Archive for Seashells
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!
Naaaaa, it’s not the Jaws type shark so you don’t have to get out of the water for this one. Actually you want to get IN the water to see this type of creature… it’s a SHARK EYE (Neverita duplicata or as I always say “Shark’s Eye) seashell. Over the years of beach combing, we’ve been fortunate to have found these shells in so many different life stages to share with you so I thought this was the perfect week to sum up some of the cool things we’ve learned about the SHARKS EYE. Why not… it’s Shark Week!
When this MOLLUSK is still alive, its amazing to see the animal wrapped around it’s shell like we found in my post The No Place Like Home On Sanibel.
Here’s a video of a live SHARKS EYE in action I filmed for a post in 2011…
We only see the live SHARKS EYES at low tide scooting around in the sand but we seem to find a lot of empty SHARKS EYE shells washed up on Sanibel and Captiva especially after storms. We started to realize we don’t normally find the operculums. When Clark and I found another live one, we paid closer attention to the operculum to see exactly what it looked like so we could make sure not to miss one washed up on the beach. Why don’t we find them washed up on the beach more often? Dunno exactly but I’m assuming because they are so paper thin that they crumble easily when the animal dies and dries up. They also look like a small piece of broken PEN SHELL or a brown leaf so they are easy to overlook. Anyway, here’s what the OPERCULUM looks like when it’s attached to the healthy animal still in his shell…
Almost a year after I made this video, low and behold, Clark found our first SHARKS EYE OPERCULUM washed up on the beach.
We’ve also seen juvie live SHARKS EYES sliming around finding their way…
We’ve seen lots of other live babies scooting around at low tide on Sanibel along with teeny tiny eggs in the SHARK EYE EGG COLLARS.
This is what the EGG COLLAR looks like that the female SHARKS EYE lays. If you see a ring like this while at the beach that feels and looks sort of like freshly made hand crafted paper, take a closer look then place it back in the water if that’s where you found it. There are hundreds of itty bitty baby SHARKS EYES in there. Cool, huh?
What do SHARKS EYES eat? They are carnivores who love to make a meal out of bivalves but at times they are cannibals …. so one SHARKS EYE will eat another SHARKS EYE. (Hmmmm… that happens with the fish type Tiger Sharks too on occasion). You can tell another SHARKS EYE ate this SHARKS EYE in the next photo because it makes a beveled edge hole just like this. CLICK HERE to see that story.
There are two types of these MOON shells that look similar and are hard to distinguish between the two of them. See how much higher the spire is on the shell on the left? The one on the right is a Neverita duplicata (SHARK EYE) and the one on the left is a Neverita delessertiana ( FALSE SHARK EYE) I’ll do another post to show you the aperture side so you can see another difference but I usually just look for the “eye” that looks popped out.
Have you heard me talk about the “Paul Newman’s Eye”? Paul Newman was an Academy Award winning hunky actor known for his incredibly beautiful, brilliant blue eyes (I know, funny I thought I needed to explain who he was, right? But anybody under 30 might not know! LOL Oh wait y’all would know “Newman’s Own”- thats the guy. haha) Anyway, not all SHARKS EYES have a blue center but when they have that handsome brilliant blue “eye”… it’s called a PAUL NEWMAN’S EYE.
See how many different sizes and patterns they have. Gorgeous!
I had so many nice comments on my last post about the differences in SCALLOPS and that y’all really like my educational posts. Me too! I have oodles of photos and gobs of great information about shells AND beach bling that I’ve built up over the years, so I need to start combining them so we all can find the information a little easier. It’ll take a while, but it sure will be fun looking through so many older posts that have been buried by newer posts.
Dont worry, I’ll still post any shelling updates on the beaches but hopefully once a week I’ll pick a shell to research so we can see all the cool stuff we’ve learned over the years.
But speaking of shelling updates… I hope to see you tomorrow on our iLoveShelling cruise to Cayo Costa with Captiva Cruises at 9am- Come join us tomorrow! CLICK HERE for information and some new dates for iLoveShelling Shelling Adventures into February 2015 …