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

6 Most Common Shells On Sanibel Island, Florida

Posted by on Jun 6, 2015 in Ark, Coquina, Cross Barred Venus, Jingle, Kitten's Paw, Ponderous Ark, Transverse Ark | 19 comments

The Most common shells on Sanibel Island Florida

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.

common bivalve shells on sanibel island, florida usa

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).

6 Six most common shells on Sanibel Florida

They look pretty familiar don’t they?

Sanibel most common 6 sea shells interior

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”.

ark shell Anadara transversa

CROSS-BARRED VENUS (Chione elevata) shells always intrigue me because they have so many different interior colors.

Sanibel common cross barred venus Chione elevata

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.

common ponderous ark Noetia ponderosa

KITTENS PAW (Plicatula gibbosa) – How can you walk on a beach in Sanibel and not smile when you see one of these?

Sanibel common kittens paw shell Plicatula gibbosa

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.

Sanibel common shell coquina Donax variabilis

JINGLE (Anomia simplex) shells are like shimmering little beacons calling out from the sand- love them.

Sanibel common jingle shell Anomia simplex

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)

Susan Hewitt shell collections

I helped with her study by scooping up shells for her shell material research on the beach at Blind Pass Sanibel.

Common Sanibel shells research data collections

I also took samples at Sanibel’s Lighthouse beach for her.

Sanibel seashell research collections bucket lighthouse beach

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

Sanibel Most Common shell collage Paper

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!

pam rambo susan h identify bivalve seashells

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Lost And Found On Sanibel- It Takes A Social Shell Village

Posted by on Apr 13, 2015 in Cross Barred Venus | 23 comments

colors of cross barred venus shells

If you are looking for shells on Sanibel but you aren’t having any luck finding “the big ones”, you should revisit those common shells that are always on our beaches. There’s not a day that goes by that our beaches aren’t filled with CROSS-BARRED VENUS shells. Each one is different with their colors and patterns. They are a shell crafters dream seashell!

hundreds of cross barred venus shells

Walking the beach yesterday at Gulfside City Park, Clark and I were only finding the common shells until Clark took a blind scoop in the water scooped up alive BABYS EAR in his shelling backhoe. He laughed and handed it to me… it was shaped like a heart! So cute! Of course, I snapped a photo then placed it back into the water under the sand.

live baby ear in waves

Just a few days before, we were finding all sorts of treasures in the water at Gulfside City Park.

cluster of conchs on Sanibel

It just goes to show you that every day on Sanibel is a treasure hunt. You just never know what you will find so I always try to find something… anything…  just any reason to get out on the beach.  Then it becomes such a treat when you find a handful of shelliciousness with a dollop of cumulus clouds like this…

shell finds with cumulus clouds

Speaking of finding special treasures…  our iLoveShelling community was involved in finding a lost engagement ring on the beach! The story even ended up in our local paper The Islander

pam rambo, sharon michie with Sanibel ring finder

Sharon Michie of Cottages To Castles  suggested to her client Nancy Carr that she tell her story of her lost diamond engagement ring to the iLoveShelling community on FacebookIt worked! Barbara Anderson replied with a suggestion to call TheRingFinders and within 6 hours, her ring was found. It had been buried 14 inches under the sand and they still found it!

iLoveShelling facebook lost ring on Sanibel

 

Shellers rock! …. And shellers find “rocks” (heehee).  Sometimes it takes a Sanibel Social Shelling Village to find treasures. This is the photo with me, Craig Ostendorf of TheRingFinders.com (with the ring) and Sharon Michie. Sharon shipped the ring to Nancy who is now back home in Canada. Happy Ending!

pam rambo, sharon michie with Craig Sanibel ring finder

 

PS- Since we are talking all about happy stuff…. Clark was golfing yesterday (with his buddy John) – he got a Hole In One! His first ever and it was on the Sunday of The Masters. He felt like he found a left handed JUNONIA- hahaha.

Clark Rambo hole in one celebrates with John

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Cyber Shelling Bivalves

Posted by on Sep 29, 2011 in Blind Pass, Cross Barred Venus, Kitten's Paw, Sanibel, Transverse Ark | 8 comments

Kitten paws

How could anyone think KITTENS PAWS aren’t cute?  It was like it had rained KITTEN’S PAWS yesterday since there were so many on the beach at Blind Pass Captiva. Here’s a cyber shelling photo so you can virtually pick through the piles and find some yourself. Enjoy!

Bivalve cyber shelling

 Also mixed in were hundreds of TRANSVERSE ARKS

Transverse Ark shells

 Oodles of CROSS BARRED VENUS clams…

Cross Barred Venus

And a few LADY-IN-WAITING VENUS clams mixed in too…

Lady-in-waiting venus

I would say that the KITTEN’S PAWS, CROSS BARRED VENUS and the TRANSVERSE ARKS are the most common shells on Sanibel but I’m still not convinced what the top six commons shells are. I just loved seeing so many LADY-IN-WAITING VENUSes mixed in too, I wanted to show you those. They are so pretty and I normally never pay attention to them. When I don’t have a lot of time, I need to stay out of the sun for a bit or we are having lots of scattered showers, I just like to stop by the beach for a short time and enjoy all of the shells that I seem to neglect the rest of the year. Most of the shells in this next photo are all bivalves…. they did not let me neglect them this time.

Blind Pass with shells board

PS- I have no idea how that board got there. I guess it washed up?

