The shell world is a fascinating adventure to learn about the lives of MOLLUSKS and the people who collect their shells on the beaches across the planet. Because I am one of those people obsessed with living my life in the world of shells, I love to hang out with people who love to share their knowledge about them too. The Sanibel Shell Festival is a great place to do that.
I’m thrilled Sunnye (TX) shared her colorful shell collection she found beachcombing in Eleuthera, Bahamas (top photo).
Her sister Lisa (TX) had some awesome displays too for which they both won awards.
Lisa EXHIBITED this gorgeous SMOOTH TELLIN…
But I looooved this cool display Lisa did showing the difference between the SHARKS EYE and the FALSE SHARKS EYE. It explains and shows the difference in detail (for more info check out my post Sanibel Shark Week… Featuring The Shark Eye Shell).
And then there’s Stef! I’m so happy for her- she won a blue ribbon for her double FLAT SCALLOP she found by Sanibel’s Island Inn.
Wait… did you miss what I said? Okay, lemme slow down… she found both sides of her FLAT ZIGZAG SCALLOP still hinged together. Exactly like she displayed it… on Sanibel… and with amazing color. Wow! Years ago, I was thrilled when Clark found just the other half of a FLAT (the right valve) since it’s rare to find them here (CLICK HERE to see what the other side looks like) … and she found both perfect valves still together. Shellzam! Congrats Stefanie!
There were lots of displays showing ALBINO shells this year but this one by Ken and Joyce Matthys was really very cool. Here they shows tons of ALBINO FLORIDA PRICKLY COCKLES they’ve found through the years…
In the next case they show FLORIDA PRICKLY COCKLES which are ALBINISTIC. They explain… “Some shells lack their normal color, but they are not pure white. Instead they may be pale yellow, cream-colored, or have other hints of color. These are referred to as being albinistic”. Hmmm Haven’t you seen some like this? I have and now we’ve learned a name for this color form… ALBINISTIC.
Anne Joffe’s seashell emergency room display was hilarious and voted best for People’s Choice award. Freak and damaged shells that repaired themselves to form in odd shapes were propped in mini doctor’s offices, emergency rooms and surgery rooms with bandages, crutches and doctors notes.
Check out this PALLID CARRIER SHELL with an attached GLASS SPONGE (from the Philippines) by exhibitor Robert Linn. Wildly beautiful.
Last week I posted about the artistic side of the show with SAILORS VALENTINES, shell frames and all sorts of shell art and craft but when you look at some of these shells like these ATLANTIC TRITONS exhibited by Holly Nordyke, you realize you are looking at the most perfect work of art ever made. Stunning.
Hope to see you next year at the 80th Annual Sanibel Shell Festival!
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.
This LINED STARFISH was raisin’ the roof!
The live LETTERED OLIVES were doin’ the locomotion…
The live AUGERS were gettin’ jiggy with it…
This live BABY’S EAR was jivin’ and slimin’…
The live FIGHTING CONCHS were putting’ up their dukes…
There were hundreds of HERMIT CRABS running around claiming the best shells for their residences.
We even saw quite a few SHARK’S EYE EGG COLLARS brimming with little tiny eggs…
We even saw lots of ONION SEA ANEMONES flowering in the tidal pools…
Hmmmm….I wonder why they call it an “ONION” SEA ANEMONE … heehee
The colors of the night were amazing! This clump of SEA SPONGE was the most brilliant color purple…
A little higher on the beach, I saw that Leah from Georgia found a honey hole of wonderful minis which included lots of WENTLETRAPS.
Leah and her husband Matt were vacationing on Sanibel to celebrate Matt’s 40th birthday.
Finding a few beautiful shells to take home was just icing on the cake. Happy Birthday Matt!
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.
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?
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!
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.
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.
Geez, SHARKS EYES have a smorgasbord of choices for their buffet. Looks as though they like BUTTERCUP LUCINES too.
A straight hole with only a slight beveled edge like this LADY-IN-WAITING VENUS CLAM …
…was most likely drilled by some sort of MUREX… like GULF OYSTER DRILLS. Aha! That’s why they are called “DRILLS”!
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.
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.
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…
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!
She also found a “K” on a CROSS BARRED VENUS…
Lisa was so thoughtful, she gave it to another Shellabaloo-er… Kendra. 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!
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.
I’ve always been drawn to shells that have holes for stringing them for crafts….
For gift tags…
And I always love to see someone string them for jewelry…
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!
It was SAND DOLLAR mania at Gulfside City Park this weekend! It’s a very special day to take a walk along the shore to see little tiny SAND DOLLARS washing up at your feet…
My friend Betsy and I decided to meet at Gulfside City Park for a few hours to walk the beach and do a little shelling. She’s lived on the island for a long time so of course she has perfected the Sanibel Stoop…
We’ve been good friends for YEARS and it’s the first time we’ve ever planned a walk on the beach together. What took us so long?
Maybe its because she is a very busy gal running the Sanibel Farmers Market …. which she has Good news! The Sanibel Farmers Market opens this next Sunday November 4! Yippee! So she had to get her shelling in now before the local food fun begins.
