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

True Or False Angel Wings

Posted by on Jul 29, 2013 in Angel Wing, Atlantic Mud Piddock, False Angel Wing, Striate Piddock | 19 comments

Cyrtopleura costata Angel Wing mesoplax

It’s a special day for any beach comber to walk along the shore to uncover an ANGEL WING in the sand just waiting to be found. It’s feels like a sign of good things to come. In Southwest Florida, it’s very unlikely to find an ANGEL WING with both sides still together with that little connector piece called a MESOPLAX (an accessory plate connecting the two valves) still intact but I’ve been lucky enough to find this one.

Cyrtopleura costata Angel Wing interior

It’s been on my mind to show you more about these special shells since I showed you this photo of Brenda’s ANGEL WINGS she found 2 weeks ago at Bunche Beach, remember?

brenda's angel wings

She also found this cool little STRIATE PIDDOCK

brenda striate piddock sanibel shell

After seeing this unusual shell, I knew I wanted to find out more about the ANGEL WING family (Pholadidae -if your are the scientific type) and thought you might be interested too…yes, it’s the same family as the ANGEL WING! It has a MESOPLAX as well and she found them with it still in place…

Martesia striata Striate piddock mesoplax

Martesia striata Striate piddock mesoplax interior

Here are some of my ANGEL WING type shells together so you can see the difference between all of them. The ANGEL WING on the left is 4 inches. The STRIATE PIDDOCK is an inch and 1/4, the FALSE ANGEL WING is about the same size (1 and 1/4 inches). Then the MUD PIDDOCK is an inch and 3/4.

Similar Angel Wing shell difference

We have found these MUD PIDDOCKS on North Captiva and Cayo Costa but I dont think I’ve ever found a pair together so I only have the one side to show you. They look similar to an ANGEL WING but with a pointy top. BTW- Steve R reminded that these are commonly called FALLEN ANGEL WINGS. Don’t you wonder how “they” came up with “Fallen”? Is it because it looks like when this Angel Wing fell from the sky, it got smushed on the top corner? Hmmmmm. However it got it’s name, I like that much better than calling it a MUD PIDDOCK… so from now on, I’m referring to these with the much cuter name of “FALLEN ANGEL WING”.

Barnea truncata mud piddock fallen angel wing

Barnea truncata atlantic mud piddock fallen angel wing

Believe it or not, this next one is really called the  FALSE ANGEL WING because it’s more closely related to the SUNRAY VENUS than the “true” ANGEL WING. Huh? This looks way more like the ‘TRUE’ ANGEL WING then that STRIATE PIDDOCK does! Oh well, even though its “FALSE” it’s still an ANGEL WING to me. Im sure you’ve seen these in posts after we go to Cayo Costa on our iLoveShelling Adventures. We have lots of them there!

Petricolaria pholadiformis false angel wing

Notice the interior of FALSE wings are very different from the TRUE wings…

Petricolaria pholadiformis false angel wing interiorPetricolaria pholadiformis false angel wing interior

So now you can see the difference between the ANGEL WING, FALLEN ANGEL WING and the FALSE ANGEL WING and the STRIATE PIDDOCK. Maybe we should just call the last one (striate piddock) a “WOOD WING” since they bore into wood? I vote for that! Anyway, arent they all beautiful in their own way? Okay, I have to confess- I’ve seen ANGEL WING written as one word and also two words… I’m going with 2 words- like it’s an Angel’s wing! Oh yeah, I’ve also seen it written “ANGLE” WING too heehee. Anyway, here are all four of them again to send you good luck as well.

Similar Angel Wing shell difference interior

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Junonias In July… Not So Boring

Posted by on Jul 16, 2013 in Angel Wing, Junonia, Striate Piddock | 18 comments

carly junonia

Carly found her first JUNONIA! Carly is a friend who grew up on Sanibel, married a handsome boat Captain, just had her first baby (Oliver) and just found her first JUNONIA. It’s a fairy tale come true! LOL She found her treasure (the JUNONIA ;)) while fishing and shelling the out islands on her husband Jeremy’s boat. Congratshellations Carly!

carly oliver junonia

Sara from Kentucky said “It’s a start, right?” when she found a JUNONIA cob at Blind Pass. I told her I thought it was a great find and this was the perfect one to make a piece of jewelry with…

junonia shell eaten by crab

 It’s so funny because I haven’t been finding many of the bigger shells at all lately. Maybe my eyes have just been focusing on the minis because that’s all I’ve been seeing. I was just at Bunche Beach and didn’t see one ANGEL WING… and look at all of the ANGEL WINGS Brenda from Lehigh Acres found!

brenda's angel wings

 As I always say, the beaches change every day and also by the hour with the changing tides. That’s what keeps us hunting! Brenda not only found ANGEL WINGS, she found a different shell I haven’t seen (or noticed) before. She found several double STRIATE PIDDOCK shells…

brenda striate piddock sanibel shell

These are in the same family as ANGEL WINGS but much smaller and…   ummmmm… not as pretty. I was thrilled for her that she was excited to find something she had never found before. They are pretty fascinating (the shells AND Brenda!). The shell is almost paper thin at the “tail” (dorsal) but when the animal is alive, it is strong enough to bore through wood to do extensive damage to wood pilings or any submerged wood for that matter.

striate piddock wood borer

After I told her I had never seen one out of the wood either, I was tickled that she gave me one of the 5 that she found. She opened up her eyeglass case that kept them safe from getting crunched (great idea!), then handed me one of them. Thank you Brenda! Who “wood” get “bored” with stuff like this showing up on the beach? heehee

striate piddock wood boring

 There are still a few spaces left for YOU to join us at Shellabaloo 3! Join us for a 5 day shelling retreat! CLICK HERE!

Cropped Shelling Pic

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