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

Small Seashell Treasures, Big Shelling Fun

Posted by on Sep 18, 2012 in Blind Pass, Mauve-Mouth Drill | 17 comments

mauve mouth drill shell pile

From Bowman’s Beach to Blind Pass, there are nice shell piles with small treasures just waiting to be found. I found the sweetest little MAUVE-MOUTH DRILL sitting in a small shell pile that looked like it had already been raked through and picked over… but there it was. Just waiting for me to appreciate how perfect it was.

mauve-mouth drill sanibel

So many of these smaller shells look so similar, right? If you can’t tell the difference yet between this and the GULF OYSTER DRILL, please look at my post from February  6 that I compared these shells. You’ll be amazed!

mauve mouth drill fingers

Here are some of my other finds in the surf line at Blind Pass Sanibel…

Blind pass jewels

I saw Amy doing the Sanibel Stoop out in the shallow water just before sunset…

sanibel stoop blind pass

She was having a ball picking up lots of the same jewels I found. Love that pink hat, Amy!

Amy shells sanibel

I haven’t found as many shells at the Lighthouse Beach lately (I think I love to watch the wind surfers too much!) but I did meet some very cool gals from Texas, Melanie and Robin who were finding quite a few FIGHTING CONCHS and SCALLOPS.

melanie robin lighthouse beach

These are just a few others shells that I picked up (and Clark) from Blind Pass and Bowman’s. I could have filled 10 bags of FIGHTING CONCHS and such but I try to only keep a few shells (and SEA BEANS!) that are special to us.

seashells bowmans

Oh but lets back up… I’ve been getting questions about the dredging at Blind Pass sooooo…. I made a few calls today to make sure I had the correct info so Mike Mullins of the CEPD said “The county announced at the CEPD meeting last week that they were done.  They couldn’t get the dredge to do the inside, so the inside is quite shallow and there are no plans to do anything further.

So there you have it folks. The dredging is done. Now don’t be alarmed by this next picture of Blind Pass. It has nothing to do with the dredge, it’s just normal beach erosion but it’s quite a ledge (I’m a poet and don’t know it! LOL). We probably wont even see this next week, but I’ll try to run down there to give it a peek. (Sorry I couldn’t help myself with another rhyme ;) )

beach erosion blind pass

pink storm clouds sanibel

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Similar Small Sanibel Seashells

Posted by on Feb 6, 2012 in Cantharus, Gulf Oyster Drill, Mauve-Mouth Drill, Pitted Murex, Ribbed Cantharus, Seashells | 17 comments

mauve mouth, gulf oyster drill, cantharus, pitted murex

Can you tell that these are four different shells? The difference between these seashells is very slight.

small shells Sanibel lighthouse

I found a few cutie little shells at the lighthouse that looked very similar but when I turned them over to look at the apertures to correctly identify them, I found little HERMIT CRABS in each one.

small seashell apertures hermit crabs

 After I took the pictures, I put the shells back in the water where I found them then got inspired to head home to sift through my collection of unsorted shells. I had so many of these smaller shells lumped together so it was time to make sure I had the right identity on each one. Okay, so let’s go back and look at the shells I found in my collection at home that were so similar (but not exactly the same kind I found on the beach)…

mauve mouth, gulf oyster drill, cantharus, pitted murex

From left to right… MAUVE-MOUTH DRILL, RIBBED CANTHARUS, GULF OYSTER DRILL and a PITTED MUREX.  Here are the apertures…

aperture mauve mouth drill cantharus murex

I showed the MAUVE-MOUTH DRILL (and it’s eggs) in my January 24 post …

mauve-mouth drills Calotrophon ostrearum

but now you can see how similar it is to the RIBBED CANTHARUS

Ribbed Cantharus shells


gulf oyster drills

 I’ve only showed a GULF OYSTER DRILL once before, which is strange because  they are somewhat common to find on Sanibel. So here’s a closeup…

Gulf Oyster Drill

gulf oyster drill aperture

 The PITTED MUREX is bit smaller (and not as common… for me any way) than the others but it’s still a bear to identify without “cheaters” on. And it is so similar too!

pitted murex

pitted murex aperture

So now we can sift through our collections and finally identify the differences between these four shells now that we can see them side by side. Uhhhh….. I hate to tell you this…. but…. unfortunately, there a few more that look similar to these as well. For instance, …like that photo of my palm with the HERMIT CRAB shells? That top shell more to the left of the photo…. that’s a juvie APPLE MUREX! Doesn’t it look like the rest of the shells? And the shell on the far right side of my palm has a broken base so it’s harder to identify (and I didn’t get a great photo of it) but I’m sure it was a RIBBED CANTHARUS too. And y’all thought Seashell Identification was easy, didn’t you? heehee

small seashell apertures hermit crabs


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Rare Sighting! Mauve-Mouth Drill Egg Case

Posted by on Jan 24, 2012 in Egg Casing, Mauve-Mouth Drill, Mauve-mouth drill egg case | 34 comments

mauve-mouth drill egg case

This is so wild. Attached to a SUNRAY VENUS CLAM, were fresh egg cases that these MAUVE-MOUTH DRILLS just produced!