We had soooo much fun finding those little SAND DOLLARS and shells then it got even better. We saw our friend Lori with her granddaughter Julianna…
Julianna wanted to pick up every shell on the beach. She said “All of them are beautiful!” then she showed me the different colors and patterns of each one.
She learned how to tell if a SAND DOLLAR is alive or not by looking for the tiny hairs (or cilia) around it. On the left of the photo (click on it to enlarge), she is showing a live SAND DOLLAR with lots of the “fur” around the sides and in her other hand is the dead SAND DOLLAR that she can put in her bucket to take home to always remember this day. Thanks Julianna for showing us the difference.
Melissa, Jack and Robin were on a day trip from Palm Beach to do a little shelling because they said they loooove shelling at Gulfside City Park.
I couldn’t help but notice this awwweeesome SPONGE Melissa was carrying. Wow! I think is the coolest SPONGE I’ve ever seen on Sanibel so I tried to research it to find out what type of SPONGE it is… no luck. I felt like I saw hundreds of different SPONGES in my research but none looked like this one so if you happen to know a SPONGE expert out there, lemme know what this species is, ok? Anyhoo, I hope that dries well and you get to display it with the rest of your treasures, Melissa. Good find!
Jack was so excited about all of his treasures, he plopped right down in the sand and surf and started making sand angels. OMG I love it! Sometimes I feel like I want to do that too, Jack! Good for you for soaking in every drop of happiness being on that beach. I might just have to try it this week too. (Doesnt he look like a sweet little STARFISH? heehee)
The weather this weekend was perfect… high 70s to low 80s with low humidity and plenty of sunshine so it was another beautiful weekend in paradise.
FYI- After searching and walking for a couple of hours to find those tiny SAND DOLLARS in the water, we realized they were a few on the shore when the tide was at its lowest. I hope they are there tomorrow too!
Beach sponges and stuff
This is what I love to see on the beach! Lots of SEA SPONGES, PARCHMENT WORM CASES, SEA PORK, and PEN SHELLS. Why? Because it means there will be great shelling in the next few days!
Double Jingle Shell in pen shell
See that JINGLE SHELL on this PEN SHELL? This jingle has both sides and is attached to the Pen shell….. and this isn’t even the most exciting part of this whole picture. I’ve never noticed a 2 sided jingle until MurexKen showed me. Yes! You read that correctly! Clark and I met MurexKen and MurexAlice (celebrating their 33rd wedding anniversary) on the beach and he showed this jingle to me.
MurexKen showing the Jingle shell
For those of you who don’t “know” MK, he is a seashell identification wizard and educates us on the scientific gastropod and bivalve names with his comments on my posts. That may have been the first time I’ve written “gastropod” and “bivalve” in the same sentence…. huh? He’s rubbing off!
Paper-thin jingle shell side view of both sides (my fingers)
Clark had to break out the big shelling backhoe and found this TUBE WORM.
Tube worm in Clark's backhoe
I thought this was a PARCHMENT WORM but I think it’s a different MARINE WORM.
Sea Cucumber Sanibel
Clark also found this SEA CUCUMBER in his backhoe. This guy was still alive so we put him back after I snapped this photo. Lots of fun stuff off Middle Gulf Drive near Gulf Side City Park!
Allen and Julianna (San Francisco)
Julianna has been collecting shells all over the world so she and Allen were happy to finally be in Sanibel.
Renee, Carol, Kathleen and Julie (Connecticut)
A great shelling Girls’ Trip! These gals take a girls trip the same time their husbands get together and do a guys trip at another destination. How fun for all of them!
Pen shell pile
OK- I’ve got to get to bed so I can be up for the early morning low tide. I hope to have lots of goodies to show you…. or maybe just one… I’m not giving up on that JUNONIA!
Manatee or seal shaped rock
Do you see the seal or manatee shaped rock in the jetty? Mary Jo Shannon pointed it out to me at Blind Pass. Yes! THE Mary Jo that we get lots of fun comments and feedback from on this blog. I ran into her and shelling buddy Sue on the Pass side of the jetty (since there still isn’t much shelling on the right side…. my old fave).
Sue and Mary Jo (Michigan)
Sue grew up shelling with her family then taught Mary Jo the treasures she could find on the beach. After finding her first shell, she was hooked too. Then she couldn’t believe how nice all the other shellers were and that they all wanted to show off what they found. They laughed and called it the “Secret Society of Shellers”. Yes! It is!
Dead Man's Fingers?
They taught me something too. I told them I had found this dark brown sponge that looked like deer antlers but felt like styrofoam the other day but couldn’t find much info on it. They told me it is called DEAD MAN’S FINGERS.
Live limpets Blind Pass jetty
Even though I didn’t find many shells, I always love to look at the colors of the jetty rocks when there are STRIPED FALSE LIMPETS on them. So colorful! Do you think members of the Secret Society of Shellers are the only ones that would enjoy this?
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