 

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How To Make Shell Crafts Video – Project: Dandelions

Posted by on Apr 29, 2011 in Cross Barred Venus, Decorate with shells, How To Make Shell Crafts - Dandelions, Purple Sea Urchin, Sanibel, Sanibel Shell Fair and Show, seashell decor, Shell Art, Shell crafts, Urchin | 9 comments

Blue Ribbon winner Barbara Walling

I started thinking about summer projects this week so I revisited some of my blog photos for inspiration. Bingo! The 74th Sanibel Shell Fair and Show was last month … and it gave me a great idea for both me and you. I thought I’d find out some of the secrets of shell crafting so I asked how 2011 Blue Ribbon and Judges’s Special Award winner Barb Walling made her “Dandelions” piece. We will get to learn every detail of how this piece was made by the artist herself!

Barbara Walling shell crafter

Barb was gracious enough to invite me over to her Sanibel home to see where the magic begins. She first showed me how she organizes her shells that she picks up off the beach after she washes and dries them.organized shells

She categorizes each box or drawer by the shell name. This one is the SEMELE which she uses as the base to the dandelion and most of her shell flowers.

Semele seashell drawer

From here, I’m gonna let her tell you how everything else is done. Sit back, relax and let your imagination roll…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OR6I8lTjrRM[/youtube]

How ’bout that, huh? Here’s a close up of the SEMELE she talked about ……

Semele seashell drawer closeup

….and the CROSS BARRED VENUS

Cross Barred venus Seashell

This is a dead PURPLE SEA URCHIN that washed up on the beach with some of it’s spines still attached.

Crab shell, Urchin, Fig and Sponge

This is a close up of Barb’s SEA URCHIN spines. That’s a lot of SEA URCHINS!

Sea Urchin spines

Thank you so much for the shell craft lesson, Barb! Can’t wait to see what you create for next year’s 75th Anniversary of Sanibel Shell Fair and Show.

Barb Walling ribbons

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Imperfect Seashell Creativity

Posted by on Apr 28, 2011 in Cross Barred Venus, Decorate with shells, Sanibel, seashell decor, Shell crafts | 15 comments

Reading book on beach

I needed a little shelling pick-me-up yesterday since I’ve had “technical difficulties” in the blog world the last few days. Since the gulf has been a little rough caused by south winds, I thought I might find some goodies at Blind Pass.

Sanibel bare beach Blind Pass

The Sanibel side of Blind Pass was …well, empty of shells. Where’d they go?

Captiva beach erosion

I ran over to the Captiva side to find the beach with even a bigger drop-off than last week. Looked like nothing to me. There were a few people working the ledge but I decided to go back to the east end of Sanibel.

Bob Lucy Linda Captiva

On the way back to the parking lot, I met Bob, Lucy and Linda sorting their shells in the back of their car. I can’t believe they found all of these on that ledge I showed you. It looked bare to me.

blanket shells

Shame on me for not looking a little harder at that ledge. Look at these beautiful shells… and especially that large, perfect LIGHTNING WHELK on the left.

Sanibel beach

The surf was kicking up around the east end of Sanibel but the beach didn’t look like it was piled with shells. Then I started focusing on the wash line a little bit better since I learned my lesson and missed so many at Blind Pass. There were actually some nice shells…… and nice folks.

Sanibel shell Muriel

I met another Sani-Belle on the beach!  I met some of the Sani-Belle sisters and mom Mermaid Ella in January at Blind Pass (Click HERE for the post) so I was tickled to meet sister Sani-Belle Muriel too.

scallops, cross barred venus baby ear cockle

Like I said, there wasn’t a huge wrack of shells on the beach but she was still happy with what she was finding. I guess so! Look at that nice size BABY’S EAR! In her hand from left to right is a SCALLOP, a CARDITA, another SCALLOP, that big beautiful BABY’S EAR, a CROSS BARRED VENUS and a COCKLE.

Mermaid on the rocks

Mermaid Ella

This picture above was taken of Muriel’s 92 year old mom in January when I nicknamed her Mermaid Ella. I wanted to show you this photo again because most of the shells that Muriel and the other Sani-Belles collect are “materials” (that’s what they call the shells) for frames that Mermaid Ella makes. She showed me this one……

seashell frame by mermaid ella

Isn’t that beautiful? Shells don’t have to perfect to be beautiful. Imperfect is just as beautiful if you look at them in a different view like in this frame. This just makes me smile. And I also smile thinking of some other artists that make beautiful decor and jewelry from beach treasures…. perfect or not.

 Endless Sunner is so clever to design wine charms from seashells with holes in them…..

seashell winecharms

Tresor le Mer creates gorgeous pieces of art from beach treasures that someone else might consider to be beach “litter”…..

Tresor seawhip frame

Aptly named, An Imperfect Shell gives us that feeling of just coming off the beach in every design she makes….An Imperfect Shell

I love photography so I love to see how other artists capture the art of seashells. The Coastal Collection presents imperfect seashells in a whole new light….. sepia toned.

Coastal Collection

I also have another artist friend Rhonda from Shellebelle’s Tikihut that collects “drift shells” to make beautiful art frames too.

shellebelle's drift shells

So before I frown again and an “empty” beach, I’m going to remember Mermaid Ella and these other artists who get excited to see bits and pieces of shells on the beach. This is exactly what gets their creative juices flowing for their shellicious decor and jewelry. Thanks yall for the pick-me-up I really needed!

Val's iLS ornament

Val xo

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