Archive for Dosinia

Jul
06

Never Desperate Beachcombers

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beach combing sanibel for sea shells

CLAMS, SCALLOPS and OYSTER shells. That’s what we’ve been seeing washed up on Sanibel beaches this week. Some experienced beachcombers might think this is a little boring since they have plenty of these bivalves and there weren’t many WHELKS and CONCHS to fill up their shell bag. But we always find interesting things and when Clark and I met Ilene, Dawn, Hudson and Ethan from St Petersburg, FL we saw they weren’t disappointed at this gorgeous evening either.

Dawn Ilene Hudson and Ethan love beachcombing

Ethan picked up an ARK SHELL with a hole in it and began telling me why certain shells drill holes in different areas of other shells. Oh wow- I just did a post on the different holes in shells last month so I wanted to know more. He told me that the further away the hole is from the hinge (what I call the “nose”), the predator mollusk is more stressed. If the predator drills near the hinge, he can get to all of the meat easily…but the shell is thicker there so it may take longer to drill. If the predator mollusk drilling the hole into the other mollusk is pretty desperate, he picks a spot that’s thinner and easier to drill but may not get much meat since the other mollusk might fight back or can slip away easier. A sign of a desperado. Thanks so much for such cool information, Ethan! BTW, Ethan teaches classes about Paleoceanography .

If I didn’t put you asleep on that explanation and you think this stuff is interesting too, here’s a photo of what I’m talking about. See the DOSINIA on the left with the perfect hole in the nose area and then look at the hole in the desperate CALICO CLAM with the hole in the middle of the shell. Why so desperate Mr. Murex? Okay, I’m not positive it’s a MUREX that made the hole but in my humble opinion, it sure looks like an OYSTER DRILL hole (part of the MUREX family). Take a look at my other post What Makes The Different Holes In Seashells?

holes in mollusk sea shells

Okay, lets get back to the beautiful shells… While we were all talking near Lighthouse Beach, Ilene showed me her pretty DOSINIA then I saw Hudson reach down and pick “candy” (juvie HORSE CONCH) right out of the shells at our toes. Clark then made a scoop in the water and pulled out a TRUE TULIP then gave it to them. Hmmmm, the shells looked like they were starting to come in but it was getting too dark to see.

shoulda focused on seashells

Dawn just posted on iLoveShelling Facebook page this morning that they found all of these shells at Lighthouse Beach. Yes! The WHELKS and CONCHS are finally coming in… not that we were feeling desperate or anything. LOL

photo by Dawn Goddard

Thanks for posting, Dawn! Looks like we are going to be heading to Lighthouse Beach today to find some mermaid treasure but I’m really looking forward to our iLoveShelling cruise to Cayo Costa tomorrow with Captiva Cruises.

sea shell mermaid in the sand

Join us and receive a $25  gift certificate for jewelry from Sealife By Congress. Call 239-472-5300 to reserve your spot for 9am.

shelling adventures trips by pam

drilled heart in seashell

i heart seashells. Shells have a way of talking to us, don’t they?  They make us feel deeply connected to the vast sea and pull us towards it. This PONDEROUS ARK shell washed up at my feet with a heart carved in it. Awwwwe, so sweet! I love you too! But hmmmm… other than being an oh-so-sweet message from King Neptune, how did this happen?

i heart this seashell

We see natural holes drilled in all sorts of shells, so it’s time to find out how they are made. The hole in this SHARKS EYE tells me a little secret of what happened to its life. The clue? It has a perfect countersunk borehole with a beveled edge twice the diameter as the inner diameter. Because of the shape of that hole, you can bet that he was eaten by another SHARKS EYE!  OMG They are cannibals!

sharks eye shell is cannibalistic

We have to guess what happened to this next guy because it looks like a fellow predator SHARKS EYE started carving up his next meal but stopped before he tasted victory.

sharks eye drilled hole by other mollusk

By looking at the hole in this DISK DOSINIA, I’m going to assume that a SHARKS EYE made a meal out of this guy too.

sharks eye drilled hole in dosinia shell

Geez, SHARKS EYES have a smorgasbord of choices for their buffet. Looks as though they like BUTTERCUP LUCINES too.

sharks eye mollusk drilled hole in buttercup shell

A straight hole with only a slight beveled edge like this LADY-IN-WAITING VENUS CLAM …

lady-in-waiting venus clam with drill hole

…was most likely drilled by some sort of MUREX… like GULF OYSTER DRILLS. Aha! That’s why they are called “DRILLS”!

