Archive for Murex

Sep
19

Shelling In The Rain

Posted by: | Comments (5)

Alicia's one hour September Sanibel shell collection

We found darling little treasures rolling in the surf near Lighthouse Beach this week. In just an hour or so, our friends Gail and Alicia (Sanibel locals) had a nice walk along the water’s edge to find all these sweet minis including Alicia’s first perfect juvie red TRUE TULIP. It’s a beauty! Well, and the two HORSIES, OLIVES and that awesome SHARKS EYE.

Gail and Alicia with Sanibel shells

My fave find was an itty bitty LACIE MUREX with a bright pink “nose”…

Sanibel shells and sand

I’m always tickled when I find “firsts” too like Alicia finding her first TRUE TULIP. This one may not be as lovely as her bright red treasure but this is the first time I’ve found a double CUT-RIBBED ARK with the PERIOSTRACUM (the skin) still on it. Yes, I’ve found hundreds of single CUT-RIBBED ARC valves but to find both sides like this on the beach is cool to me. It’s what we call a “FRESHIE”. This one hasn’t been empty long. ( I know, I’m touch a shell geek! haha)

Cut Ribbed Ark Anadara floridana with periostracum

Clark found about the same mix as Alicia and Gail (minus the TRUE TULIP) but I love it because he has acquired a taste (not literally) for bivalves… EGG COCKLES, DUCK CLAMS, BUTTERCUPS and DOSINIAS. Did you see the BABY’S EAR as well?

September evening Sanibel seashell collection

As we were shelling, it began to rain so we picked up the pace and headed for the beach access ramp… that’s when Clark found the BABY’S EAR. Right before he found it, he mentioned how unusual it was to not be finding BABY’S EARS lately. By the time he finished his sentience, he looked down and there it was… pretty as a picture. Ha!

Clark finding Sanibel shells

Because we spend so much time on the beach, we are constantly checking radar for storms and lightning. If we get caught in the rain, it’s because there are no signs of lightning strikes in the area or no sounds of thunder so its just a light misting of rain. As I always say… Mother Nature might punish you with a lightning bolt for shelling during a storm after her warning system has been sounded…. her cracks of thunder and her scary dark skies. She has given us time and time again HER rules and regs. We should respect them. Safety first!

Sanibel beach with shells

Comments (5)
Aug
21

Living Like The Sanibel Shellbillies

Posted by: | Comments (31)

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’m like Shelly 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?” Shelly 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
Comments (31)

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