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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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Fintastic Beach Bling On Cayo Costa

Posted by on May 28, 2015 in Captiva, Captiva Cruises, Cayo Costa, Day Trips From Sanibel Island Florida & More, Dolphin, Driftwood, Jingle, Sea Bean, Sea Pearl, Sharks- Sanibel | 21 comments

drift wood and seashells

The Gulf Of Mexico was clear, warm and bright turquoise at Cayo Costa this week for our iLoveShelling shelling adventure with Captiva Cruises. Just ask snorkelers Sue Ellen, Emma, Grace and Jeff from Louisiana.

Sue Ellen, Emma, Grace Jeff Louisiana snorkel sw florida

Hayla, Hope, Linda and Todd from Tennessee were like little fish as they snorkeled the whole time- fun!hayla hope linda todd tenn snorkel on cayo costa

But even before we got to the island, California girls Teri and Allana and the whole boat witnessed…

Cali girls teri, allana shelling cayo costa

A DOLPHIN show on the way to Cayo Costa…

Captiva Cruises dolphin watching boat ride

Up on the beach, Kurt and Beverly from Minnesota were amazed by the JINGLE SHELLS. Kurt said “This should be called Jingle Beach!”.

Kurt Beverly Minnesota find shells on Cayo Costa with bird

Beverly showed me her hand filled with JINGLES along with a fave little SEA URCHIN and colorful COCKLE.

Jingle shells on cayo costa

So pretty … and it really is “JINGLE BEACH”. They are everywhere! I picked these up in prob less than a minute.

Cayo Costa beach jingle shells

Mother Nature was really playing a hide and seek game with us since the shells were hidden more than usual. We really had to look high and low to find them but Dick and Yvonne from Indiana did a great job finding the larger ones.

Dick Yvonne from indiana find shells on cruise

Dick said he looked high and low around the tree roots in the water and found this spectacsheller WHELK then walked along the waters edge to find the rest of these beauties.

Dick's best shell finds from Cayo Costa

It was so nice to meet so many awesome shellers like Cutie Shellooties Diane and Joyce from Sarasota. Joyce found a beautiful WHELK (I showed in the first photo) about the same size as Dick’s WHELK – those LIGHTNING WHELKS must have been twins!

Diane Tomer Joyce Sarasota visit i Love ShellingDiane Tomer Joyce Sarasota visit i Love Shelling

Most of the shells (like COCKLES and SUNRAY VENUS CLAMS) Lindy from South Carolina found were at the waters edge as well.

shelling sw florida

The “Tweezer family” Deb, Judith, Brennan and Ericca came on our cruise too!

deboregon , judith cali, brennan, ericca montana

Hmmmm…. those tweezers must turn into a magical wand – a Shell Scepter- because Judith was the only who found a BABYS EAR up high on the beach… oh wait… she found 3!

3 babys ear shells found

Carla from Pompano, Florida was as tickled as sea punch to find this piece of DRIFTWOOD to hang her orchids in. I couldn’t even get the whole thing in the photo but it looked exactly like a SWORDFISH with a long sharp snout and knot for an eye. Awesome BEACH BLING.

carla pompano with driftwood
And talk about awesome BEACH BLING… Terry, Sue, Rich and Micki found the coolest treasures…

Terry Sue Rich Micki with beach toys and sea pearls

They were searching in the high tide wrack line and found SEA PEARLS, SEA URCHINS and the funniest sea toys-  2 SHARKS and a Bunny! I told them the story of the LEGO Beach Bling (CLICK HERE) but of course we should always pick up any of these toys even if we don’t keep for our “Kicks and Giggles Jar”.

shark beach bling finds and sea shells

This is Fintastic Beach Bling!

Not so Great White Shark on Cayo Costa Florida beach

PS-  Be safe everybunny.

shark chasing bunny to florida beach

 

Join me on an iLoveShelling Shelling Adventure. For dates and info CLICK HERE

pam rambo shelling trips

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Adventure In Paradise With Awesome Shellers

Posted by on Jun 8, 2014 in Barnacles, Captiva, Captiva Cruises, Cayo Costa, Cloudy Periwinkle, Day Trips From Sanibel Island Florida & More, Dolphin, Flat Zigzag Scallop, Ghost Crab, Horse Conch, Jingle, Limpet, Periwinkles, Striped false limpet, Sunray Venus | 22 comments

coudy periwinkles hiding in tree knots

The only thing cloudy about our Captiva Cruises iLoveShelling trip to Cayo Costa were the live CLOUDY PERIWINKLES hiding in clusters on the tree roots at the south tip of the island.

cloudy periwinkles cayo costa

 

It’s been such a month on the islands of spotting great wildlifeEverywhere I look, I am still seeing wonderful signs of healthy life… like these STRIPED FALSE LIMPETS and BARNACLES on those same tree roots with the PERIWINKLES.

striped false limpets on fallen tree

Melissa, Juliana, Becky and Garrett from Colorado walked around those tree roots to find some nice empty shells as well.