gulf oyster drills sanibel florida

The grooves in these CROSS BARRED VENUS CLAMS and TRANSVERSE ARK aren’t the handiwork of the SHARKS EYE or DRILLS. These grooves were most likely made by a BRISTLE WORM. It uses a rasping technique with its bristled body while secreting acid to etch a groove in the shell to make a nice cozy place to rest.

bivalves with bristle worm grooves

If you have never seen a BRISTLE WORM, click on the video to watch the first time Clark and I came across a BRISTLE WORM…. and then come back to see what cute tokens they make. YouTube Preview Image

Last May, Lisa from Shellabaloo 2 was having a great time sifting through shells at Blind Pass Captiva and found a few messages on shells she shared…

lisa shells bp

After Shellabaloo, she sent me this sweet CROSS-BARRED VENUS shell with a smiley face on it (made by a BRISTLE WORM). I keep it by my desk!

smiley face seashell

She also found a “K” on a CROSS BARRED VENUS…

seashell k for kendra

Lisa was so thoughtful, she gave it to another Shellabaloo-er… Kendra. K for Kendra!

seashell k for kendra

So let’s get back to that heart I received from King Neptune … 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. I already have an appreciation for them since they are quite the artists!

holes drilled in shells by other mollusks

I just assumed that a shell with lots of little holes in like this was just from regular wear and rear by the salt and wave action… like when you wash and wear your favorite shirt too many times. One day, you’ll start to see holes in it! But some times shells that look like this tend to be “holey” because BORING SPONGES have invaded it as a living space.

holes in a shell made by boring sponge

I’ve always been drawn to shells that have holes for stringing them for crafts….

seashell mobile close shells

For gift tags…

sea shell gift tag

And I always love to see someone string them for jewelry…

patricia strings seashell with natural hole

I would have never known where to start finding information on these cool holes in shells if Lisa from Shellabaloo 5 (OMG I just realized… both Lisas from different Shellabaloos are fascinated with holes in shells too! Ha! They need to know each other, wouldn’t you say?) anyway… I wouldn’t have known there was such a term as “Shell Bioerosion” and such if she hadn’t shown me where it was in this book Living Beaches of Georgia and the Carolinas .

There’s all kinds of fun to be had in exploring the common shells if you just give them a chance. They may even tell you a secret!

sea shells with holes drilled by mollusks and sponges

Feb
18

The Dosinia Difference

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difference disk dosinia and elegant dosinia

Did you know that there were two different DOSINIA shells that wash up from the Gulf Of Mexico on to the shores of Sanibel, Captiva and Southwest Florida? In my last postI showed you so much BEACH BLING that washed up after high west winds and teased you with two DOSINIAS as well. It’s pretty common to see DISK DOSINIA (Dosinia discus) seashells on our beaches but it’s very difficult to tell them apart from their sister and more elusive shell… the ELEGANT DOSINIA (Dosinia elegant).

differences in dosinia shells disk and elegant

To identify most bivalve shells, it’s easier to look at their interior since the biggest differences show on the inside around the hinges and also where the MOLLUSK itself connected to the shell. But… just like the outside shape, color and thickness- the interior is so similar too on these shells that it’s still so hard to tell them apart.

slight difference of interior of disk and elegant dosinia

The easiest way for me to distinguish the differences of the DISK DOSINIA from the ELEGANT DOSINIA is by looking closely at the outside grooves on the shell. The DISK is on the left and the ELEGANT is on the right of all of my photos. Now it’s a little easier to see a difference, right?

different grooves in 2 types of dosinias

Notice how fine the grooves are on the left shell (DISK) compared to the coarse grooves of the shell on the right (ELEGANT). If you rub your thumb nail along the out side of each shell you can definitely tell the difference .

commarginal grooves in disk and elegant dosinias

I know you can’t run your thumb over these shells I showed you in the photos but I hope I showed you enough detail so that you could identify each one in person. But let’s just see if you can still spot the differences in CYBERSHELLING! YAY! Okay, here goes…. How many ELEGANT DOSINIAS can you find in this next photo?

how many can you identify of disk or elegant dosinia shells

Hopefully, now you will be able to pick up a DOSINIA and impress your friends and family by telling them which type of DOSINIA you just found.  (heehee) 

