We’ve been enjoying walking along the shore at Sanibel’s Bowmans Beach this summer since we’ve had our best luck finding shells no matter which direction we comb the beach. Clark had an eye for the cutie mini shells this time. As soon as he found that little DUSKY CONE (on the tips of the horsies/candy/candy corn/mac n cheese…. errrr… those juvie HORSE CONCHS) I remembered that on one of my latest shelling adventure cruises I tried to show how one can tell the difference between those and the ALPHABETS and FLORIDA CONES.
So let me try to show the difference of the shells to you too. Here is a handful of the DUSKY CONES to show you how big they are and the different colors and patterns. Also, check out that each one of them has spiral ribs along the body of the shell. If you run your thumb over the shell, it won’t be smooth, you will feel all of the the little ridges.
Here’s the difference between a random ALPHABET CONE, FLORIDA CONE and the DUSKY that I pulled from our collection of Sanibel shells to see the different patterns and the normal adult size of each.
In this view, you can really see those ribs on the DUSKY compared to the other two that are mostly smooth. Cool, huh?
So next time you find a small little cone shell, look a little closer to see which one you’ve found. Maybe it will be a DUSKY CONE like Deseray found years ago that I showed in my post Rainbow Of Miniature Shells that we compared to her sweet little ALPHIE.
UPDATE: Ive had a few people ask about the difference between the Duskys, Stearns and Jasper Cones. I used to call some of them Jasper Cones but I was corrected a few years ago (can’t remember who told me- MurexKen maybe?) that the Shell Museum says that Jaspers and Stearns aren’t found in our area- only Dusky Cones. So I guess Ive gotta go with with that too unless they add them to the list. Im def no scientist ;0
It was an especially good day on the Sanibel today. On the beach at Island Inn, the weather was perfect (high 70s), the water was calm, there were piles of good shells… and I had Clark with me. That’s why I love this next photo… it’s everything I love all in one shot. Clark, the beach, the water and a ton of shells to pick through to collect in an aqua shell bucket.
My day was made.
I wasn’t the only one loving the day either, if there’s a good shell pile it seems I always find Connie K. right smack in the middle of it. Ha! She can sniff ’em out!
I also met another happy gal… Faith from Ohio. She is a ball of fun!
These are just a few of the beautiful shells she found. She found a LIONS PAW too but I didn’t get a chance to see it since she had already packed it up in her room. Happy.
Sitting on the big pile of shells (after walking to the right from Island Inn), I saw OLIVES, CONCHS, WHELKS, SCALLOPS and TULIPS but I had to snap a picture of this adorably tiny horsie candy (juvie HORSE CONCH). Omigosh- so stinkin cute.
Clark’s fave find of the day was of course that awesome ALPHABET CONE (first pic) but mine was this teeny tiny ROCK SNAIL SHELL.
I haven’t found a ROCK SHELL in a while and I can’t recall if I’ve ever seen one this small before. I love it!
Wishing on this shell tree that everybody gets to experience a day like this on the beach to feel this calm and happy about simple pleasures.
PS- Thank you Heather for the heads up about the shell pile!
We had a shellucky boat trip shelling adventure yesterday! On each iLoveShelling cruise, every person gets to choose a shell and a bumper sticker out of my very large bucket-o-shells (collected by either Clark or me) to get the day started with at least one shell in your pocket for good luck. It’s the Shellucky Shell… and it works! The forecast for our shelling adventure on Sight Sea-R Cruises out of Fort Myers Beach yesterday was stormy skies and rain so I thought we were going to get rained out… but then…
The rain stopped,
The skies turned blue,
The sun started shining
On our iLoveShelling cruise.
Yay! Not only did we have clear skies… we found lots of shells!
And not only did we have a sunny day finding seashells… we got to hang out with other fabshellous shellers like Ralph, Sharlotte, Beryle, Mitchell and Susie from Texas.
And the shellastic California girls!
Did I mention we had a great day finding shells?
