whelk egg chain gscp sanibel

I saw there were little baby shells in their fluid still sealed in each of the disks so I put it back in the water. I’m sure they washed back up on the beach since the water was still pretty rough but … who knows. Maybe they got stuck on something out there in the water and were able to hatch. Dunno, but why not try?

baby lightning whelks in egg chain

This one is an EGG CASE to a PAPER FIG…

paper fig egg case on pen shell


banded tulip egg case on penn shell

This beauty is a TRUE TULIP EGG CASE…

true tulip egg case sanibel florida

When Clark and I looked a little closer, we saw there were several other EGG CASES that were laid on some of the TRUE TULIP EGG CAPSULES.

true tulip egg case with other mollusk eggs

There were lots of MILLIPEDE STARFISH (and PEN SHELLS)…

millipede starfish and pen shell

This was a very cool LONG SPINED SEA URCHIN…

long spined sea urchin sanibel florida

There were hundreds of DOSINIAS that were washed up on the beach as well. I was really thrilled to find both types of our local DOSINIAS scattered along the wrack lines. The top one is the very common DISK DOSINIA and the bottom one is the ELEGANT DOSINIA. I haven’t had time to photograph them but I hope to show the detail much better on my next post.

disk dosing top elegant dosing bottom

We searched Blind Pass (both sides) and Lighthouse but didn’t find huge piles of shells this weekend after the high winds but loved finding all of this cool bling at Gulfside City Park. I’m still hoping the shell piles will come rolling in soon but the birds are happy as clams with so much gourmet food at their beaks.

The birds do like stone crab and clams.

gull eating crab

They like them here and there. They like them everywhere.

bird eating stone crab sanibel

They do so like stone crabs and clams. Go Birds. Go Birds. Pam-I-am.

bird on beach with crab

Read More

Holiday Treasures At Low Tide Sanibel

Posted by on Dec 16, 2013 in Blind Pass, Captiva, Lace Murex, Paper Fig, Shark's Eye | 27 comments

showing sanibel shells

With a full moon and very low tide at sunrise this morning, I couldn’t resist strapping on my head lamp to search for shells on the sand bars at Blind Pass Sanibel at 6:30 am this morning. I wasn’t the only one who couldn’t resist.

shelling with head lamp

Chikee and Maria from New Jersey were happy to they got out there early to find some of their favorite shells. That beautiful SHARKS EYE, WORMIE and the WHELKS in the first photo were Maria’s favorites.

chikee maria new jersey shelling sanibel

Look at all of the shells Sue found! The Sanibel Six with an ALPHABET CONE, KINGS CROWN CONCH, LACE MUREXES, TRUE TULIP, OLIVES and LIGHTNING WHELKS… and so many more.

shells found at dawn blind pass sanibel

 Sue (on the right) was with her friends Mary and Alissa who came all the way from California to Sanibel to shellebrate Sue’s birthday. Best birthday ever.

mary alissa sue calif shelling sanibel

Don and Vickie came down to Sanibel from Siesta Key, Florida to do some shelling to shellebrate too. You guessed it! It was Don’s birthday too. It was a birthday party on the sand bar!

don vicki siesta shelling visit sanibel

Phil and Kathy had some to shellebrate as well. Phil’s perfect ALPHABET CONE!

phil kathy mass cone shelling sanibel

Ruth knew she had a treasure when she found a plump and perfect PAPER FIG…

paper fig olive whelk murex sanibel

Even though it was in the low 60s this morning, Nancy, Ruth and Jim were still very happy to be in shorts instead of parkas in Maryland.

nancy ruth jim maryland visits sanibel florida

It was such a lovely morning!

