Archive for Seashells
Have you ever found a BARNACLE flower? They are beautiful clusters of BARNACLES that cement themselves to shells or other hard surfaces in intertidal areas which wash up on our beaches as perfect little BARNACLE blossoms like this…
When I was young, I thought BARNACLES were shells like SLIPPER SHELLS that attach themselves to HORSE CONCHS and WHELKS or like LIMPETS attaching to rocks and boat dock pilings. But they aren’t MOLLUSKS at all… they are CRUSTACEANS. They are in the same family as CRABS and LOBSTERS. Funny, huh?
I’ve even seen BARNACLES attaching themselves to SEA TURTLES, CRABS and even MANATEES. They don’t feed on these creatures they just hitch a ride for a lifetime and filter feed. I’ve seen several live BARNACLE clusters wash up in the surf lately so I was able to get a smidge of video before I quickly put it back in the water. You’ll see how the BARNACLES cement themselves head down on this APPLE MUREX shell while their legs come out searching for water to feed.
I haven’t spent much time scouring the beaches of SW Florida in the last month since the shelling has been…. well… it’s been a little slow. Yes, there are nice shell lines at Lighthouse Beach and there are lots of the more common shells lining Gulfside City Park but we have come to a stand still in bringing anything home unless it is something very different than we already have collected- like these BARNACLE FLOWERS. Clark and I have neglected to clean, sort and organize our treasures we have collected since I have been blogging… So this has been the perfect time to organize. I found this cute little jar to keep them separated from our other BLING so now I can easily find them if we find more to add. I know this doesn’t sound like a big deal… but honestly, this is a huge step to get us organized! So yes, I’m making headway in the Shellaboratory.
Now that I’ve started on organizing, I’m obsessed with it and can’t wait until it’s completed so I can show you. So while I’ve been shelling periodically at Gulfside City Park finding BARNACLE flowers and sorting through our finds from the past, Clark told me our friend Jim found a JUNONIA. Yes. A JUNONIA! He found it in the surf at Gulfside City Park Monday around 7pm. Jim’s wife Sue is the real sheller of the family and has never found a whole JUNONIA- dang it! They said that night they had only found one OLIVE in an hour or so when Jim saw color and spots in the surf that he scooped up with his shelling backhoe. Congratshellations Jim!
PS- Now I know what you are thinking… “impossible that perfect JUNONIA washed up when there were no other bigger shells coming in!”. Since we know Jim and he swears he didn’t play a trick on Sue, both Clark and I believe he found it in the water at Gulfside City Park. The conditions aren’t “optimal” to bring in deep water shells like the JUNONIA right now (high or continual west winds) but Mother Nature has a way of always keeping us guessing.
Explore with me! Join us Friday SEPTEMBER 12 on our iLoveShelling Cruise to Cayo Costa- CLICK HERE!
Mother Nature must have known that cat lovers “knead” Sanibel Island so she made KITTENS PAWS plentiful on our beaches. Or maybe it’s the other way around? Kitty lovers love Sanibel since its the purrrfect place to curl up on the beach to enjoy so many KITTENS PAWS Mother Nature has given us. Either way, KITTENS PAWS may be one of the most common shells that “litter” the beaches on Sanibel but we think they are Meeeowvalous!
You might recall we adopted a new orange fur-baby last December who didn’t want to stick with the name “Rustie” that we chose for him for the first 2 months. So now after 8 months of kitty love and entertainment (and has the cutest little Kitten Paws), his permanent name is “PuppyCat”. He’s a kitty that thinks he’s a puppy! This Sanibel kitty wags his tail and he does tricks for treats every afternoon. Yup… he really puts on a show! Wanna see?
I found this odd looking “thing” on the beach a while ago so I brought it home to do some research on it since it was so dang interesting. Sometimes I’m like Shelly May Clampett bringing home parts of “critters” that get washed up on the beach. Hmmmm…. “Hey Paw, which critter ya think this here thang belonged to? Ya think maybe a moose antler? Or some kinda critter lost a hand?” Shelly May may have never thought it looked like an alien’s Jazz Hands but I do! LOL After searching lots of websites without success, I found the answer in my trusty Living Beaches of Georgia and the Carolinas book and learned it was a piece of a SEA TURTLE shell. It’s part of the lower shell called the HYPOPLASTRON.
Two weeks ago, my friend Susan from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba had found a bone similar to this one and asked me if I knew what it was. Yes! A SEA TURTLE BONE! I wanted to show her a photo of mine but I couldn’t find it. Omigosh, where is it? Oh lawd, my SHELLABORATORY still looks like a SHELLNADO hit it. Every time I start organizing our stacks of shells, something else comes along so it stays a crazy mess. Seriously, we look like the Clampetts (CLAMpetts heehee) on the Sanibel Shellbillies. Ack! So back to organizing…
Honestly, it’s like discovering fun things all over again going through these containers and boxes… and then…. I found my SEA TURTLE BONE! Yay! This time, I wanted to find a home for it so I wouldn’t “lose” it again. I’ve been saving glass containers for years to one day organize our shells and bling so I’m making good use of them now. Every SEA TURTLE BONE we find now will go into the large jar on the right. All other bones from bait, fish bones and bird bones will be separated in other jars so that it will be easy and fun to do another post to identify some of the things you might find on the beach other than shells.
… Like these MUREX shells I’m sorting out. I have 9 different species to separate so once I have a chance to photograph the individuals, I’ll have another “the difference between shells” post. I love those!
On a personal note without shells involved, it was a sad day to find out our wonderful palm tree that became an amazing bird condo for WOODPECKERS and SCREECH OWLS with have to be taken down. There’s no way to save it due to disease and it’s become unsafe with any high winds since it’s completely hollow now. We are so bummed! Clark, Dustie, PuppyCat and I have witnessed many nests, babies and families come and go in the tree from our side porch view so we’ve grown to love seeing them every day. We hope to find someone who will build a replacement for our same WOODPECKERS and OWLS for us before next spring so please let me know if you have suggestions. The Sanibel Shellbillies don’t want to lose our critters!