Melissa juliana becky garrett colorado visit cayo costa for shells

They found a bag full of double SUNRAY VENUS CLAMS…

Sunray Venus shells at Cayo Costa

Sisters Teresa and Elaine from Pensacola, FL found some keepers on the Gulf side of the island.

teresa elaine from pan handle  visit cayo costa

Elaine collected oodles of different color JINGLES to use for a picture frame craft project.

black grey white jingle shells

D.J. from Avon Park, Florida found empty LETTERED OLIVES and an ANGEL WING wading knee high in the water.

D.J. avon park florida olive shells

Oh but wait… How could I forget? I have to tell you about the boat ride over to the island. We had a pod of DOLPHINS come over to say “Hi” to everybody on our boat.

dolphin sight seeing captiva cruises

When they swam closer to the boat, we could see there were 3 mother DOLPHINS… each with babies!  If you look closely at this next photo, you can see the baby hugging up to the mother. So cute!

mother dolphin and baby

And the DOLPHINS weren’t the only wildlife coming up to say “Hi” to us… meet Casper The Friendly GHOST CRAB.

casper the friendly ghost crab hiding in shadow

I have never seen a GHOST CRAB act so friendly! Seriously, “Casper” was not at all afraid of us and actually followed us on the beach. See? He got right in-between Sandy’s feet and hung out there for a few minutes.

ghost crab hiding in shadow

He even ran into a shelling net like he wanted to play. hahaha What a character!

casper the friendly ghost crab hiding in shadow

Even though the wildlife was exceptional, it was a wonderful day to meet exceptional people like Vicki and Bill from Arizona.

vicki bill arizona visit cayo costa for shells

… And Melinda, Katelyn and Justin from Indiana. I especially loved meeting Katelyn since she knew all of the names of her shells but also loved all the wildlife she saw. Casper The Friendly GHOST CRAB didn’t want there to leave.

melinda katelyn justin indiana visit sanibel

… And it was exceptional to see Marie’s beautiful family- Emily, Madison, Steve, Sandy and Ryan from Ohio. But… they were missing one Morgan, they all wanted me to tell you…. you’re next!

marie emily madison steve sandy ryan ohio visit sanibel… And to see Bill, Michelle, Alyson and Anthony from Illinois.

bill michelle alyson anthony illinois visit sanibel

I had met Michelle at Blind Pass Captiva last week when I stopped at the beach to see what the conditions were on the Captiva side by the jetty rocks. As I dug through the “picked over” shell pile, we got to talking and she told me she hadn’t found too many keeper shells but was just happy to be on the island enjoying everything else about the beach. That’s when I uncovered a beautiful FLAT SCALLOP with a tiny hole in the top. I handed it to Michelle and told her it was meant for her. I was soooo touched to see that she was on the cruise with her family AND that she made that FLAT SCALLOP into a gorgeous necklace with a little SEAHORSE charm. OMG I love that she made it into a special treasure to remember a special day we happened to meet.  Shellers rock!

how to make flat scallop shell into necklace

Lindsay had told me about an awesome HORSE CONCH she had found on Sanibel last week so when we got back to the dock at McCarthy’s Marina, she showed it to us. Wow! Lindsay, I’m so happy you showed it to us. That IS awesome and will clean up beautifully with a little elbow grease.

lindsay dodd with empty horse conch

Even though the beach wasn’t piled up with mounds of shells this time, we were treated to a DOLPHIN show with babies, lots of friendly wildlife and most of all – a perfect day in paradise with a boat ride on calm waters full of happy people meeting an amazing community of likeminded shellers. 

iLoveShelling blue toe nail polish

You won’t want to miss the upcoming shelling cruises! Check out the new dates CLICK HERE

shelling adventures trips by pam

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Peaceful Retreat To The Beach

