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

Collecting Fossils, Seashells and Memories on Boca Grande

Posted by on Jun 19, 2012 in Boca Grande, Day Trips From Sanibel Island Florida & More, Fossil, Gasparilla Island, Nickerbean Vine, Sea Bean, Sea Pearl, Shark's Teeth, White Melampus | 21 comments

Susan lighthouse

I couldn’t be happier to have another Shelling Sister that just moved to Sanibel! I feel like I’ve found my long lost Soul Sister… Susan. Of course she wanted to get the whole shelling experience on the Out Islands of Sanibel…. so before I knew it, she hired Capt. Brian Holaway for a shelling trip and she invited me to go along. Weehoo! First trip with Capt Brian!

susan capt b boat

We left the dock at 8 am but unfortunately the tide was too high to find good shells at that time so Capt Brian took us about an hour north to the beautiful town of Boca Grande on Gasparilla Island to show Susan a few landmarks by golf cart.

golf cart susan capt b

We saw the Gasparilla Island Light…

Boca grande Gasparilla Island lighthouse

We went to the Boca Grande Historical Society

Boca grande historical society

Brian’s friend Kim showed us fossils and artifacts on display at the sweet little museum…

artifacts boca grande historical

We went to the Port Boca Grande Light…

Boca Grande Lighthouse Museum

Then we hit the beach!

Boca Grande beach access

Where we sifted for SHARK’S TEETH…

sifting susan

Susan found a few FOSSILS like SHARK’S TEETH, fragments of STINGRAY BARBS and BONES.

Susans fossils

Along one of the beach paths we found a NICKERBEAN VINE with the prickly sea pods that host SEA BEANS which wash up on the beaches at times.

Nickerbean vine seed pods

These local gray drift seeds are called SEA PEARLS. So… now we know where they come from!

sea bean pearls nickerbean pod

I found a few WHITE MELAMPUS shells that were only 1/2 inch to 3/4…

white melampus identify

 But Susan found the grandpappy WHITE MELAMPUS weighing in at about 1 and 1/2 inches.

white melampus ss

UPDATE 6-21-12 – Susan H commented on Soul Sister Susan’s WHITE MELAMPUS saying “it looks as if Susan found a World Record Size (WRS) one. I’m serious, the largest size listed on Malacolog is 27 mm, which is just about an inch“.

So I got serious and dug through drawers of Clark’s dad old tools he inherited and found some very cool old calipers. Susan brought her shell over and we measured….

calipers measure seashell

Her WHITE MELAMPUS measured in at 30 mm. A World Record Size shell!! Thank you Susan H for giving us a heads up on this exciting news!

White Melampus aperuture ss

 I found a bivalve shell (it has a small hole in the top but it’s still pretty) that I didn’t recognize so after looking through all of my books… it looks like it’s a JUVENILE SOUTHERN QUAHOG. It has thin raised ridges that seem too delicate to be called a QUAHOG but I’m sure that’s what it is.

juvenile quahog

 When we got back to the dock at McCarthy’s Marina, the MANATEES were waiting for us!

manatee mcCarthys marina captiva

 We couldn’t have asked for a prettier day so thank you sooo much Soul Sister Susan for letting me tag along and to Captain Brian for guiding our gorgeous day.

seashells and sharks teeth


PS- Just if you are wondering…. Yes! Super Sheller Clark helped Soul Sister Susan and her beautiful family find their island home in paradise.  (I know, shameless plug …but hey, do you blame me?)

whelk on cayo costa

sailboat sand bar

pam brian susan boat dock captiva

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Bunches of Minis at Bunche Beach

Posted by on Nov 26, 2011 in Fiddler Crab, Ladder Horn, Marginella, Melampus, Nassa | 25 comments

Bunch Beach Fort Myers Florida

In Fort Myers a mile or so before you get to the Sanibel causeway bridge, you’ll see a sign on your left for Bunche Beach. Clark and I were running a little early (very unusual) to meet some friends so we decided kill a few minutes and check out the beach. I think it’s only the second time we’ve ever stopped at Bunche Beach.

sand sculpture bunche beach

We knew it was low tide but had no idea it would be this cool.

moon walk on the horizon

It felt like we were on the moon.

low tide bunche beach fort myers florida

The crazy FIDDLER CRABS were out in the masses here too. If you missed my video of their madness, CLICK HERE.

fiddler crab fight bunche beach fort myers sanibel

fiddler crabs bunche beach florida

And lots of minis!

seashells at Bunche beach Florida

At first, I thought there were oodles of AUGERS but noticed the lip was a little fat… they are LADDER HORN SNAILS.

ladder horn snails

You can see it a little better in this next photo. Cute, huh?

ladder horn snail

And there were mounds of MELAMPUS.

Melampus seashells

Melampus seashell both

These little NASSA shells are so bright yellow and tiny, I wasn’t sure if they are the BRUISED NASSAor not. I think they may be juveniles.

Yellow Nassa

Nassa seashell

Last but not least, I found three MARGINELLAS.

Marginella seashells

 We had so much fun exploring Bunche Beach, I think we’ll make this a regular stop when we go off island.

