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

High West Winds Bring In Seashells and Sea Squirts To Sanibel Beaches

Posted by on Nov 2, 2014 in Sea Fan, Sea Pork, Sea Squirts, Sea Whip, Starfish | 28 comments

fighting conch sanibel november

These are the beautiful treasures we are used to seeing on Sanibel after strong winds from the Gulf Of Mexico.

gulfside city park beach shells november

Brittany (Georgia) and her dad Steve (Kentucky) found plenty of BANDED TULIPS, LIGHTNING WHELKS, LETTERED OLIVES and APPLE MUREXES at Gulfside City Park beach yesterday.

brittany atl steve ky shelling

The weird thing? Those SEA SQUIRTS are back again by the gazillions – just like in September at Blind Pass like I showed you in the post Sanibel Sea Squirt Spectacle.

sea squirts on sanibel gscp

But this time there were more shells mixed in with them. Look at those beautiful shells Clark found! He found that awesome ALPHABET CONE  within 10 minutes of wading in the water. He said all of these shells were found by blind scooping in the water with his trusty shelling backhoe.

found shells

We found unbelievably huge SEA PORK chunks all over the beach as well. SEA PORK is a TUNICATE as well so its in the same family as the SEA SQUIRTS.

orange sea pork sanibel november

There were quite a few baby STARFISH along the shore line as well. This little one was still alive so I put it back in the water for a chance of survival.

starfish on dosinia


Clark showed me another huge glob of SEA PORK. Wowza! They are so pretty when they are this bright orange. Im not sure if its true, but I read somewhere that if SEA PORK has a bright color like this to it, it is still alive (well, the zooids that live inside might be still alive). So this one went back in the water.

orange sea pork tunicate

I found plenty of PURPLE SEA WHIPS but I dint find any that had the ONE TOOTH SIMNIAS or WINGED OYSTERS on them.

purple sea whip

I’ve never seen so many different types of SPONGES washed up…

different colors of sponges sanibel


This was probably the biggest and most perfect DEAD MANS FINGER sponge Ive ever seen.

dead man fingers sponge sanibel

There were even other weird TUNICATES hiding within the SEA PORK and SPONGES. This one was a little more gooey but had bright orange lobes just like some of the other SEA PORK TUNICATES. After such high winds, its so interesting to see all of the different plants and creatures that get washed up on our beaches. It’s like our own private touch tank – I love it!

soft orange sanibel tunicate

The rewards are even greater when we uncover little beauties like these to admire.

november 2014 sanibel shells


Dont forget to register for our iLoveShelling 5 year Shellaversary! You could win 5 Nights Stay at Island Inn! CLICK HERE

iLoveShelling 5 shellaversary iis

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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

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Sanibel Low Tide Golden Sky

Posted by on Dec 27, 2011 in Coffee Bean Trivia, Lined Sea Star, low tide, Sanibel, Sea Pork, sunrise, True tulip, Tulip | 31 comments

Sanibel stoop yellow low tide

Walking out on the beach before sunrise is a special feeling. It has an extra special feeling when it is a very low tide of -1.0 AND it’s Christmas weekend.

collecting seashells flashlight sanibel

I thought my eyes hadn’t focused when I took this next photo of Clark. Whatever happened to it (too early in the morning?)… I’m so glad! It came out like a beautiful impressionist painting…

sunrise sheller watercolor

As the sun was rising near the Sanibel lighthouse, the sky turned golden…

Sanibel lighthouse sunrise yellow

We saw lots of live shells and washed up sea life like this poor LINED STARFISH that took a beating but wouldn’t give up despite losing all of its arms. It survived al of the elements and started growing each of its arms back. What a survivor!

starfish regrow arms

And you thought all SEA PORK was ugly, right? Well look again! This one looks just like an orange with its bright orange peel.

orange peel sea pork

My best find was this rich in color nice sized TRUE TULIP…

True tulip sanibel lighthouse

Clark had the find of the day with this WAY cool tiny shell I have never identified before. It’s a COFFEE BEAN TRIVIA

coffee bean trivia sanibel florida

coffee bean trivia aperture finger

Coffee bean trivia finger

We both tried to rub off those brown smudges…HA! Silly us, those brown spots are part of the shell! That would be like trying to rub off the spots off a JUNONIA or SCOTCH BONNET. Silly!

coffee bean trivia Niveria pediculus

coffee bean trivia Niveria pediculus aperture

Hmmmm…. whaddaya think? Look like coffee beans to you?

Sanibel coffee beans

Sanibel photographer sunrise


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Easter Colors Sanibel Style

Posted by on Apr 23, 2011 in Banded tulip, Dusky Cone, Easter, Holiday, Lace Murex, Murex, Sanibel, Sea Pork, Sunsets, Tulip | 26 comments

Easter Seashells

Everywhere I looked last night, I saw the colors of Easter… in seashells.