Posted by on Feb 25, 2014 in Baby's Ear, Button, Gulf Side City Beach (Algier's), Jingle, Lettered Olive, Olive, Shark's Eye, Wentletrap | 63 comments

tiny shells collected on Sanibel Island Florida

I have been enjoying the warm sunshine we’ve been having on Sanibel the last few days… not just on the beach but outside in my back yard. I’ve been sorting…and sorting… and sorting shells. Why haven’t I been more organized in the last few days… errrrr… months…. okay, truthfully? Years! I guess thats just how I roll- I would rather spend my time doing something else other than “cleaning” (Oh how I hate that word!) but I guess enough is enough. I told y’all I wanted to do a post about the differences between some of the mini shells like the DRILLS, MUREXES and CANTHARUS like I did in my post Similar Sanibel Shells since I wanted to add more to that list. So I started looking through my Shellaboratory for each of the shells I wanted to photograph. Ack! I wanted the best of each species but I realized how dang unorganized I’ve been. Buckets, boxes and bins of uncategorized shells. Some were washed… some filled with sand. OMG

assortment of collected small Sanibel Florida shells

 So while I sort my shells to find the best GULF OYSTER DRILL, SHARP RIB DRILL, juvie APPLE and LACE MUREXES, I had to escape to the beach for a peaceful retreat at Gulfside City Park to find an absolutely gorgeous calm day.

peaceful retreat and shells on the beach of Sanibel Island

Oh… and more mini shells. I tried to just admire the shells on the beach without picking them up because…. seriously, we have enough. These days I try to only collect the shells I learn from, the ones that I give to others (like the post – Good Feeling About Seashells), the ones I decorate with or use in projects.  So these are the only ones I brought home today… Three BUTTON SHELLS, a shiny OLIVE, one sweet BABYS EAR, a wonderful WENTLETRAP and a little cutie juvie SHARKS EYE. We don’t often see oodles of black JINGLES so I couldn’t resist picking some up … and there were lots of them! I’m trying to fill up a tall vase for my home so I might go back and try to find more tomorrow. When my vase is done, I promise I’ll post it.

some seashells collected from Sanibel

So while I sort, sort, sort our minis I’ll sneak to the beach for peace, shells and sunshine.

calm collecting shells

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Another Beautiful Cruise in Paradise

Posted by on Sep 13, 2013 in Angel Wing, Captiva Cruises, Cayo Costa, Fallen Angel Wing, False Angel Wing, Jingle, Olive, White Crested Tellin, White Pelican | 11 comments

rachel seashells cayo costa

Our Captiva Cruises boat pulled up to the shore of Cayo Costa at low tide around 1:30 yesterday …

cayo costa cruises shelling iLoveShelling

Within minutes, Rachel (KS) found 4 LETTERED OLIVES, 2 FALSE ANGEL WINGS, and AUGER and the colors of the rainbow in JINGLE SHELLS.

seashells cayo costa iLoveShelling cruise

Leanne (PA) strolled along the shore to find a true ANGEL WING and a few other goodies…

shelling cayo costa iloveshelling cruise gulf

Ahhhhh. It was so good to get back to Cayo Costa!

shelling gulf of mexico lee county seashells

I had the pleasure of meeting so many beautiful shellers while on the boat and walking the beach like sisters Beth and Barb (KY) who found SAND DOLLARS, WHELKS and OLIVES. Barb told me they have been hanging out with iLoveShelling.com since the very beginning… almost 4 years ago! She said she still has it bookmarked on her computer under my first blog name “My Shelling Blog”. Ha! I felt like I knew them already!

beth barb kentucky visti cayo costa florida shelling

Patti and Tim (FL) were delightful! While Patti was shelling her heart out, Tim was photographing and videoing their whole day. What a good team!

patty tim cayo costa shelling

Nancy and “Babe” looked like they were in heaven together all day. She was glowing! Then I found out why. Cameron had surprised her with the cruise for her birthday and she was thrilled. Happy Birthday Nancy! You guys are so stinkin adorable! (heehee his name is Cameron but I just kept hearing Nancy say “Good find, Babe!” …. “Oh! Come here, Babe!” so cute)

cameron nancy cape coral shelling

John (MA) started out his trip to SW Florida as a birder but found that looking for different species of shells was just as much fun as looking for different species of birds. Here’s John picking up his first BABY’S EAR…

John babys ear

Boating was so much fun to0 as we got to see a BALD EAGLE in a nest, OSPREYS catching their fish lunch from the water, DOLPHINS playing…

dolphin watching shelling cruise

And seeing that the WHITE PELICANS are back on the islands…

white pelicans useppa island florida

When we arrived back on Captiva, we had a little Shell ‘N Tell so we could share some of our shells and finds. Sharon was a joy to meet !

sharon with shells captiva

She picked up WHITE CRESTED TELLIN on Cayo Costa. I only see these on Cayo Costa. I dont think Ive ever seen one on Sanibel.

