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

Sanibel Shark Week… Featuring The Shark Eye Shell

Posted by on Aug 13, 2014 in Live Shark's eye, Shark's Eye, Shark's Eye Egg Collar, Shark's Eye Operculum | 19 comments

Neverita duplicata Shark eye shell identification

Whoa! Shark!

Naaaaa, it’s not the Jaws type shark so you don’t have to get out of the water for this one. Actually you want to get IN the water to see this type of creature… it’s a SHARK EYE (Neverita duplicata or as I always say “Shark’s Eye) seashell. Over the years of beach combing, we’ve been fortunate to have found these shells in so many different life stages to share with you so I thought this was the perfect week to sum up some of the cool things we’ve learned about the SHARKS EYE. Why not… it’s Shark Week!

Ajaelyn's shark's eye

When this MOLLUSK is still alive, its amazing to see the animal wrapped around it’s shell like we found in my post The No Place Like Home On Sanibel.

live shark's eye

Here’s a video of a live SHARKS EYE in action I filmed for a post in 2011

We only see the live SHARKS EYES at low tide scooting around in the sand but we seem to find a lot of empty SHARKS EYE shells washed up on Sanibel and Captiva especially after storms. We started to realize we don’t normally find the operculums. When Clark and I found another live one, we paid closer attention to the operculum to see exactly what it looked like so we could make sure not to miss one washed up on the beach. Why don’t we find them washed up on the beach more often? Dunno exactly but I’m assuming because they are so paper thin that they crumble easily when the animal dies and dries up. They also look like a small piece of broken PEN SHELL or a brown leaf so they are easy to overlook.  Anyway, here’s what the OPERCULUM looks like when it’s attached to the healthy animal still in his shell…

Almost a year after I made this video, low and behold, Clark found our first SHARKS EYE OPERCULUM washed up on the beach.

moon shells sharks eye operculum

We’ve also seen juvie live SHARKS EYES sliming around finding their way…

Live shark's eye coming out of his shell

We’ve seen lots of other live babies scooting around at low tide on Sanibel along with teeny tiny eggs in the SHARK EYE EGG COLLARS.

Live baby shark's eyes with egg casing collar

This is what the EGG COLLAR looks like that the female SHARKS EYE lays. If you see a ring like this while at the beach that feels and looks sort of like freshly made hand crafted paper, take a closer look then place it back in the water if that’s where you found it. There are hundreds of itty bitty baby SHARKS EYES in there. Cool, huh?

sharks eye egg collar

What do SHARKS EYES eat? They are carnivores who love to make a meal out of bivalves but at times they are cannibals …. so one SHARKS EYE will eat another SHARKS EYE.  (Hmmmm… that happens with the fish type Tiger Sharks too on occasion). You can tell another SHARKS EYE ate this SHARKS EYE in the next photo because it makes a beveled edge hole just like this. CLICK HERE to see that story.

sharks eye shell is cannibalistic

There are two types of these MOON shells that look similar and are hard to distinguish between the two of them. See how much higher the spire is on the shell on the left? The one on the right is a Neverita duplicata (SHARK EYEand the one on the left is a Neverita delessertiana ( FALSE SHARK EYE) I’ll do another post to show you the aperture side so you can see another difference but I usually just look for the “eye” that looks popped out.

difference Neverita duplicata delessertiana

Have you heard me talk about the “Paul Newman’s Eye”? Paul Newman was an Academy Award winning hunky actor known for his incredibly beautiful, brilliant blue eyes (I know, funny I thought I needed to explain who he was, right? But anybody under 30 might not know! LOL Oh wait y’all  would know “Newman’s Own”- thats the guy. haha) Anyway, not all SHARKS EYES have a blue center but when they have that handsome brilliant blue “eye”… it’s called a PAUL NEWMAN’S EYE.

Paul Newman blue eyed sharks eye shell

See how many different sizes and patterns they have. Gorgeous!

Neverita duplicate shark eye seashell mollusk

I had so many nice comments on my last post about the differences in SCALLOPS and that y’all really like my educational posts. Me too! I have oodles of photos and gobs of great information about shells AND beach bling that I’ve built up over the years, so I need to start combining them so we all can find the information a little easier. It’ll take a while, but it sure will be fun looking through so many older posts that have been buried by newer posts.