Easter Sanibel sky…..and in the sky

Easter coconuts…..and around the palm trees.

sister shell seekers

As we “hopped” around to the lighthouse beach filling up our Easter shell basket, I ran into sisters Carol and Gail finding goodies for their basket (errr, shell bag ;)).

Carol Sanibel shells

It was their last night on Sanibel and Carol finally found her first WENTLETRAP at the lighthouse beach. Yippee! Congrats!

Lace Murex in sand

I found sweet little LACE MUREX.

Dusky cone on sea pork

And I found this cute little DUSKY CONE on a piece of SEA PORK. It looks like an Easter egg broke and the yoke spilled everywhere, doesn’t it?

Aimee fighting conchs

Then we hopped on over to the beach off Middle Gulf Dr. and met Aimee (too shy to have her picture taken) where she found three of these FIGHTING CONCHS so I added the one furthest down in her palm. Look at how cool it is since it has a “freak” growth pattern.

banded tulip Sanibel shell

Even the BANDED TULIPS had a hint of pink for Easter.

paper fig seashell beach

Happy Easter! Good wishes for you all to shellebrate the day.

Pastel sky

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Sea Pork On The Beach Not Tar Balls

Posted by on Mar 14, 2011 in Sanibel, Sea Pork | 13 comments

Not tar oil balls

Sea Pork colors

These aren’t tar balls…. or donuts (Clark thought this photo looked like donuts- huh?). This is SEA PORK.

Sea Pork zooids

Sea Pork in the surf

There were lots of them on the beach this afternoon at the lighthouse with many different colors, shapes and thicknesses. I know I’ve shown you these before but I wanted to squash the rumor that I heard on the beach today that the black ones were tar balls. They are not tar balls.

orange sea pork

orange sea pork

The first time I saw SEA PORK, I thought it must be an organ from some kind of fish. Then I picked one up and it felt like a piece of rubber. To see more pictures and to get more info, take a look at more weird SEA PORK by clicking on… ” What’s This Stuff On The Beach?. I’ve got some pictures of some cute mini shells but I’ll have to show you tomorrow- oops! Where did the time go today?

Not tar balls

More weird sea pork

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Posted by on Nov 6, 2010 in Gulf Side City Beach (Algier's), Jingle, Middle Gulf Drive, Pen Shell, Sanibel, Sea Cucumber, Sea Pork, Sponge, Tube Worm | 10 comments

Beach sponges and stuff

Beach sponges and stuff

This is what I love to see on the beach! Lots of SEA SPONGES, PARCHMENT WORM CASES, SEA PORK, and PEN SHELLS. Why? Because it means there will be great shelling in the next few days!

Double Jingle Shell in pen shell

Double Jingle Shell in pen shell

See that JINGLE SHELL on this PEN SHELL? This jingle has both sides and is attached to the Pen shell….. and this isn’t even the most exciting part of this whole picture. I’ve never noticed a 2 sided jingle until MurexKen showed me. Yes! You read that correctly! Clark and I met MurexKen and MurexAlice (celebrating their 33rd wedding anniversary) on the beach and he showed this jingle to me.

Jingle shell on pen shell

MurexKen showing the Jingle shell

For those of you who don’t “know” MK, he is a seashell identification wizard and educates us on the scientific gastropod and bivalve names with his comments on my posts. That may have been the first time I’ve written “gastropod” and “bivalve” in the same sentence…. huh? He’s rubbing off!

Jingle shell side view of both sides

Paper-thin jingle shell side view of both sides (my fingers)

Clark had to break out the big shelling backhoe and found this TUBE WORM.

Parchment worm alive

Tube worm in Clark's backhoe

I thought this was a PARCHMENT WORM but I think it’s a different MARINE WORM.

Sea Cucumber

Sea Cucumber Sanibel

Clark also found this SEA CUCUMBER in his backhoe. This guy was still alive so we put him back after I snapped this photo. Lots of fun stuff off Middle Gulf Drive near Gulf Side City Park!

Seashell Collectors from San Francisco

Allen and Julianna (San Francisco)

Julianna has been collecting shells all over the world so she and Allen were happy to finally be in Sanibel.

Seashell collectors from Connecticut

Renee, Carol, Kathleen and Julie (Connecticut)

A great shelling Girls’ Trip! These gals take a girls trip the same time their husbands get together and do a guys trip at another destination. How fun for all of them!

Pen shell pile

Pen shell pile

OK- I’ve got to get to bed so I can be up for the early morning low tide. I hope to have lots of goodies to show you…. or maybe just one… I’m not giving up on that JUNONIA!

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