Archive for Saw-Tooth Pen Shell
SEA URCHINS! I haven’t seen SEA URCHINS washed up on our shores in quite a while… much less cutie itty bitty ones like this.
I found dried tiny ones with spines as well…
Normally if SEA URCHINS still have their spines in tact I would assume they were still alive and put them back in the water. But I found these in the highest wrack line at Lighthouse Beach. They had been cast on shore by those rough waves from the high winds last week with the high tide and got caught in the “sea weeds” then left for days to dry out. They look like the gumballs that the Sweetgum trees drop in the winter up north, dont they? LOL
I normally don’t get so excited to collect PEN SHELLS (since we see them so often on our beaches) but I rarely see perfectly intact baby STIFF PEN SHELLS (on the left of my hand) and SAW TOOTH PENS SHELLS especially with no BARNACLES or SLIPPER SHELLS attached to them. They are so cute!
See how thick this wrack line was? Some people in other parts of the world might think this was an ugly site on a beach… but not me and most beach combers. This is a haven for shells and BEACH BLING for beach combers and for wildlife as well. Thick wrack lines like this packed with all sort of vegetation and other sealife are so important for our beach ecosystem. They provide food for birds and other wildlife as well as providing a layer to trap sand for less erosion. They become incubators for dunes!
But… Just to make sure this seaweed was a natural occurrence without being harmful, I asked my friend and director of the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) Dr. Eric Milbrandt if he knew what types of matter had washed ashore. Of course he did! He said “There were 8 species from collections at Moonshadows beach and the Lighthouse beach. Many of the specimens had intact holdfasts and given the recent > 1 m wave heights, were likely attached and cast on shore. Many of these species are found at nearshore hardbottom areas (the same areas that produce many of the mollusc shells) whose abundance peaks in Nov.” He also reported that most of these species of seaweed (macroalgae) were common on all coasts. Thank you Dr. Milbrandt!
Along with the PEN SHELLS and SEA URCHINS tucked away in all that seaweed, Clark and I found hundreds of double DOSINIAS…
And a very cool completely intact dried (and non-stinky!) SPIDER CRAB…
Clark found a double SAILORS EAR (CHANNELED DUCK CLAM) without any cracks. It’s funny, we rarely find them on the beach with both sides intact because they are just so dang delicate…
I haven’t gotten a good dose of combing through cool BEACH BLING in a while so I was in haaaawg heaven. There were oodles of little micro shells, SEA WHIPS and other goodies so I could (and did) walk for miles and miles getting lost in discovering the fascinating gifts that Mother Nature leaves us on our beaches.
The weather conditions and last night’s full moon caused an extreme high tide that washed up lots of live creatures on the beach. Unfortunately for them, an extreme low tide left them with no where to hide. Fortunately for Cory from Cape Coral (and me), he got to see a tiny live SAND DOLLAR with a few mature beauties as well as several live STARFISH at the Sanibel Lighthouse Beach then he put them back in the water.
I saw several live TRUE TULIPS hiding inside a STIFF PEN SHELL.
I did spot one empty bright orange TRUE TULIP hiding under one of those PEN SHELLS. A keeper! Yippee!
Along with a WORMIE and CHESTNUT TURBAN…
Caroline and Jennifer (Atlanta) are long time “wentlers” so they knew just where to look to find dozens of WENTLETRAPS.
Jennifer found all of these WENTLETRAPS within an hour and a half…
Her daughter Caroline has the WENTLE-eye too …and the KING’S CROWN-eye and the BABY’S EAR-eye!
Guess who I met! …. Sanibelle! If you read a lot of my post comments, you might have read one of Sanibelle’s comments. She rocks! …well she “shells” …but you know what I mean. It was a pleasure to me you, Sanibelle! This is miss cutie Sanibelle…
Since there were so many live creatures to ooooh and ahhhh at, it was hard to find many big empty shells besides PEN SHELLS. I talk about PEN SHELLS so often but I rarely ever show them so I found good example of both types that we find here. The one on the left is a STIFF PEN SHELL and the one on the right is a SAW-TOOTH PEN SHELL.
He also found this little army man. I think he’ll make good company for my LEGO guy I found in February.
Since there are so many live shells on the beaches right now, I just want to make sure you know that you can’t take any live shells, SAND DOLLARS, STARFISH and such. You should gently put it back where you found it or in deeper waters. Lots of people don’t know how to tell if a sand dollar is alive or not. Here’s the deal… if a SAND DOLLAR is any where near the water and is brownish and looks a little “furry”, that means it is happy and healthy so we need to let it live a long time …..so it can breed! This is what live SAND DOLLARS look like. See that “fur”? Those are his feet AND how he breathes. Cool, huh?
This was the moon rise last night over Fort Myers Beach. I did not change or colorize this photo! It was really that big and colorful! I guess that’s why all the living creatures were stirring yesterday.
There should be more goodies washing in so for now…. Gone Shelling.