Clark on the horizon beach

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Smiles For Seashells

Posted by on Apr 3, 2011 in Horse Conch Egg Casing, Melampus, Sanibel, Sea anemone | 14 comments

shell crazy ladies

This is shelling heaven. I’m sure you understand why Clare and Robin have such great smiles on their faces as they sift through scoops of shells Clare just brought back from the water.

collecting wentletraps

Those are WENTLETRAPS they are finding!

wrack of Sanibel seashells

I felt so lucky all weekend to be able to sift through such a wide wrack of shells and talk to so many happy successful shellers at the lighthouse beach on Sanibel.

Top ten seashells

This is a day’s shell collection that any sheller would smile about. It’s like the top ten shells of Sanibel, isn’t it? I saw Connie again (from March 30 post) with a FIGHTING CONCH, PAPER FIG, TRUE TULIP, HORSE CONCH, FLORIDA CONE, ALPHABET CONES, LIGHTNING WHELK, a little tiny KING’S CROWN, and a PEAR WHELK on her shelling screen (oh yeah, and a PONDEROUS ARK but not sure I would call that a top ten shell- haha).

seashell colander

Connie with her top ten.

girl with cone shell

Rachael (Denver) found a FLORIDA CONE and two minutes later, she and her Aunt Joan scooped up all of these shells from the surf…

scoop of seashells

All of these shells in just two scoops!

shellers rachael and joan

Rachael and her Aunt Joan (Rachael’s mom’s twin sister!) smiling big.

Coffee Melampus seashell

This weekend you could find big shells but Hudson (St Pete, FL) had keen eyes to find beautiful minis too. This is a gorgeous COFFEE MELAMPUS.

boy shells with melampus shell

Happy Hudson!

girl with starfish

Hudson’s little sister Ilene filled up her bucket with COCKLES and DOSINIAS. She even saved a STARFISH by putting it back in the water.

guy collecting seashells

This guy is a malacologist in the making if you ask me. When I started talking to Mitchel (MI), he told me he was a scientific shell collector. I watched him scoop up a few good scoops of shells out of the water to take back to the sand to sift through them. Every time he’d dump the shells out, he’d draw a crowd of people to see what he found….. most of them were girls. Smart guy.

guy with shell bag

Nice Conus spurius (ALPHABET CONE), Dr M.

pens shell and tulip egg casing

There were so many different things  like this HORSE CONCH EGG CASE with a PEN SHELL washing up on the beach that I could talk about it for days….. and I think will. I’ll have to show the rest of my photos tomorrow since I’ve run out of time. I have so many more good ones …. like this

SEA ANEMONE flower…..

Sea anemone flower

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Perplexed Olive

Posted by on Oct 18, 2010 in Lighthouse, Olivella Perplexa, Sanibel, White Melampus | 19 comments

olivella perplexa shell

olivella perplexa?

I’m a little perplexed. Is this an OLIVELLA PERPLEXA shell? First of all, I couldn’t find a common name for it or a good reference for it. Not that I don’t have respect for the “real” names of the shells we find, but I just happen to prefer the common …..ok- the “easy” name. And second, I couldn’t get a good picture of it. Yet another camera died on me…grrrrr. Well, I’ve just got to get used to this Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS6.

olivella perplexa seashell

olivella perplexa( ? )other side

This shell doesn’t have a lot of detail but I wanted you to see the whorls on the top.

Olivella perplexa

Olivella perplexa (?)

Maybe that’s a little better photo. Clark pulled this up in the sifter while looking for wentletraps. I dont think I’ve ever found these shells before but maybe I just never thought they looked like much… I don’t know…. See? I’m perplexed.

seashell collecting

Clark on the hunt

UPDATE: January 22, 2014… Ive just realized that since this post was written (October 18, 2010), I have learned this shell is a WHITE MELAMPUS. Take a look at my post about these shells written June 19, 2012…






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My Goodness Melampus

Posted by on Sep 19, 2010 in Lighthouse, Melampus, Sanibel | 12 comments

Eastern Melampus snail shell ......... (only 1/2 inch big)

As you know, I love the mini shells. The problem is I just think they are so stinkin cute I get carried away with how adorable they are and sometimes clump them all together as a group. Everybody loves baby things, right? I don’t clump the WENTLETRAPS and my candies (JUVENILE HORSE CONCHS) with them because …well… they are my faves. But I think I better start paying more attention to each different mini shell to give them their due respect. They deserve it! They are just as beautiful.

I misnamed this shell pictured above on my September 14 post Many Mini Sea Shells as being a Marginella. I’m not sure why I’ve always called it that but it’s not. It’s a MELAMPUS. Thank goodness we have MurexKen !!!! He commented on that post to very kindly let us know that it looked like a Melampus bidentatus. He says there four species of Melampus on Sanibel so, of course, all I searched for at the lighthouse beach was Melampus shells to find a few more.

Melampus sea shells

They all look so different! I don’t think I found all 4 species but maybe the bottom left is a COFFEE MELAMPUS. I will definitely pay more attention to these little cuties and hopefully I won’t mislead yall to call them by the wrong name….. but then, this is how we learn, right?

Dragonfly on the beach

Meet  more shellers on the beach ….

Samantha, Jean and Stephanie (Orlando, Ft Myers)

Ashley, Amber, Holly, Nick and Margaret (Salt Lake, UT and Ft Myers)

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