As I said, our day started a little iffy with the weather but then everything turned out shelltastic. Barry (from the east coast of Florida) had a pretty iffy morning even after the skies cleared up. When we got to the island he headed straight to the water, did a few stoops to pick up a few treasures then realized… his iPhone had fallen out of his top pocket. Ack! I saw he had a sick look on his face so he told me what happened… he couldn’t find his phone. My first thought was…. call in the troops! We’ve got a boat load of shellers who looooove to find “things”! So I shouted an announcement down the beach “Everybody look for a lost iPhone!” I don’t normally shout on the beach but we were the only ones on this beach and I felt like I was with family already… so I figured, why not? Two minutes later, snorkelers Jen and Dwayne found Barry’s phone in the water and held it up like they had just found a JUNONIA. Weeehooo! I love hanging out with shellers- such kind people. Seriously.
I took this photo of Dwayne snorkeling just moments before I talked to Barry. Its weird how things work… if either Barry or I had waited one more minute to tell other people to look for the phone, Dwayne wouldn’t have been in that exact spot where he found his biggest find of the day. Good eye, Dwayne, good eye!
What else did Dwayne and Jen find snorkeling? This is just a small sampling of all of their loot. They had two bags full of awesome stuff.
Guess who else was on the cruise… Conne from Shellabaloo 4. Not only was I happy to see her, I was so happy for her that she found an ALPHABET CONE. Such a cutie.
Barry’s wife Alex found an ALPHABET CONE too. She didn’t let anything stop her from having a great time!
Canadians Marilyn and Ted were having luck finding WORM SHELLS, ROSE PETAL TELLINS, SAND DOLLARS and a few SEA PEARLS too.
I think everybody came home with some lovely treasures.
Speaking of lovely treasures, everybody on this iLoveShelling cruise received one more lucky gift… a $25 gift certificate to Sealife By Congress jewelry store on Sanibel. On each iLoveShelling cruise through February, each sheller will receive one too- Wow!
I thank you Sealife By Congress and these folks thank you too… like Jude and Chris from NY
Karen from Maine…
And Mariann and Bruce from Ohio…
We all shared a wonderful day with so many gifts….
Finding treasures by the sea.
Join us on one of our next iLoveShelling Sight Sea-R shelling cruises! Sight Sea-R Adventures– $50 for 4 hour shelling cruise with iLoveShelling cruise with Pam. Call 239-765-7272 or CLICK HERE . Dont forget, the Sight Sea-R has shelling cruises every Wednesday so even if you can’t make an iLoveShelling cruise, they have other fantabshellous shelling adventures too.
Or join us for more iLoveShelling beachcombing adventures- CLICK HERE for more information.
PS- We aren’t ready just yet…. But….. Be on the lookout for an exciting announcement for the next Shellabaloo! Yay!!!! Soooooon!
PSS- What is Shellabaloo? CLICK HERE to find out.
Our first iLoveShelling Sight Sea-R Cruise was even better than I could ever even imagined! This brand new Sight Sea-R boat proved to be the absolutely perfect shelling excursion with plenty of room to take our 48 amazing shellers to this new shelling destination only accessible by boat… Big Hickory Island.
Not only is the island filled with our favorite treasures (shells, of course)….
We kicked this shelling adventure off with lots of other goodies too. Giveaways! Clark and I brought a big bucket of Sanibel Six shells so everybody could pick out a lucky shell to get things started. Then we treated everybody to iLoveShelling waterproof Seashell Identification guides, bumper stickers and had raffle prizes for hats and tee shirts. So. Much. Fun.
Our biggest surprise was from Mary and Jana of Sealife By Congress– my fave jewelry store. You won’t believe it, they gave every single person on this cruise a sterling silver sealife charm. Seriously. They came on the boat with large baskets filled with beautiful pieces of jewelry and let us all pick our gift of hand made sterling silver dolphin, starfish, sand dollars, scallops and yes… even junonia charms. So sweet!
Texas cutie cousins Pat, Pam, Kay, Peggy, Debby and Linda were thrilled to all receive such a gracious gift of jewelry. Thank you Sealife By Congress!
Let me tell you… this boat turned into a parrrr-taayyy!