Dosinias on the beach

shelling adventures trips by pam

 

 

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crab trap and buoy on sanibel beach

After strong west winds last week, surely we would get some interesting shells and Beach Bling washing up on our shores of Sanibel and Captiva. Yep, lots of Beach Bling lined the beach at Gulfside City Park.

sanibel beach after storm winds

The winds were so strong, the strength of the waves pushed oodles of crab traps with buoys onto the beach. When traps get tossed around by the power of the water, their doors get jostled then spill out the bait for the crabs.

crab traps wash up n sanibel beach

So of course, the bait gets washed up on the beach too. Pigs Feet! Yes, they use PIGS FEET to attract STONE CRABS and BLUE CRABS so that’s why you may have seen odd bones washed up on the beach- most of the time its from crab traps. I actually think this one may be a HOGS FOOT. Its weird and humongo! On the beach, I do not like pigs feet or ham, Pam I am.

pig hog foot on sanibel beach

But don’t let this PIGS FOOT be confused with this SEA PORK. More ham, Pam I am?

pen shell and yellow sea pork

I also found lots of different MOLLUSK EGG CASINGS too like this LIGHTNING WHELK EGG CHAIN…

lightning whelk egg chain gscp sanibel

I saw there were little baby shells in their fluid still sealed in each of the disks so I put it back in the water. I’m sure they washed back up on the beach since the water was still pretty rough but … who knows. Maybe they got stuck on something out there in the water and were able to hatch. Dunno, but why not try?

baby lightning whelks in egg chain

This one is an EGG CASE to a PAPER FIG…

paper fig egg case on pen shell

This is a BANDED TULIP…

banded tulip egg case on penn shell

This beauty is a TRUE TULIP EGG CASE…

true tulip egg case sanibel florida

When Clark and I looked a little closer, we saw there were several other EGG CASES that were laid on some of the TRUE TULIP EGG CAPSULES.

true tulip egg case with other mollusk eggs

There were lots of MILLIPEDE STARFISH (and PEN SHELLS)…

millipede starfish and pen shell

This was a very cool LONG SPINED SEA URCHIN…

long spined sea urchin sanibel florida

There were hundreds of DOSINIAS that were washed up on the beach as well. I was really thrilled to find both types of our local DOSINIAS scattered along the wrack lines. The top one is the very common DISK DOSINIA and the bottom one is the ELEGANT DOSINIA. I haven’t had time to photograph them but I hope to show the detail much better on my next post.

disk dosing top elegant dosing bottom

We searched Blind Pass (both sides) and Lighthouse but didn’t find huge piles of shells this weekend after the high winds but loved finding all of this cool bling at Gulfside City Park. I’m still hoping the shell piles will come rolling in soon but the birds are happy as clams with so much gourmet food at their beaks.

The birds do like stone crab and clams.

gull eating crab

They like them here and there. They like them everywhere.

bird eating stone crab sanibel

They do so like stone crabs and clams. Go Birds. Go Birds. Pam-I-am.

bird on beach with crab

smaller sea urchin sanibel beach bling

SEA URCHINS! I haven’t seen SEA URCHINS washed up on our shores in quite a while… much less cutie itty bitty ones like this.

small size sea urchin sanibel island florida

I found dried tiny ones with spines as well…

tiny dried sea urchin sanibel beach

Normally if SEA URCHINS still have their spines in tact I would assume they were still alive and put them back in the water. But I found these in the highest wrack line at Lighthouse Beach. They had been cast on shore by those rough waves from the high winds last week with the high tide and got caught in the “sea weeds” then left for days to dry out. They look like the gumballs that the Sweetgum trees drop in the winter up north, dont they? LOL

sea urchin gum balls sanibel florida

I normally don’t get so excited to collect PEN SHELLS (since we see them so often on our beaches) but I rarely see perfectly intact baby STIFF PEN SHELLS (on the left of my hand) and SAW TOOTH PENS SHELLS especially with no BARNACLES or SLIPPER SHELLS attached to them. They are so cute!

stiff pen shell saw tooth pen shell

See how thick this wrack line was? Some people in other parts of the world might think this was an ugly site on a beach… but not me and most beach combers. This is a haven for shells and BEACH BLING for beach combers and for wildlife as well. Thick wrack lines like this packed with all sort of vegetation and other sealife are so important for our beach ecosystem. They provide food for birds and other wildlife as well as providing a layer to trap sand  for less erosion. They become incubators for dunes!

