Archive for Fighting Conch

Jun
16

Full Moon Rises, Shelling Tide Lowers

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shells found at Blind Pass Captiva June

During the low tide evenings this past week, we didn’t find gobs of shells on Sanibel or Captiva but we found the best empty beauties in the Blind Pass channel in between Sanibel and Captiva. With the full moon causing extreme tides, the water rushes through the pass so quickly at the lowest tide (ankle deep) I like to just wait for the shells to roll by my feet by near the jetty rocks. If you want to see a video from last year that shows how they roll by CLICK HERE

sea shells found in the channel at Blind Pass Captiva Island

We also hit the low tide at the Lighthouse Beach…

low tide shelling sanibel

This was my favorite night last week because I met Michayla from Pensacola with lots of beautiful shells in her shell bag…

Michayla from Pensacola finds sea shells on Sanibel Island Florida

I also met Paige and her mom Nikkie from Kentucky. It’s always so much fun to meet new friends that love shelling as much as I do!

Paige and Nikkie from Kentucky visit Sanibel collecting seashells

And lookie who else was shelling at Lighthouse Beach… our good friends Susan and Lee from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. They definitely love shelling as much as Clark and I do.

Susan and Lee from GTMO visit Sanibel Island Florida

It’s always so much fun to see the live creatures at ow tide like FIGHTING CONCHS…

Live fighting conch seashell on Sanibel Island Florida

I’m not absolutely positive, but I believe that this is a SEA HARE EGG STRING. Seriously, it was this color… almost turquoise!

sea hare Eudisoma hepaticum egg string

We are very used to seeing SEA PORK at low tide but this SEA LIVER looks a little different because it’s flatter and a little slimier. They are dark purple when still alive then turn whitish when they die so I’m assuming part of this colony on the right has already died off and the left side is still hanging on. Of course after I took this photo, I returned this colonial tunicate to the tidal pool where I found it.

sea liver Eudisoma hepaticum

So while we were shelling Lighthouse and Blind Pass… Gary, Jane, Anna, Claire and Ella from Arkansas were shelling near Tarpon Beach when they hit  a VERY sweet honey hole. Gary said ” Just at the shelf line we found a PEN SHELL bed. After about 2 hours of digging we had 8 large horse conchs – our best shell hunt ever!”  I’m sure this will be a day in their lives they will never ever forget. Shellzam!

Gary Jane Anna Claire and Ella from Arkansas find 8 horse conchs

I love summer evenings walking the beach when the sun doesn’t set until way after 8pm then the full moon rises to brighten the sky and pull at the sea.

Sanibel full moon over Gulf of Mexico

full moon over palm trees

Jun
14

The Chimney Clam Beach Sweep

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Stimpson chimney clam Rocellaria stimpsonii drills hole into florida fighting conch

Aha! Another mystery solved. This is the little bugger that makes some of the holes in our seashells… a tiny little STIMPSON CHIMNEY CLAM. Remember the heart I found carved in this PONDEROUS ARK (from King Neptune)? Well, there must have been two STIMPSON CHIMNEY CLAMS drilling into this shell to make that design or there was one mighty CLAM on a mission from the heart.

drilled heart in seashell

Either way you “cut” it, this is one little destructive dude of a STIMPSON CHIMNEY CLAM (Rocellaria stimpsonii) 

Stimpson chimney clam Rocellaria stimpsonii

I was absolutely thrilled to see both valves of this CLAM together (I know, go ahead and say it LooLoo… I’m a real shell geek LOL)…

Stimpson chimney clam side view Rocellaria stimpsonii

So we can have a better understanding of why some shells look like this…

holes in seashells made by stimpson chimney clam

In my post What Makes The Different Holes In Seashells? , I wrote…

 … these bigger holes most likely were drilled by a STIMPSON CHIMNEY CLAM. Oh, What? You’ve never heard of a STIMPSON CHIMNEY CLAM before? LOL Well, neither had I before I got so curious about what made that heart shape and found out that two separate drilled incidences by these clams are the most likely culprit. When I find a STIMPSON CHIMNEY CLAM, you will be the first one to know about it and I will post a photo. “

Well I didn’t find one but MurexKen did! He found this FLORIDA FIGHTING CONCH with both valves of the STIMPSON CHIMNEY CLAM still remaining in the crevice it carved out when it was still alive. This CLAM doesn’t bore into shells and coral to eat as a food source- it’s a Suspension Feeder so it captures food particles from the water somewhat like a filter feeder. It bores holes into shells and coral to use as a place to live… like a cozy little nest.

