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

True Or False Angel Wings

Posted by on Jul 29, 2013 in Angel Wing, Atlantic Mud Piddock, False Angel Wing, Striate Piddock | 19 comments

Cyrtopleura costata Angel Wing mesoplax

It’s a special day for any beach comber to walk along the shore to uncover an ANGEL WING in the sand just waiting to be found. It’s feels like a sign of good things to come. In Southwest Florida, it’s very unlikely to find an ANGEL WING with both sides still together with that little connector piece called a MESOPLAX (an accessory plate connecting the two valves) still intact but I’ve been lucky enough to find this one.

Cyrtopleura costata Angel Wing interior

It’s been on my mind to show you more about these special shells since I showed you this photo of Brenda’s ANGEL WINGS she found 2 weeks ago at Bunche Beach, remember?

brenda's angel wings

She also found this cool little STRIATE PIDDOCK

brenda striate piddock sanibel shell

After seeing this unusual shell, I knew I wanted to find out more about the ANGEL WING family (Pholadidae -if your are the scientific type) and thought you might be interested too…yes, it’s the same family as the ANGEL WING! It has a MESOPLAX as well and she found them with it still in place…

Martesia striata Striate piddock mesoplax

Martesia striata Striate piddock mesoplax interior

Here are some of my ANGEL WING type shells together so you can see the difference between all of them. The ANGEL WING on the left is 4 inches. The STRIATE PIDDOCK is an inch and 1/4, the FALSE ANGEL WING is about the same size (1 and 1/4 inches). Then the MUD PIDDOCK is an inch and 3/4.

Similar Angel Wing shell difference

We have found these MUD PIDDOCKS on North Captiva and Cayo Costa but I dont think I’ve ever found a pair together so I only have the one side to show you. They look similar to an ANGEL WING but with a pointy top. BTW- Steve R reminded that these are commonly called FALLEN ANGEL WINGS. Don’t you wonder how “they” came up with “Fallen”? Is it because it looks like when this Angel Wing fell from the sky, it got smushed on the top corner? Hmmmmm. However it got it’s name, I like that much better than calling it a MUD PIDDOCK… so from now on, I’m referring to these with the much cuter name of “FALLEN ANGEL WING”.

Barnea truncata mud piddock fallen angel wing

Barnea truncata atlantic mud piddock fallen angel wing

Believe it or not, this next one is really called the  FALSE ANGEL WING because it’s more closely related to the SUNRAY VENUS than the “true” ANGEL WING. Huh? This looks way more like the ‘TRUE’ ANGEL WING then that STRIATE PIDDOCK does! Oh well, even though its “FALSE” it’s still an ANGEL WING to me. Im sure you’ve seen these in posts after we go to Cayo Costa on our iLoveShelling Adventures. We have lots of them there!

Petricolaria pholadiformis false angel wing

Notice the interior of FALSE wings are very different from the TRUE wings…

Petricolaria pholadiformis false angel wing interiorPetricolaria pholadiformis false angel wing interior

So now you can see the difference between the ANGEL WING, FALLEN ANGEL WING and the FALSE ANGEL WING and the STRIATE PIDDOCK. Maybe we should just call the last one (striate piddock) a “WOOD WING” since they bore into wood? I vote for that! Anyway, arent they all beautiful in their own way? Okay, I have to confess- I’ve seen ANGEL WING written as one word and also two words… I’m going with 2 words- like it’s an Angel’s wing! Oh yeah, I’ve also seen it written “ANGLE” WING too heehee. Anyway, here are all four of them again to send you good luck as well.

Similar Angel Wing shell difference interior

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Mud Piddocks To Dragonflies And Rainbows

Posted by on Aug 1, 2011 in Atlantic Mud Piddock, Cerith | 12 comments

Atlantic Mud Piddock

Atlantic Mud Piddock

We used to find lots of ATLANTIC MUD PIDDOCKS on the flats of North Captiva and Cayo Costa when we boated there regularly but rarely on Sanibel. That’s why I was tickled to find one on the Sanibel Lighthouse beach this weekend. They can get up to 2.75 inches but this one is only 1  1/2 inches.

Atlantic Mud Piddock Aperture

Atlantic Mud Piddock Aperture

This was is a little broken (on the right tip you can see it’s a little jagged) but I’ve always loved these since they are like a special ANGELWING and in the same family… but with “Spock” ears….. hmmmm. both have that …..”ock” too.

Mud piddock on beach

 It was a beautiful evening on the beach with our friends Joe and Manuela.

Joe Manuela

Those cute little Zippy Minis (remember the video? ha!) with the HERMIT CRABS were in full force so they were mesmerized by them…..

Sanibel Crabbing

Joe is not only a really good friend of Clark’s, he’s Clark’s business partner at Rambo & Ginsberg Realty so he has to hear about all those “schmanonia” stories (albeit well deserved stories… I guess) as much as we do. I still sound bitter very envious, don’t I. heehee

clark and joe shelling

They found a few minis like WENTLETRAPS, a MELAMPUS, a wormie, SLIPPER SHELLS, CERITHS, AUGERS, WHELKS and a CONCH. I gave Manuela the APPLE MUREX and the OPERCULUM (which I had to explain that it was the “door” to a WHELK) and they ended up keeping the MUREX but they weren’t too thrilled about the OPERCULUM so gave it back to me. They looked at me like “Why the heck would we want to keep that?” I guess I like the weird stuff too:)

miniature shells and operculum

Right before we were leaving the beach, we saw a small part of a rainbow…..

Sanibel rainbow with boat

This was followed by hundreds upon hundreds of dragonflies. If you can’t see them, click on the picture to enlarge it, then I hope you can see how many there were. Go, dragonflies! Eat those skeeters!

Dragonfly sky


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