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