UPDATE 12-17-13- disregard this next statement (starting with “FYI”). We just got news that the Sanibel side of blind pass will remain open.
But…. FYI- I just got word this afternoon that Blind Pass Sanibel parking lot might be closing soon for a few weeks. The beach renourishment project will be moving to the Sanibel side of Blind Pass soon to fill in some of the beach that has been eroded since Hurricane Sandy. “Both parking lots adjacent to Blind Pass will now likely be used by construction to finish beach project. So, expect no parking lot for next two weeks.” Ugh… This is the bad news I heard today from Mike of the Captiva Erosion Prevention District. Thanks for the update, Mike! For any other updates, go to

shelling at dawn

I’ve been asked countless times if I think shelling is best at day break. I always respond saying “the best time to shell is… any chance you can get to the beach”. But when the tide is really low like every day predicted this week (Tide Chart CLICK HERE), it’s a blast to get out in the morning with all of the other hard core shellers…. on any beach in Southwest Florida. It was so worth it to find these favorites of mine

pams favorite shells december 16

Join me on a Shelling Adventure!

shelling adventures trips by pam


Read More

Florida Seashells 2013

Posted by on May 5, 2013 in Black-bellied Plover, Dusky Cone, Paper Fig, Shark's Eye | 13 comments

florida seashells 2013 shelling

i Love Florida! Whoever made this wonderful seashell sign made out of ARKS, must love it too because after a couple of days of rain (to water the plants) and continued wind this week, it has turned into spectacular weather on the beach with shells starting to roll in on the east end of Sanibel near Lighthouse Beach.

shells inside pink bucket

You know I love peeking in shell buckets so I figure you do too, right? Marybeth (from RI… but too shy for the camera) had such a beautiful collection of mini shells in her pink bucket separated by her larger shells in her bigger blue bucket. I think my faves would be the DUSKY CONE and WENTLETRAP in the pink bucket and the NUTMEG in the blue bucket.

seashells inside shell buckets

Ronetta from Indiana forgot to bring her shell bucket along on her beach walk so she cradled all of her faves in the palm of her hand…

ronetta sanibel beach shells

Since she didn’t have much room, she collected some mighty fine primo shells. I know you spotted that candy but I hope you can see how gorgeous that SHARKS EYE is with the bright blue center. We call that a “Paul Newman’s Eye”!

nice shells sanibel island florida

I also met Julie with her mom Pat from St Louis.

Julie Pat St Louis shelling sanibel

They had only been on the beach 5 minutes when Julie found this perfect PAPER FIG with such fabulous color…

perfect paper fig sanibel island florida

I found a few goodies too but I stopped in my tracks to see this BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER

black-bellied plover sw florida

I’m still trying to learn the different breeding plumage since most bird species change colors with their breeding seasons.

florida Black bellied plover eating

This BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER is dressed in its “Adult Breeding” plumage with the black belly. I’m not even sure I would recognize this bird in “Adult Non-Breeding” plumage since it doesnt even have the black belly. Really… if you can believe it… there is a BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER without a black belly. Hmmm…. shell identification is so much easier!

Black-bellied Plover Sanibel Florida

You can see where we found most of the best shells and the birds by this next photo. You can see the lighthouse way in the background at the furthest point which is about a 15 minute walk.

seashells on sanibel island beach

Remember I showed a picture of the erosion at Tarpon Rd Beach Access on my last post ? Well it is already built back up as of yesterday evening… and there are shells on the beach! Yep, it can happen that fast, folks. AND…. There should be even more shells showing up soon because right now as I write this Sunday morning, we have experiencing 20mph north west winds. That should push more shells on our shores any day now!

Tarpon Beach Access Sanibel

Read More

Paper Valentines from Sanibel

Posted by on Feb 14, 2012 in Beach Hearts, Beach Holiday, Live Atlantic Fig, Paper Fig, Paper Fig Egg Case, Valentines Day- Shellentines Day | 27 comments

paper fig valentine

I love paper Valentines. Finding a PAPER FIG Valentine on the beach is even better!  Okay, I didn’t find these laying on the beach just like this (especially with a red background- heehee) but I found some very cool Beach Bling that I could not identify…

Atlantic fig snail egg case

It looked like the gulf had a picnic and the left over corn cobs washed up on the beach. I saw them littered from Middle Gulf Drive to Blind Pass the last two days. They may look like corn cobs but I knew they were mollusk egg cases.