Sharks Eye shell

Dont worry, I’ll still post any shelling updates on the beaches but hopefully once a week I’ll pick a shell to research so we can see all the cool stuff we’ve learned over the years.

shark eye moon sand

But speaking of shelling updates…  I hope to see you tomorrow on our iLoveShelling cruise to Cayo Costa with Captiva Cruises at 9am- Come join us tomorrow! CLICK HERE for information and some new dates for iLoveShelling Shelling Adventures into February 2015 …

shelling adventures trips by pam


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Healthy Living On The Coast Of Sanibel Island

Posted by on May 30, 2014 in Augers, Baby's Ear, Fighting Conch, Hermit crabs, Lettered Olive, Lightning Whelk, Lined Sea Star, live baby ear, low tide, Onion Sea Anemone, Sand Dollar, Sea anemone, Shark's Eye Egg Collar, Sponge, Whelk | 24 comments

Lightning whelk in Sanibel surf

If the Sanibel SEA LIFE could have talked last evening at low tide, they probably would have been chatting it up about how lovely the evening was and how healthy they were feeling…. just like us.

live starfish at sanibel lighthouse beach

This LINED STARFISH was raisin’ the roof!

Curled live starfish sea star Sanibel Island

The live LETTERED OLIVES were doin’ the locomotion…

live lettered olive shell

The live AUGERS were gettin’ jiggy with it…

live auger shells at low tide Sanibel

This live BABY’S EAR was jivin’ and slimin’…

live babys ear shell

The live FIGHTING CONCHS were putting’ up their dukes…

live fighting conch in sand

There were hundreds of HERMIT CRABS running around claiming the best shells for their residences.

apple murex with hermit crab

We even saw quite a few SHARK’S EYE EGG COLLARS brimming with little tiny eggs…

sharks eye egg collar

We even saw lots of ONION SEA ANEMONES flowering in the tidal pools…

Paranthus rapiformis onion sea anemone

Hmmmm….I wonder why they call it an “ONION” SEA ANEMONE … heehee

Paranthus rapiformis onion sea anemonae CNIDARIA

The colors of the night were amazing! This clump of SEA SPONGE was the most brilliant color purple…

purple sea sponge Sanibel

A little higher on the beach, I saw that Leah from Georgia found a honey hole of wonderful minis which included lots of WENTLETRAPS.

collecting seashells on the seashore of Sanibel Island

Leah and her husband Matt were vacationing on Sanibel to celebrate Matt’s 40th birthday.

Matt Leah from Georgia vacation on Sanibel for shells

Finding a few beautiful shells to take home was just icing on the cake. Happy Birthday Matt!

seashells found on Sanibel Island by Leah

The weather was perfect, the beach was teeming with live creatures and each breath of fresh, salty air made exploring the tidal pools heaven on earth.

Whelk in the surf of Sanibel Island

sand dollar at low tide Sanibel Island

exploring low tide on Sanibel Island

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Pen Shells and Beach Bling

Posted by on Feb 27, 2013 in Angel Wing, Eel, Egg Casing, Octopus, Pen Shell, Purple Sea Urchin, Shark's Eye Egg Collar, Shortnose Batfish, Wentletrap | 34 comments

pen shells wash sanibel

It has been an unusual week on Sanibel. The winds are changing directions and speed by the second which makes for an interesting site to see of all the different things that wash up on our beaches. I showed you lots of different EGG CASINGS in my last post but I found another one today… a SHARK’S EYE EGG COLLAR…

sharks eye egg collar

…oodles of PEN SHELLS…

pen shell wrack line

but we also are seeing PURPLE SEA URCHINS…

urchins wash up sanibel

And weird fish like this SHORTNOSE BATFISH

shortnose batfish

EEEEK! And an EEL! Yall know I love me some BEACH BLING… but EELS? They kinda creep me out for some reason.

Sanibel eel

Blllaaaahhh, Okay, now that I’m completely creeped out… I have to change the subject because I have some happy, happy stuff happening here too that I dont want to ruin! Okay.. here is a happy picture to get back in the mood of what Sanibel is NORMALLY like… having fun doing the Sanibel Stoop!

sanibel stoop lighthouse

I met some awesome folks on the beach this week at the Sanibel Lighthouse Beach! This is Shelling Sister Donna R from NY…

donna r sanibel shelling

She was on her way to finding the Sanibel Six. Yes, that ALPHABET CONE is pretty beat up but It’s still a CONE and it’s whole and HUGE!