macro algae cast on shore Sanibel Island Florida

But… Just to make sure this seaweed was a natural occurrence without being harmful, I asked my friend and director of the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) Dr. Eric Milbrandt if he knew what types of matter had washed ashore. Of course he did! He said “There were 8 species from collections at Moonshadows beach and the Lighthouse beach. Many of the specimens had intact holdfasts and given the recent > 1 m wave heights, were likely attached and cast on shore. Many of these species are found at nearshore hardbottom areas (the same areas that produce many of the mollusc shells) whose abundance peaks in Nov.”  He also reported that most of these species of seaweed (macroalgae) were common on all coasts. Thank you Dr. Milbrandt!

macro algae wrack line on Sanibel island Florida beach

Along with the PEN SHELLS and SEA URCHINS tucked away in all that seaweed, Clark and I found hundreds of double DOSINIAS…

disk dosinias sanibel lighthouse beach florida

And a very cool completely intact dried (and non-stinky!) SPIDER CRAB…

spider crab on sea whip sanibel florida october

Clark found a double SAILORS EAR (CHANNELED DUCK CLAM) without any cracks. It’s funny, we rarely find them on the beach with both sides intact because they are just so dang delicate…

double sailors ear shell sanibel beach

I haven’t gotten a good dose of combing through cool BEACH BLING in a while so I was in haaaawg heaven. There were oodles of little micro shells, SEA WHIPS and other goodies so I could (and did) walk for miles and miles getting lost in discovering the fascinating gifts that Mother Nature leaves us on our beaches.

shells urchins sea whips crabs sanibel florida

dosina shell with tiny sea urchin sanibel florida

Apr
26

Beach Bling Is A Wonderful Thing

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beach bling flotsam sanibel gulf

If you want to learn the types of seashells, sea life, vegetation and what the different kinds of mollusk egg cases look like and live in the Gulf Of Mexico, you’ve got your chance this week. It all washed up on the beach on the East end of Sanibel.

beach bling flotsam

You can see it for miles. So many mollusk egg casings and PEN SHELLS galore!

mollusk egg cases Sanibel Florida

MERMAID PURSES! Well, they are really SKATE EGG CASES…

mermaid purse skate egg

HORSE CONCH EGG CASINGS (I shot this with the Nikon J1)…

horse conch mollusk egg case

WHELK EGG CHAINS…

mollusk egg casings beach

Lots of CRABS too. This one is a STONE CRAB…

stone crab sanibel florida

My friend Jane called me and said she found a dead crab shell on the beach that had a NAUTILUS  shell pattern. She has found a NAUTILUS before so she would know! Wanna see? CLICK HERE . So I went to see this crab…and it does have that pattern! It’s a FLAME BOX CRAB…

box crab jane

I also saw lots of SEA WHIPS. This was the first time I’ve ever found a WHITE SEA WHIP…

white sea whip

We normally just find the purple SEA WHIPS but when I went to see Jane’s FLAME BOX CRAB she showed me this bright yellow WHIP she picked up as well.

purple yellow sea whip

There were oodles of PURPLE SEA URCHINS also ( J1)…

purple sea urchin on seashells

I always get questions about the bones on the beach. They are from the bait in the crab traps… not random dead carcasses. LOL

beach bone flotsam

I also get a lot of questions about this guy on the left. It’s a SEA CUCUMBER…

sea cucumber sanibel

Don’t worry, I saw lots of shells too. Mainly, the double DOSINIAS.

Cyber Sheller Alert! This next photo is really big so you can do a little shelling and blinging…

dosinia sea shells sanibel cybershell

Looking through all this BEACH BLING, there are little treasures that look like this so you have to look closely…

turban horse conch shells

Some goodies were still washing in at the shoreline as well…

scattered shells south florida

The big find was by Seth (FL)! He found this huge HORSE CONCH on the sand bar near Donax Rd. Here he is with Erin and Reese…Erin Seth Reese

See? BEACH BLING is a wonderful thing… (J1)

beach bling flotsam jetsam

PS- Some of you know I’ve been testing a new Nikon J1 camera. It isn’t very spontaneous but when I do catch a nicer shot than with my spontaneous, trusty, easy, clear Panasonic DMC…. I’ve noted it.