So to top it off, on the boat ride to the island we spotted lots of different wildlife. There were dozens of species of birds but we were most excited about seeing many ROSEATE SPOONBILLS…
We also saw a rare sighting of a SEA TURTLE popping out of the water and we also witnessed countless pods of BOTTLENOSE DOLPHIN.
This was already so much fun and we hadn’t even starting shelling yet. But I was soooo ready… especially since I saw Holly had made a special shell bucket for herself with “My Shell Holl” on it- heehee. She also made one for her husband Ted that said “Collect-Ted Shells” and she made one for me with “My Pamtastic Shells”. OMG So stinkin cute.
We were all ready to hit the beach to find shells. And we did! Sandy from Fort Myers Beach’s newspaper The Island Sand Paper found some awesome shells to make her smile. Go back and take a look at the second photo from the top, those are her shells- See? Awesome.
We couldn’t believe how many WORM SHELLS we all found…
And lots of SHARK’S EYES…
During the boat ride back, I asked how many people found CONE shells (and not ones they picked from the “lucky bucket”) and 19 shellers raised their hands. Wow!
I’m always so happy to meet families that shell together. Christine, Anthony, Paula, Bryce and Dominic (from VT and MA) were such a pleasure to talk to.
I asked Bryce what his favorite thing about the cruise was and he reminded me that together we saved a SEA HARE that got washed up on the beach. We put the SEA HARE back in the water and after a minute, he revived and swam away- that was his favorite moment. I asked Anthony what his favorites were and he immediately showed me his ROSE PETAL TELLINS (with 2 COCQUINAS as well).
Brooke and Josh from Georgia had favorites too… SAND DOLLARS.
Clark and I loved hearing Keri (also from the Sand Paper) tell about shelling bringing back so many memories of her childhood while shelling with her grandmother. I think that’s why we love it so much… we explore the beach like we are kids again and remember those days.
Thank you Captain Phil and Meg for such a great adventure!
I still can’t believe how exciting every moment was with perfect weather seeing DOLPHINS, ROSEATE SPOONBILLS, OSPREY, PELICANS, a SEA TURLE, lots of seashells and the best group of people Clark and I could wish for.
To make a fairy tale ending, on our way back to the dock we watched the sun set over the Sanibel Lighthouse…
It was a very special day to remember. Oh but wait… I still have more photos and I have just a few more things I want to share with you about this day on my next post. The surprises continue!
Thank you Sight Sea-R Cruises!
You can catch a cruise too. Hop on a regularly scheduled shelling cruise on the Sight Sea-R to Big Hickory every Wednesday at 10am, Call 239-765-7272 or go to the website at http://www.sightseaflorida.com. You won’t be disappointed.
If you want to catch an iLoveShelling shelling adventure with me as your guide (once a month), CLICK HERE
This is truly a GOLD-BANDED CONE. There was lots of controversy over this CONE shell on last week’s post Gold-Banded Cone Found On Sanibel Island and ever since that post, the saga has continued…
From the moment Clark and I saw the photo of Clair’s three GOLD BANDED CONES (GBCs), we knew we needed to look through our collection again. Remember I said… “I think it time to go looking through all of our CONES just to make sure we didn’t overlooked one”? Well Clark got it done. He sat out on our back porch (on our very funky yard sale couch) and sorted through bin after bin of CONES that we’ve picked up over the years which just got stock piled in our Shellaboratory.
We try to keep the perfect specimen type ALPHABET CONE shells inside the house displayed in a bowl…
But the ones in the Shellaboratory are from days shelling we didn’t have time to sort because we had to run back out to some type of appointment or obligation. But lots of the shells were ones that had chips with broken lips and tips. Aint that a trip? (sorry…I couldn’t resist)
We try to give most of our shells away and only collect different color variations or unusual ones but still… the shells stack up. We try to put the really special shells to the side when we find them… but life happens. The good news is, Clark was on a mission.
Then low and behold… a GOLD BANDED CONE! Holy Cowrie! Clark knew he had found one! Shellzam!