white crested tellin cayo coast florida

I’m so happy I got to meet  Jan (KY) since I think she must be an artist as well. Jan showed me one of her favorite finds which was covered in BARNACLES and other animal growth marks. I love that kind of stuff too!

jan kentucky visit captiva seashells

Jerry found some really nice WHELKS on our trip but he told me also found a really large 10 inch empty WHELK at Blind Pass on Wednesday. He couldnt believe it because he thought he had stepped on a big rock in the water at low tide… then reached down and pulled up that huge LIGHTNING WHELK. WAHOO!

jerry captiva seashells

I was amazed at all the true ANGEL WINGS, FALSE ANGEL WINGS and even FALLEN ANGEL WINGS we found this time. Awesome!

angel wings quahog cayo costa

The MANATEES even came over to send us off with well wishes…

Manatee captiva cruises marina

It was a beautiful shelling cruise in paradise with a beautiful bunch of people.

shells found on Cayo costa

Join us on the next iLoveShelling cruise! CLICK HERE FOR DATES.

seashell shelling adventures pam

Before you go….

We have TWO Winners to announce for the Shelltastic SW FLorida Vacation Giveaway! :)

Drum Roll Please! …..

Our first winner for the Sealife By Congress stunning sterling silver Starfish Reef Pendant is………

Kathie Porter!

The Grand Prize Winner for 4days/3 nights stay in Fort Myers Beach is…..

Denise Stahl (AS, FL)!

Congratulations to you both! Sealife By Congress will be contacting you Kathie and Pointe Estero will contact you as well, Denise. So hold tight until you get your info! Thank you all for participating!

 

 

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Stopping For Seashells- A Marco Island Day Trip

Posted by on Apr 12, 2013 in Alphabet Cone, Cancellate Semele, Day Trips From Sanibel Island Florida & More, Fighting Conch, Flat Zigzag Scallop, Jingle, Marco Island, Purplish Semele, Rose Tellin, Sand Dollar, Sunray Venus, Tigertail Beach Marco Florida | 35 comments

Marco Island shells iLS

Since we knew we’d be gone for the entire day, Clark and I packed up a cooler, snacks and a change of clothes to head for Marco Island, Florida for a day trip from Sanibel. Clark’s Rotary Club had an event in south Marco that we wanted to attend (he is still President – so proud of him!) so we figured if we had time on the way home, we’d stop at a beach. We did! We stopped at Tigertail Beach!

tiger tail beach marco map

This is the very first time we’ve been on this beach so we had to get the lay of the land by looking at the map (above). We decided to wade through the little lagoon to get to the gulf side beach on the other side…

wading water tiger tail

On my way over, I saw Jonathan and Rachel carrying handfuls of SAND DOLLARS…

sand dollars marco florida

Wow! They said they found them all along the beach in the surf line…Cool!

sand dollars tiger tail

So wading through the lagoon and down a sweet beach path we went… to find our first treasures from the Gulf Of Mexico.

seashells marco beach

All I started seeing was ROSE PETAL TELLINS! I love them!

rose petal tellins marco

And double SUNRAY VENUS CLAMS…

sunray venus shell marco florida

We could not find any SAND DOLLARS but that’s okay because we found so many other goodies like these two FLAT SCALLOPS. Clark’s beautiful orange one is on the left, and I found the larger perfect (heehee) purple one on the right.  I call them “FLATS” but they are really called  ZIGZAG SCALLOPS .

flat scallop marco island

Clark found the prettiest PURPLISH SEMELES!

purple semele marco

We both found CANCELLATE SEMELES as well…

cancellate semele marco florida

I was thrilled with all of the multi colored JINGLE SHELLS and those ROSE PETAL TELLINS!

jingle pink tellin shells

From Tigertail Beach in Marco, Florida traveling back by car to Sanibel Island it took us about 1 and 1/2 hours by way of interstate 75…

map from Sanibel to marco

We didn’t even get there until after 4 pm and we stayed about 3 1/2 hours to have a wonderful evening exploring a new beach.

conch shell marco florida

I am so glad we had the time to stop and take our time to walk down to the north end of the spit. It took us an hour and 1/2 each way so I’m so glad we had plenty of water and thank goodness we always have shelling supplies and sunscreen in the car at all times. This was our loot we brought home… and yes, Super Sheller Clark found that gorgeous ALPHABET CONE I put right smack in the middle of our fabulous collection. Thanks Tigertail!

Marco Island shells iLS

Join us on our next trip tomorrow, Saturday April 12, as we are taking a shelling cruise to explore the island of Cayo Costa! Clark and I will show you where to find the hidden treasures of that beautiful island… CLICK HERE.

shelling-adventures-pam

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