Archive for Murex

Aug
21

Living Like The Sanibel Shellbillies

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sea turtle hypoplastron bone

I found this odd looking “thing” on the beach a while ago so I brought it home to do some research on it since it was so dang interesting. Sometimes I feel like Elly May Clampett bringing home parts of “critters” that get washed up on the beach. Hmmmm…. “Hey Paw, which critter ya think this here thang belonged to? Ya think maybe a moose antler? Or some kinda critter lost a hand?” Elly May may have never thought it looked like an alien’s Jazz Hands but I do! LOL After searching lots of websites without success, I found the answer in my trusty Living Beaches of Georgia and the Carolinas book and learned it was a piece of a SEA TURTLE shell. It’s part of the lower shell called the HYPOPLASTRON.

sea turtle hypoplastron bone other side

Two weeks ago, my friend Susan from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba had found a bone similar to this one and asked me if I knew what it was. Yes! A SEA TURTLE BONE! I wanted to show her a photo of mine but I couldn’t find it. Omigosh, where is it? Oh lawd, my SHELLABORATORY still looks like a SHELLNADO hit it. Every time I start organizing our stacks of shells, something else comes along so it stays a crazy mess.  Seriously, we look like the Clampetts (CLAMpetts heehee) on the Sanibel Shellbillies. Ack! So back to organizing…

organizing sea shells and beach bling

Honestly, it’s like discovering fun things all over again going through these containers and boxes… and then…. I found my SEA TURTLE BONE! Yay! This time, I wanted to find a home for it so I wouldn’t “lose” it again. I’ve been saving glass containers for years to one day organize our shells and bling so I’m making good use of them now. Every SEA TURTLE BONE we find now will go into the large jar on the right. All other bones from bait, fish bones and bird bones will be separated in other jars so that it will be easy and fun to do another post to identify some of the things you might find on the beach other than shells. beach found turtle, bird, fish and bait bones

I can’t wait until my Shellaboratory is finally organized so at least we won’t be total Sanibel Shellbillies and I can easily find the things I want to share and post about.containers for seashells

… Like these MUREX shells I’m sorting out. I have 9 different species to separate so once I have a chance to photograph the individuals, I’ll have another “the difference between shells” post. I love those!

Muricidae Murex shells of Southwest Florida

On a personal note without shells involved, it was a sad day to find out our wonderful palm tree that became an amazing bird condo for WOODPECKERS and SCREECH OWLS with have to be taken down. There’s no way to save it due to disease and it’s become unsafe with any high winds since it’s completely hollow now. We are so bummed! Clark, Dustie, PuppyCat and I have witnessed many nests, babies and families come and go in the tree from our side porch view so we’ve grown to love seeing them every day. We hope to find someone who will build a replacement for our same WOODPECKERS and OWLS for us before next spring so please let me know if you have suggestions. The Sanibel Shellbillies don’t want to lose our critters!

rotted palm tree bird house

screech owl our tree

Categories : Bones, Murex, Owl, Screech Owl
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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

Mar
31

Two Scoops Of Shellicious Treasures

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Sanibel Stoop at lighthouse beach

Dont you remember that old saying… “If you don’t like the weather, just wait 10 minutes”? Well, it’s the same with shelling in Southwest Florida. We’ve had swirling high winds with rain the past few days so it has changed the shelling on every beach every 10 minutes. Just as the rain stopped at one point, I hurried to Sanibel Lighthouse Beach to see if the weather brought in good shelling conditions yet. I met more die-hard shellers! A little drizzly weather wasn’t going to keep Ann, Doug and Patricia from Minnesota from shelling…

Ann Doug Patricia from Minnesota visit Sanibel for seashells

Patricia found her first NUTMEG! And… notice that Patricia made her own necklace out of one of the shells (LADY-IN-WAITING VENUS) she found that already had a hole in it. So cute!

patricia found her first nutmeg

Then yesterday morning I met the cutest family from Indiana at Lighthouse Beach… Sean, Lori, Ellie, Wanda and Karl. Karl is a birder who volunteers at Ding Darling a few months in the winter and answered a few questions I had about some of the birds Ive seen lately. We realized how similar shellers are to birders then told him about Gill and Andy’s “The Big Year” 

sean, lori, ellie, wanda karl from indiana shell sanibel

If they were competing in The Big Year with shells, I think Sean would probably be the big winner in the family. As soon as he showed us all the great shells he was finding, he was back to his ankles in the water to find more. Love it!

Sanibel seashells in a shell net

Andrea from Ft Lauderdale said her day was complete since she found a perfect LACE MUREX with a pink nose.

Andrea from Fort Lauderdale found lace murex Sanibel

Beauty!

sanibel island lace murex

Clark took one scoop with his shelling backhoe at the waters edge and brought a pile of shells to me. I snapped a photo so you could shell with me. CYBERSHELL away!

backhoe scoop for cybershelling

While I picked out some nice shells, he brought another scoop to me. Wow! Stephanie, this CYERSHELLING is for you (I got the book- Thank you!)…

cyber shell shelling pile

Did you find these shells and more? Crazy, right? Two scoops of shellicious treasures!

sanibel cybershelling

There were lots of empty wonderful shells just at the surf’s edge on the gulf side at the lighthouse then walking west we found oodles of live creatures in the morning at low tide.

lighthouse shell photo

So…  let’s get back to the “just wait 10 minutes until the weather changes for good shelling” bit. Lots of people ask me how I know which beach to be at for the good shelling all the time. Here’s a secret…. normally, I visit LOTS of beaches to find the best shelling. Yes, I can regularly find good shells or something really interesting EVERY time I walk on a beach here but I do stop by different beaches (Blind Pass, Gulfside City Park, Lighthouse) to assess the conditions on a regular basis and I don’t post on each one. That’s what is fun to me…. seeing the beaches change so much. I want to find the most interesting treasures to learn something and share it with you. So before I found so many shells at the Lighthouse Beach after the rain storm, I visited Blind Pass Captiva where I met Karen, Randy and Stephanie from Orlando…

karen randy stephanie orlando collect shells captiva

Stephanie found a CARRIER SHELL and other goodies on the sand bar on the pass side.

carrier shell, conchs welk coral cerith

It was so much fun to talk to Renee and Charles from Chicago after seeing how excited they were about their finds.

renee charles chicago visiting captiva for shells

Charles found a WENTLETRAP there! After i took this photo, Renee told me she found a SCOTCH BONNET too. Huh? She told me it had a crack in to though so she didn’t put it in her “faves” pile. LOL I forgot to take a photo of it after she dug it out of her bag to show it to me and … yep! It was a beautiful SCOTCH BONNET with a small crack.

shells by renee and charles captiva

I’ve seen lots of cool BEACH BLING all week but this was my favorite… a CRUCIFIX SHELL. Hmmm… with Easter just around the corner.

crucifix shell on a Sanibel  beach

If you are trapped in that unseasonably cold, snowy weather up north, I’m hoping the two scoops from Super Sheller Clark will help warm you up. We are wishing you sunshine and seashells!

clark with shelling backhoe