After looking at so many variations of CONES in the shell sorting mission, let me show you how closely some of the CONES look alike. In the next photo, the far left is a FLORIDA CONE that looks like a smaller version of the ALPHABET CONE second from the left but the FLORIDA CONE has the tall and wide spire (tip) compared to the smooshed in ALPHABET spire. You can see spots on that same ALPHABET (second to the left) but the GOLD BANDED CONE (which is a rare color form of the ALPHABET CONE) has stripes instead of the spots – that’s what makes it different. So now back to comparing the GOLD BANDED CONE with the FLORIDA CONE on the far right. You can definitely see stripes on the FLORIDA CONE but it just looks like a darker version until you look at the spire again- yep, much taller and wider spire.
Like our friend Mary McBride said about the GBC- “it looks like an alphabet when the printer ran out of ink”. LOL
While sorting, Clark set aside some of his favorites. This photo really doesn’t do these alphies as much justice as they deserve but each one of these CONES has a remarkable pattern and/or color. Each are the same species but with different color forms caused by either food source or environmental like temperature changes, repairing damage, getting transported in a storm or countless other theories. It’s really what makes shell collecting so mind blowing.
Now we have our GBC in a little case that sits in the bowl with the other ALPHABETS just to make sure it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle. We took it in to see Larry at Seashells.com and they immediately gave Clark this box with cotton to keep it safe- thank you Gary! We rarely encase shells because we enjoy the raw beauty of them too much but for right now this one feels way too special. It is staying in the box. We still can’t believe we have it.
But of course I had to take it out of the box to get one last photo with all of the ALPHABETS together. OMG I love how it looks! All of those colors and spots and dots!
FYI- I made the photo above into a small puzzle for a gift to a friend of mine. Just in case you want one too, CLICK HERE. (for a larger puzzle CLICK HERE) . This next photo is the bowl that is going IN the house. These are too nice for the Shellaboratory!
Let me preface this with… This next GOLD-BANDED CONE is not ours. This photo came from a friend (wants to be anonymous) that wanted to show this specimen so we could have another example for identification purposes. Un-be-liev-able right? The rich, dark gold stripes are magnificent!
After seeing all of these ALPHABET CONES, GOLD BANDED CONES and even comparisons with FLORIDA CONES mixed all together, we are never going to toss “special” shells into a batch of ordinary shells we collect from the beach…. errrrr but wait… they are ALL “special”! Each one has it’s own unique pattern and color! Ack! How can we decide? Maybe less is more? Humph… It’s too much to think about. As Scarlett Ohara said “I can’t think about that right now. If I do, I’ll go crazy. I’ll think about that tomorrow.”
Whoa! Have you ever seen a GOLD-BANDED CONE (Lindaconus spurious aureofasciatus)? It’s a VERY rare CONE found in SW Florida that neither Clark nor I have ever been fortunate enough to find….yet. It’s not actually a different CONE species found locally but it’s a FREAK color form or “a rare abnormality” of the ALPHABET CONE (Conus spurious). Yep, it’s a freak alphie!
You can see here from left to right… a FLORIDA CONE, the GOLD-BANDED CONE* and the ALPHABET CONE. See how tall the spire (the tip) is on the FLORIDA CONE compared to the other two? (Update! Please see below for correct identification of this middle cone)
I am sooooo happy for Jordyn from Georgia! She found this fabshellous GOLD-BANDED CONE* last year June 1, 2013 on the Sanibel side of Blind Pass but didn’t know exactly what she had.
Jordyn and her parents Danny and Lisa went back home to Georgia and did extensive research to find out what kind of shell this was since it didn’t quite look exactly like a FLORIDA CONE and it didn’t have the spots of an ALPHABET CONE. They finally found the book The Sanibel kaleidoscope: A view of seashell variations in color, pattern, and structure which has photos of the GOLD-BANDED CONE and describes this very rare shell so it was their best guess that’s what they had. They knew they would be coming back to vacation on Sanibel this year (as they do each year), so they brought the CONE with them this week to get it identified.
Clark and I walked the beach at Gulfside City Park during low tide last evening and just happened to run into Danny. OMG I was so excited that he had just found a JUNONIA on the beach in front of Sanddollar Condos. This is a very lucky family!