Sanibel six almost

I also met sweetie pie Katherine Haskins with her husband Tom.

tom katherine sanibel shelling

 Katherine love the minis so she was finding lots of different miniatures like WENTLETRAPS along with AUGERS, CERITHS and a little perfect WORMIE.

wentletrap mini shells

It was fun to see them on the beach together with their iLS shirts on! (teehee) Warms my heart.

tom katherine donna sanibel

I also met another awesome couple while walking on the beach today several miles west of Lighthouse Beach. Here are shellers Linda and Glen from Ohio…

linda glen ohio angel wing

Linda found an ANGEL WING! They also were happy to find their first KEYHOLE LIMPET along with these other goodies. Notice they even collect the broken SHARK’S EYES if the “eye” is still intact. Yep, they really are beautiful. I told them that when the SHARK’S EYE is brilliant blue in the middle that I’ve heard it called “Paul Newman’s eye”. This one is definitely a PAUL NEWMAN’S EYE!

linda angel wing shells

Oh wait… I feel so badly that I never introduced you to Shelly (love that name!) and Kayle whom I met last week at Blind Pass when the weather was a little cooler…

shelly kayle indiana seashelling

I found a PYGMY OCTOPUS inside a PEN SHELL and Kayle offered to take it out in the water to put it back. So sweet!

pigmy octopus penn shell

Here are Shelly and Kayle’s gorgeous treasures from the sea that they were collecting. Keep the image of this gorgeous PAPER FIG (in the middle of this green bucket) in your mind to leave you with a happy day. See? I told you I had happy happy stuff to show you. :)

kayle seashells


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Shelling For The Holidays

Posted by on Dec 4, 2011 in Blue Crab, Bones, Brittle Star, Captiva, Christmas, Dosinia, Horseshoe Crab, Long-Spined Urchin, Pen Shell, Purple Sea Urchin, Sanibel, Sea Whip, Shark's Eye Egg Collar, Shop, Stone Crab, Transverse Ark | 13 comments

i Love Shelling 2012 calendar cover

 The holiday season is in full swing on Sanibel and Captiva islands so I have been a busy little elf! First of all,  I’d like to introduce the brand new i Love Shelling 2012 Calendar chock full of beautiful Sanibel photos and of course our beloved seashells. Now you can enjoy shelling 12 months of the year!

Here’s a sneak peak of January’s sunset photo and  CLICK HERE to see all 12 months and get one for yourself or as a gift for your shelling buddy.

Jan page calendar 2012

 We also hit the beaches this week to find a few shells and lots of Beach Bling. We found big old WHELK and CONCH pieces I love for yard shells along with a few SEA WHIPS, LONG SPINED SEA URCHINS, PURPLE SEA URCHINS, PEN SHELLS, CRAB SHELLS and this little BRITTLE STAR too.

Beach bling shells sea whip urchin

There were lots of DOSINIAS mixed in with hundreds of SAILORS EARS and TRANSVERSE ARKS

ark shells, dosinia, sailors ears

I even saw a few bones scattered along the beach. These are from bait in the crab traps in the gulf that get tossed around in rough surf.

Sanibel beach bone from crab trap

STONE CRABS are what lots of those traps are made to catch. When fishermen bring in the traps, they only take one claw from a STONE CRAB since the claws have the best meat. They throw the crab back without killing it because they know the crab can eat and defend  itself with only one claw until another claw grows back. Here is a STONE CRAB  claw lying on the beach that could have been a good appetizer if it had been freshly caught. Darn!

stone crab claw on beach

There were HORSESHOE CRABS too …

horseshoe crab beached


Blue Crab Sanibel


shark eye moon shell egg collar

 I met a wonderful local man Frank, who moved here in 1964 and still loves to walk the beaches and pick up shells especially with his daughter Connie. He told me he was 87 but he looks like he is no older than 72! Thank you Frank for your service for our country in WW2.

Connie, Frank Sanibel locals

Here are some of the mini shells Frank and Connie collected when I saw them along Middle Gulf Drive.

