Archive for Seashells
My mind is blown by how many spectacsheller SPECTRAL BITTERSWEETS cover the beach on Jupiter Island, Florida.
This is a “Throw Back Thursday” since I never posted this trip my good friend Diane and I took from Sanibel over to the east coast of Florida in January to visit some other girlfriends- Girls Getaway! We couldn’t stay for very long so we packed in everything we could… including an hour on the beach for shelling. Of course.
We hit the mother load of SPECTRAL BITTERSWEETS at Blowing Rocks Preserve which has beautiful rock formations exposed from ocean currents depositing drifting sea shells and sand to form an underwater bar of COQUINA LIMESTONE about 125,000 years ago. This is the largest rock formation of the Anastasia Formation from St Augustine to southern Palm Beach County.
We mostly found the SPECTRAL BITTERSWEETS around the rocks but I did find a big ol’ LIONS PAW frag too (which I kept- heehee).
Along with the gorgeous view, the excellent company and a beautiful day, I found so many treasures on the beach to remember this quick girls getaway trip forever.
PS- Just so you can see the difference between the SPECTRAL BITTERSWEET (left- we’ve only found 2 on Sanibel that I can recall), the COMB BITTERSWEET (we find lots of them on Cayo Costa and Big Hickory) and the GIANT BITTERSWEET (on the right and one of my faves in SW Florida)… here’s the 3 BITTERSWEETS lined up together.
Join us for an iLoveShelling Shelling Adventure! For more info CLICK HERE
PS- And we visited a SEA TURTLE rehabilitation center too- so cool…
Have you ever wondered what are the most common seashells that wash up on Sanibel? We see them every day on the beach but all of those “little white CLAM shells” start to look the same and we tend to look over all of them in search for our favorites like the TULIPS and WHELKS.
If you have shelled the beaches of Southwest Florida several times, then you might not be surprised to hear…
The 6 most common shells found in beach drift on Sanibel, Florida are:
TRANSVERSE ARK (Anadara transversa), CROSS-BARRED VENUS (Chione elevata), PONDEROUS ARK (Noetia ponderosa), KITTENS PAW (Plicatula gibbosa), COQUINA (Donax variabilis) and the JINGLE (Anomia simplex).
They look pretty familiar don’t they?
The TRANSVERSE ARK (Anadara transversa) seashells are literally everywhere on our beaches and this is why it’s hard to find any other shell on the beach because we get so overwhelmed by looking at so many of these “little white clams shells”.
CROSS-BARRED VENUS (Chione elevata) shells always intrigue me because they have so many different interior colors.
PONDEROUS ARK (Noetia ponderosa) normally looks like just a bigger version of the TRANSVERSE ARK but when they are juveniles, it is really hard to tell the difference. Closely looking at the interior is the only way to decipher the juvie PONDEROUS from the adult TRANSVERSE.
KITTENS PAW (Plicatula gibbosa) – How can you walk on a beach in Sanibel and not smile when you see one of these?
COQUINA (Donax variabilis) shells have stolen the hearts of most of us the first time we walked on the beach and saw these sweet little butterfly shells scattered along the beach.
JINGLE (Anomia simplex) shells are like shimmering little beacons calling out from the sand- love them.
So how do I know that these are the most common shells on Sanibel? Well, because Susan Hewitt (our Susan H !) did a comprehensive but simple research study of the most abundance shell species while she was visiting Sanibel in 2011. She took loads of samples all along West Gulf Drive to separate and count each species. (This was not her sample bag in this next photo- she had buckets full)
I helped with her study by scooping up shells for her shell material research on the beach at Blind Pass Sanibel.
I also took samples at Sanibel’s Lighthouse beach for her.
After identifying, separating and counting every single shell collected, she got to work on writing her paper. To read her entire study paper, CLICK HERE
So now we know! It was so much fun being involved in her very cool project to answer the question asked about our beaches of Southwest Florida “What are the most common shells on Sanibel?”. Thanks Susan H for this awesome report!
The Gulf Of Mexico was clear, warm and bright turquoise at Cayo Costa this week for our iLoveShelling shelling adventure with Captiva Cruises. Just ask snorkelers Sue Ellen, Emma, Grace and Jeff from Louisiana.
But even before we got to the island, California girls Teri and Allana and the whole boat witnessed…
A DOLPHIN show on the way to Cayo Costa…
Up on the beach, Kurt and Beverly from Minnesota were amazed by the JINGLE SHELLS. Kurt said “This should be called Jingle Beach!”.
Beverly showed me her hand filled with JINGLES along with a fave little SEA URCHIN and colorful COCKLE.
So pretty … and it really is “JINGLE BEACH”. They are everywhere! I picked these up in prob less than a minute.
Mother Nature was really playing a hide and seek game with us since the shells were hidden more than usual. We really had to look high and low to find them but Dick and Yvonne from Indiana did a great job finding the larger ones.
Dick said he looked high and low around the tree roots in the water and found this spectacsheller WHELK then walked along the waters edge to find the rest of these beauties.
It was so nice to meet so many awesome shellers like Cutie Shellooties Diane and Joyce from Sarasota. Joyce found a beautiful WHELK (I showed in the first photo) about the same size as Dick’s WHELK – those LIGHTNING WHELKS must have been twins!
Most of the shells (like COCKLES and SUNRAY VENUS CLAMS) Lindy from South Carolina found were at the waters edge as well.
The “Tweezer family” Deb, Judith, Brennan and Ericca came on our cruise too!
Hmmmm…. those tweezers must turn into a magical wand – a Shell Scepter- because Judith was the only who found a BABYS EAR up high on the beach… oh wait… she found 3!
Carla from Pompano, Florida was as tickled as sea punch to find this piece of DRIFTWOOD to hang her orchids in. I couldn’t even get the whole thing in the photo but it looked exactly like a SWORDFISH with a long sharp snout and knot for an eye. Awesome BEACH BLING.
They were searching in the high tide wrack line and found SEA PEARLS, SEA URCHINS and the funniest sea toys- 2 SHARKS and a Bunny! I told them the story of the LEGO Beach Bling (CLICK HERE) but of course we should always pick up any of these toys even if we don’t keep for our “Kicks and Giggles Jar”.
This is Fintastic Beach Bling!
PS- Be safe everybunny.
Join me on an iLoveShelling Shelling Adventure. For dates and info CLICK HERE