Calotrophon ostrearum egg case mauve mouth drill

MurexKen found this fascinating nest just after MurexAlice had shown me those cute little MORTON’S EGG COCKLES on yesterdays post (hmmm- the “egg” theme continues, huh?). I was tickled that he called me over to show me this egg case that I’ve never seen before. The babies look like little pods of pollen sitting in a beautiful flower. Mk and MA are quite a pair for finding the unexpected!

live mauve-mouth drill egg case

I’m not quite sure, but I think the shell on the left was still laying some eggs. I hated to disturb them so after taking a few photos, we returned the mollusks and eggs to the water to make sure they produce healthy babies.

sunray venus with mauve-mouth drill egg case

You can see this one’s aperture with just a bit of the “mauve” showing around his body.

live mauve-mouth drill

Oh wait…. just in case you can’t remember what a MAUVE-MOUTH DRILL looks like when you find them empty on the beach, here are a few pictures to refresh your memory…

mauve mouth drill

Now you’ll see why they call it “mauve-mouth”. They have a mauve or purple in the aperture when they are alive or freshly dead.

Mauve mouth drill aperture

Out of all these shells in our collection at home, I could only find one that had a mauve mouth.

mauve-mouth drills Calotrophon ostrearum

I don’t find MAUVE-MOUTH DRILLS that often so to see live ones that are laying eggs was really pretty exceptional. I’m not sure if this would be considered scientifically  “rare” to see this out beach combing, but it was rare for me. Great finds MK and MA!

mauve-mouth drills


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Seashells Of Sanibel And Nova Scotia

Posted by on Jun 28, 2011 in Mauve-Mouth Drill, Nova Scotia Shells, Sanibel | 16 comments

Sanibel east end

The tides have taken some of the sand that normally covers these slabs* at the lighthouse beach on Sanibel. We were so surprised to see those pieces of concrete showing so much and that we haven’t been finding bigger shells lately. So we search for minis. I did find a MAUVE-MOUTH DRILL along with some other cuties that you probably already know. Can you pick out the MUAVE MOUTH DRILL?

Sanibel seashells on a rock

If you couldn’t figure the others out, go to SEASHELL IDENTIFICATION but the one in the middle of this next picture is the MAUVE-MOUTH DRILL (I don’t have that on the I.D. page yet) ….

Mauve Mouth Drill

Mauve Mouth Drill

There were other mini collectors on the beach in between rain storms last night….

Sanibel shell scene

Eileen from Gainsville, FL was looking for NUTMEGS. Can you tell she like NUTMEGS? Hint- the beautiful bracelet!

Nutmeg seashells and Bracelet

I almost reached down to snag this little “candy” out of Dana’s (came down from Gainsville with Eileen) pile until I realized it was her stash ;)….

Shells on Sanibel beach

A few days ago, I met a few Shelling Sisters from Nova Scotia that I could have spent the whole day with. Clark and I had a wonderful trip to Nova Scotia in 2005 so I was able to reminisce and visualize all of the places they mentioned and was so intrigued with their rich Mi’kmaq culture.

Denise Colleen Mi'kmaq Sanibel

Denise and Colleen from Nova Scotia

It was so much fun reminiscing thanks to Denise and Colleen, I remembered a photo I took of our shells we found near Yarmouth. Even in 2005, I was taking pictures of our treasures….

Nova Scotia shells

Nova Scotia shells 2005

….and of course, taking pictures of Clark with shells….

Nova Scotia shelling

2005 Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia Seashells

Nova Scotia Dogwinkles from 2005


* I’ve had a few people comment about those concrete slabs on the beach at the lighthouse since I posted these photos. There were a few other structures in the early 1900s that were washed away by storms. I asked my friend Susie at MacIntosh Books if she knew anything about them of if she had any books about it. She said to look at….

1) Sanybel Light, by Charles LeBuff, who lived at the lighthouse for 22 years and works at MacIntosh every Sunday

2) Sanibel’s Story, by Betty Anholt –includes several photos of lighthouse from 1943.

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