Ficus communis egg case casing on sanibel florida

They also look like WHELK egg casing coils that have been chopped every couple of inches. So which shell laid these eggs?

paper fig egg case pen shell

Dr Jose Leal of the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum identified these as ATLANTIC FIG SNAIL eggs. Oh Cool! PAPER FIGS! Thanks Dr. Leal!

Paper Fig seashells

I loooove to notice different things that wash up on the beaches…. so this tickled me to learn what one more mollusk egg casing looked like.

egg cases on cockle

But wait! While I was inspecting one of the PAPER FIG EGG CASES, I saw something else in between the individual egg “disks”…. more eggs! Another mollusk laid eggs on the FIG egg case. Wow!

snail egg case on atlantic paper fig egg casing

The PAPER FIG egg casings were very sandy but you can see the orangish rows containing little babies from another shell. I have no idea which shell laid these eggs but if you know, please share!

paper fig mollusk eggs

There were so many empty FIG shells lying on the beach too. Annette S. had commented on my last post about how many she found as well. There were oodles of them!

Atlantic paper fig

I had to add this photo again of a live PAPER FIG from a previous post

live paper fig surrounded by mollusk

This photo fascinates me to see how far this guy is out of the shell…

live paper fig out of aperture

This is the mollusk peaking out of the aperture. And notice, these guys don’t have OPERCULUMS

Live Paper Fig

The shells are so fragile, most often they are found broken on the beach but when they are empty and whole, Clark can’t help but pick them up. This is one of his fave shells to collect so here’s a PAPER FIG Valentine for my honey and all of you other PAPER FIG lovers out there!

Atlantic fig shells Sanibel

paper fig valentine


Read More

Pretty Perfect Lion’s Paw

Posted by on Jan 4, 2012 in Bones, Cowrie, Deer Cowrie, Lightning Whelk, Lion's Paw, Paper Fig, Sanibel | 43 comments

Lions paw donnie

Donnie wasn’t kidding when he commented “Bring it!” for the wanna-be shelling competition in my January 1st post. He went right out to Blind Pass Captiva and scooped up his first perfect little LION’S PAW this morning! Score! You win today Donnie- Congrats!

Blind Pass shells rough water

He must have snagged all the ALPHIES too because when I got there, I didn’t see a single piece of one in the whole big shell pile. He did miss this very cool piece of a DEER COWRIE though…

deer cowrie piece bp jan

Christy (TN) found some beautiful WHELKS and started to fill her bag with other goodies too…

christy memphis shells captiva

 I saw lots of the Sanibel Six (minus the CONE) but mostly I loved this delicate FIG laying right on top of the pile untouched…

fig shell BP captiva jan

 I always love to see people sharing their treasures. I caught Carolyn and Les (Fort Myers) admiring the shells together they just found.

showing shell collection

I walked over to the Sanibel side to find hundreds of dead MULLET fish laying on the beach. Ugh. A casualty of Red Tide. Yuck.

dead fish red tide sanibel

 I’ve heard that red tide has been really bad around the Sanibel lighthouse so I’ve stayed clear of the east end beaches the last week. I get that irritating cough when I breath it so it’s not worth it to me any more (I used to tough it out since “they” say it can’t hurt you). But it looks like it’s hit Captiva now too but I didn’t feel that tickle in my chest- whew.

dead mullet red tide sanibel

 I think this may be why Clark and I have found those big shells lately too. Could be from the red tide….. but don’t quote me on that. I’m only speculating since it’s not every day you find 3 (!) huuuuge shells like that in one day. I also found this cool skull…

iLoveShelling fish but looks like a bird skull

 When I found this, I thought it looked so cool and looked like a bird skull. Like an OSPREY or something but it’s not. It is some sort of fish.

iLoveShelling bird fish skull front

Anybody know what kind of fish skull this is? It sort of has that CRUCIFIX SHELL look about it but definitely not the same.

bird fish skull bottom

 Any way, there are lots of shells still coming in from this windy cold front and hopefully the red tide will go away in the next few days so I can enjoy the beach like I did with my girlfriends Jane, Sandy and Mary…

jane sandy mary Sanibel shellers

janes olive lions paw piece alphabet


Read More

Pin It on Pinterest