This is how I learned about Jordyn’s CONE… right after Danny told me about the JUNONIA, he told me about the GOLD-BANDED CONE that Jordyn found last year. I just about came out of my skin when he told me they brought the shell back to Sanibel and he could show it to me. I was thrilled when they ran up to their rental unit to get it. Yowza! It sure looks like a variation to me since I remembered seeing a similar shell in that same Harlan Wittkopt book The Sanibel kaleidoscope (I love that book too!). After taking photos of her shell, I went home to do research as well.
When I saw more photos of various types of GOLD-BANDED CONES on Gastropods.com and after looking at the 4th photo down on this page CLICK HERE , I was pretty convinced that, yes, it was this rare shell indeed. The funny thing is… if you noticed above that I put a * behind the identification of the GOLD-BANDED CONE since the jury is still debating whether in fact that it is truly a GOLD-BANDED CONE or not. MurexKen, Larry Strange, Dr Leal and a few other shell buddies have mixed reviews. Half say “Yes” it is and half can’t give it a positive I.D. of GOLD-BANDED to this CONE. That’s what makes this so dang fun and interesting! There are hundreds of different CONE species around the world so it’s really hard to know when it is this “rare” because it might be confused by a shell from the Philippines (for example) which got placed on our beach because perhaps it was bought for a decoration for a beach party. Sooooo, since I’m not a scientist and I’m not going to look into the DNA of this shell, in my book…. it’s a GOLD-BANDED CONE (oh well, it’s not a Gold-Banded Cone LOL- See below). I’ve been looking for one of these shells for years!
I’m incredibly happy for Jordyn and her family so if there was any time to say “Shellzam!” this would be it!
So here goes…. SHELLZAM!
Congratshellations to this beautiful and extremely awesome family.
PS- I think it time to go looking through all of our CONES just to make sure we didn’t overlook one of the lighter banded ones shown on Gastropods photos 3, 5, 7 and 8 . If you find one, let us know here in the comments or on iLoveShelling Facebook– it’ll be fun to see how rare they really are!
UPDATE: JUNE 6, 2014 1:09 PM EST-
It has been absolutely amazing how many conversations I’ve had with different folks around the world about this CONE shell. The good news is… I have one photo of three… I said THREE… (yes!… 3) GOLD-BANDED CONES so we can compare Jordyn’s shell. This next photo is just three out of the four GOLD-BANDED CONES that my lucky friend Clair has found over the years. Clair took this photo and graciously let me use it on this post. Holy Cowrie, Batman! Thank you Clair! Her fourth shell is pictured in Harlan Wittkopt’s book (I mentioned above). She is Clairly The Cone Goddess…
So this brings us back to the question… Is Jordyn’s CONE truly a GOLD-BANDED CONE? I had *ed the ID because there was already some controversy even after I asked some other long time shellers and experts. Yesterday, while visiting Larry’s shop Seashells.com (on the corner of Periwinkle and Fitzhugh on Sanibel) I snapped a few pictures with my iPhone of an INDO-PACIFIC shell that also looked like Jordyn’s shell. Notice that the price is only $1, Which that normally means its a pretty common shell on the other side of the planet.
Then I looked at the apex (the tip of the spire) and saw that it was brownish like Jordyn’s. I know that judging a shell by it’s color isn’t the best way to ID a shell but it sure does make you wanna say Hmmmmm. Now that Susan H and David Carroll thought that Jordyn’s CONE was a OAK CONE (Conus quercinus), this may very well be the shell I photographed with my iPhone yesterday.
So I think this might be a real buzz-kill for lots of us that were hoping JORDYN found a GOLD-BANDED CONE, but I think the jury is coming to a solid conclusion. After seeing Clair’s photo, the links Susan and David provided and seeing the shell I saw yesterday with a $1 sticker on it, I believe now that Jordyn’s shell is an OAK CONE from the Indo-Pacific area… which I call a “Wedding Shell”. It probably came in a bag of shells someone bought for a beach wedding for decoration then got washed out with the tide then washed back in for Jordyn to find. Even so! This is such a wonderful, positive conversation with folks around the world who all love shells and shelling and we can all learn together about what washes up on our shores in SW Florida and the world.