Stimpson chimney clam Rocellaria stimpsonii with florida fighting conch

Great find MurexKen! Thanks so much for sharing this with me so we can all learn such cool stuff about the the mysteries of our oceans. Now that I know what this shell looks like, I can’t wait to find one of my own (along with the GOLD-BANDED CONEof course). So catch ya later alligator, out to the beach for a CHIMNEY sweep!

Stimpson chimney clam shell Rocellaria stimpsonii makes hole in florida fighting conch

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Lightning whelk in Sanibel surf

If the Sanibel SEA LIFE could have talked last evening at low tide, they probably would have been chatting it up about how lovely the evening was and how healthy they were feeling…. just like us.

live starfish at sanibel lighthouse beach

This LINED STARFISH was raisin’ the roof!

Curled live starfish sea star Sanibel Island

The live LETTERED OLIVES were doin’ the locomotion…

live lettered olive shell

The live AUGERS were gettin’ jiggy with it…

live auger shells at low tide Sanibel

This live BABY’S EAR was jivin’ and slimin’…

live babys ear shell

The live FIGHTING CONCHS were putting’ up their dukes…

live fighting conch in sand

There were hundreds of HERMIT CRABS running around claiming the best shells for their residences.

apple murex with hermit crab

We even saw quite a few SHARK’S EYE EGG COLLARS brimming with little tiny eggs…

sharks eye egg collar

We even saw lots of ONION SEA ANEMONES flowering in the tidal pools…

Paranthus rapiformis onion sea anemone

Hmmmm….I wonder why they call it an “ONION” SEA ANEMONE … heehee

Paranthus rapiformis onion sea anemonae CNIDARIA

The colors of the night were amazing! This clump of SEA SPONGE was the most brilliant color purple…

purple sea sponge Sanibel

A little higher on the beach, I saw that Leah from Georgia found a honey hole of wonderful minis which included lots of WENTLETRAPS.

collecting seashells on the seashore of Sanibel Island

Leah and her husband Matt were vacationing on Sanibel to celebrate Matt’s 40th birthday.

Matt Leah from Georgia vacation on Sanibel for shells

Finding a few beautiful shells to take home was just icing on the cake. Happy Birthday Matt!

seashells found on Sanibel Island by Leah

The weather was perfect, the beach was teeming with live creatures and each breath of fresh, salty air made exploring the tidal pools heaven on earth.

Whelk in the surf of Sanibel Island

sand dollar at low tide Sanibel Island

exploring low tide on Sanibel Island

assortment of shells collected while beach combing swfl

These shells are just a few of many beautiful gifts from the sea I could have easily plucked off the beach and popped in my beach bucket.

beachcombing on fort myers beach

I have oodles of shells already in my house (and my yard, garage, porch, walkways, car, and of course the “shellaboratory) so I had to use restraint. But OMG, look at what washed up on south Fort Myers Beach! I showed this photo in my post but it was a little blurry so I’m trying again so you can see in just a tiny area, what kinds of shells and Beach Bling washed up together. Caryl Renz asked what was in this photo that looked like thousands of tusk shells …. here’s the answer- that’s MANATEE GRASS. When the little tubes of MANATEE GRASS get washed on shore they don’t look like your regular SEA WEED, to me it looks like parmesan cheese sprinkled over a seafood stew on the beach. But I now realize after reading Caryl’s comment, they do look like tusk shells too. Look at all the interesting things in this photo! (I hope this CYBERSHELLING shot a little more clear this time?)

manatee grass with seashells

Did you find these FLORIDA CONES while you were CYBERSHELLING?

florida cones found on Fort Myers Beach

I continued to walk south on the beach to see swarms of people in one area. Oooohhhh! I’ve gotta pick up the pace and find out what they are finding!

crowd of shellers on fort myers beach

An o-ver-whelming amount of shells and bling washed up for about a mile!

collecting sea shells after a storm

My head was spinning! Everywhere I looked, I saw seashells, CRAB SHELLS, STARFISH, SAND DOLLARS and MANATEE GRASS.

cybershelling ft myers beach for seashells

So many people were finding sweet little TRUE TULIPS like this one I saw in a cup on the beach.