Connie Frank mini shells

 I also have photos of the yesterday’s oh-so-fun Captiva Holiday Village golf cart parade. Here’s one picture of our Junonia Jalopy but I’ll have to show you the rest tomorrow. It was a blast!  All of the other cart were so darn cute!

junonia jalopy i love shelling

Check out my new tee shirt! I wore my new “Oh CONE All Ye Faithful” Christmas design v-neck tee. I got so many compliments- so much fun ! And don’t forget to check out the 2012 i Love Shelling Calendar too….. and the new online i Love Shelling Shop….. Or the fun faves at Shelling Shop. You see? I’ve been a little Santa’s helper for the good seashell loving girls and boys. Ho Ho Ho!

Merry Xmas beach art

 Captiva Holiday Village Logo

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Finding Peace With Shells On The Beach

Posted by on May 22, 2011 in Gulf Side City Beach (Algier's), Murex egg case, Sanibel, Shark's Eye Egg Collar, Tulip Egg Case | 13 comments

Peace on the beach Sanibel

I found shell Peace at Gulf Side City Beach yesterday evening. Literally!

Sanibel low tide

Sanibel low tide

It was the perfect word to describe my walk at a low tide with temperatures in the mid 80s. Peace.

Wentletrap seashell

Ellen's Wentletrap

Not that I was eaves dropping (well trying not to), but I overheard a couple trying to figure out what they had found on the beach. I just had to see! It was a pretty large WENTLETRAP! They knew it was special.

Couple on sanibel beach

Bill and Ellen after finding their wentletrap

There were lots of egg casings like I saw on May 18 on this stretch of beach too. This one is a MUREX EGG CASE.

murex egg case

Murex egg case

Woops! I goofed when I named the egg case on my MAY 18 post a TULIP egg case- it isn’t and I corrected it! It was a HORSE CONCH EGG CASING on my other post- thank you Sanibel Sisters! The one below is a TULIP EGG CASE.

Tulip Egg case

Tulip Egg case

This is a SHARK’S EYE MOON SHELL SAND COLLAR. The eggs are mixed with sand and a gelatin mixture to protect them by forming this collar. Weird, huh?

Moon snail egg collar

Moon snail egg collar

I was very impressed when I met Caroline and her mom Bonnie. We were showing our shell finds to each other and Caroline knew every name of each of the shells…. PAPER FIGS, OLIVES, CONCHS. Bonnie says that Caroline loves everything to do with nature so she soaks up every bit of information she can find. I can’t believe I didn’t get pictures of their shells but I sure got a cute picture of the two of them…

Mother daughter Sanibel beach

Caroline and Bonnie (Cincinnati)

shell peace

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Follow the Yellow Shell Trail

Posted by on Jun 11, 2010 in Baby's Ear, Egg Casing, live baby ear, Live Shark's eye, Sea anemone, Shark's Eye, Shark's Eye Egg Collar | 11 comments

Following the baby ear trail

Instead of following the yellow brick road, Julie is following the track of a live yellow BABY EAR at low tide. She sees the path on the sand bar and then follows the trail, digs in the sand and gently pulls up the yellowish mollusk. Are you ready to see what they look like? This is the first time I’ve ever seen a live one in person! Ready? Here you go…..

Live baby's ear shell

Really…this isn’t a photo of a handmade ravioli or smooched ball of wet dough. It’s a baby ear mollusk that practically surrounds it’s whole shell…..and it’s very slimy!

Leigh (West Palm Beach) holding a live baby's ear

I saw Leigh and her niece and nephew, Julie and Jack (Ft lauderdale), having the best time playing out on the sand bar in front of Holiday Inn on Sanibel. They were digging around, giggling and running back and forth. I had to see what all of the fuss was about. They also found live SHARK’S EYES and SEA ANEMONES.

Live shark's eye coming out of his shell

Live baby shark's eyes with egg casing collar

On the right hand side of the PEN SHELL is the egg casing collar for more baby shark eyes. It was Mother Nature’s huge touch tank out there last night. Now meet Leigh’s nephew, Jack. He loves the sea anemones.

Jack with sea anemone on Sanibel

Leigh and her family come to Sanibel a lot – every time the tide is really low. Of course, after they are done looking and learning about the mollusks and sea life they find, they gently put them back where they found them.

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