seashells in a cup

There were shell lines at the shore line….

shellers stooping for shells in sw florida

But then higher on the beach the wrack line was as wide as … well there really was no “line” …it covered the whole beach! I usually find very cool shells on this beach but the shelling was ridiculous this week!

gobs of shells o ft myers beach

I usually find very cool shells on this beach but the shelling was ridiculous this week!

horse conch fort myers beach

Now you see why I had to use restraint to only pick up a few of my faves. I rinsed my treasures off then sorted them out under a cute little tiki hut . It truly is paradise!

 beach resort tiki hut with shells

I was so tickled to find such spiny and colorful SPINY JEWELBOXES, 2 WHITE CRESTED TELLINS, NUTMEGS, GAUDY NATICAS, ROSE PETAL TELLINS, ANGEL WINGS, tiny TRUE TULIPS, WORMIES, 2 double PURPLISH TAGELUS, SHARKS EYES, and of course, WHELKS, OLIVES, CONCHS, BANDBED TULIPS and my 2 FLORIDA CONES. That’s the SANIBEL SIX double time! i Love Shelling!

shells collected on south Fort Myers Beach Florida

UPDATE: I’ve had lots of folks ask me about parking to get to this beach. In the comments section of this post I responded to Holly so I will repost here as well just in case you don’t read the comments…

There is public parking further north on Flamingo Rd with parking meters. But…. Between you and me….;) there is a shopping center near there called Santini Plaza. Some of the locals say you can park there and walk over to the beach… but don’t quote me on that, please. Id hate to have them mad at me for filling up their parking lot so they don’t have room for their patrons. If the lot is empty, I’m sure its ok but please Just be thoughtful of their parking issues for the businesses. My mission is to share the shelling love <3 but the locals with businesses of Southwest Florida need the love too :) Its gotta be a happy balance to shellebrate together! That beach is best at low tide but Let us know if the piles are still there.

PS- I tried to explain the parking in a previous post about this beach but like I said back then, it’s a little harder to get to so you don’t have as much competition. hahaha so to me thats a good thing!http://www.iloveshelling.com/blog/2013/07/21/everythings-in-the-pink-when-youre-on-the-beach/

12 cockles clicking

Of my first find of shelling, my seashore gave to me…. a CONE on the beach of Sanibel

1 cone from sanibel

Of my second find of shelling, my seashore gave to me… 2 BITTERSWEETS and a CONE on the beach of Sanibel.

2 bittersweets

Of my third find of shelling, my seashore gave to me… 3 NUTMEGS, 2 BITTERSWEETS and a CONE on the beach of Sanibel.

3 nutmegs

Of my fourth find of shelling, my seashore gave to me… 4 sunbeam SCALLOPS, 3 NUTMEGS, 2 BITTERSWEETS and a CONE on the beach of Sanibel.

4 sunbeam scallops

Of my fifth find of shelling, my seashore gave to me… 5 golllldennnnn BUTTERCUPS, 4 sunbeam SCALLOPS, 3 NUTMEGS, 2 BITTERSWEETS and a CONE on the beach of Sanibel.

5 golden buttercups

On the sixth day of shelling, my seashore gave to me… 6 marvelous MUREXES, 5 golllldennnnn BUTTERCUPS, 4 sunbeam SCALLOPS, 3 NUTMEGS, 2 BITTERSWEETS and a CONE on the beach of Sanibel.

6 marvelous murexes

Of my seventh find of shelling, my seashore gave to me… 7 SAILORS EARS singing, 6 marvelous MUREXES, 5 golllldennnnn BUTTERCUPS, 4 sunbeam SCALLOPS, 3 NUTMEGS, 2 BITTERSWEETS and a CONE on the beach of Sanibel.

7 sailors ears singing

Of my eighth find of shelling, my seashore gave to me… 8 awesome OLIVES, 7 SAILORS EARS singing, 6 marvelous MUREXES, 5 golllldennnnn BUTTERCUPS, 4 sunbeam SCALLOPS, 3 NUTMEGS, 2 BITTERSWEETS and a CONE on the beach of Sanibel.

8 awesome olives

Of my ninth find of shelling, my seashore gave to me… 9 WHELKS a welcoming, 8 awesome OLIVES, 7 SAILORS EARS singing, 6 marvelous MUREXES, 5 golllldennnnn BUTTERCUPS, 4 sunbeam SCALLOPS, 3 NUTMEGS, 2 BITTERSWEETS and a CONE on the beach of Sanibel.

9 whelks a welcoming

Of my tenth find of shelling, my seashore gave to me… 10 TULIPS twirling, 9 WHELKS a welcoming, 8 awesome OLIVES, 7 SAILORS EARS singing, 6 marvelous MUREXES, 5 golllldennnnn BUTTERCUPS, 4 sunbeam SCALLOPS, 3 NUTMEGS, 2 BITTERSWEETS and a CONE on the beach of Sanibel.

10 tulips twirling

Of my eleventh find of shelling, my seashore gave to me… 11 CONCHS  a clacking, 10 TULIPS twirling, 9 WHELKS a welcoming, 8 awesome OLIVES, 7 SAILORS EARS singing, 6 marvelous MUREXES, 5 golllldennnnn BUTTERCUPS, 4 sunbeam SCALLOPS, 3 NUTMEGS, 2 BITTERSWEETS and a CONE on the beach of Sanibel.

11 conchs a clacking

Of my twelfth find of shelling, my seashore gave to me… 12 COCKLES clicking, 11 CONCHS  a clacking, 10 TULIPS twirling, 9 WHELKS a welcoming, 8 awesome OLIVES, 7 SAILORS EARS singing, 6 marvelous MUREXES, 5 golllldennnnn BUTTERCUPS, 4 sunbeam SCALLOPS, 3 NUTMEGS, 2 BITTERSWEETS and a CONE on the beach of Sanibel.

12 cockles clicking

 

Happy Shellidays, y’all!

heehee… I hope you had fun singing along with me about some of the 12 different shells I found the last few days at Blind Pass Sanibel and Gulfside City Park. Shellebrate!

shelling adventures trips by pam

Nov
17

Spectasheller Speckled Tellin

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double speckled tellin captiva

Shellzam! I think this is the first time I’ve seen someone find a double SPECKLED TELLIN shell in SouthWest Florida. We found lots of double SPECKLED TELLINS on our trip to Turks And Caicos but only a handful of single valves here in SW Florida …  none with both valves still attached. So I was tickled to see that Stephanie (Fort Myers) showed me her find. Spectacsheller!

stephanie captiva beach with shells

Along with her double TELLIN, she also found a single valve of a SPECKLED TELLIN, an awesome BROAD PAPER COCKLE, and a PURPLISH TAGELUS. Very nice.

speckled telling broad paper cockle purplish tagelus

I also saw Kathy and Pat again! They were on the March iLoveShelling cruise to Cayo Costa so we got to laugh and reminisce about them being in the “Gleaners” photo. Lots of fun.

kathy pat shelling the water captiva

They found such a wide variety of shells but they both said that they were happiest to find lots of CERITHS.

captiva seashells pat kathy

Speaking of Cayo Costa, Dawn and Lori from Nebraska weren’t find many keeper shells on Captiva but they were still so happy they had gone to Cayo Costa to find lots of great treasures.

dawn lori nebraska visit captiva for seashells

Lori is holding up a wonderful LACE MUREX while Dawn had questions about these SOUTHERN SURF CLAMS. Why are they so brown? On our last iLoveshelling cruise, lots of folks were picking them up because they were milk chocolate…. and it’s not the Periostracum that is covering it to make it that color but maybe some sort of food source.  Hmmmmm. I don’t remember finding them this brown in the past but I love milk chocolate! I wish I had collected a few of these milk chocolate SOUTHERN SURF CLAMS too.

brown surf clam

So believe it or not the little shell line at the top of the high tide line is where Stephanie found that spectasheller SPECKLED TELLIN and her other bivalves. That’s what it looked like when I found my CARRIER SHELLS too. Again, ya just never know!

captiva beach with string of shells

 Since I didn’t find any “spectacsheller” shells in that wrack line, I was just as happy picking up broken shells like these FIGHTING CONCHS because I’m going to use them in a shell craft project. Seriously, look at the colors… and they already have perfect holes drill in them so they are easy to work with. When it’s done (and IF I’m happy with it- heehee) , I’ll show you what I did!

broken seashells for art craft projects

PS- Blind Pass Captiva beach looks like it’s going to be roped off in the next week or so due to a renourishment project. I’m so sorry but I don’t have any more information than that but if I get any updated info, I will let you know.